Sarah Magdalene's Reviews > The Egoist

The Egoist by George Meredith
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Sep 22, 11

it was amazing
Read in September, 2011

It’s quite sad that people always look eastward for enlightenment, when it can just as easily be found in our own native literature, if not for the sorry fact that ‘education’ makes people frightened of reading. Frightened of thinking in fact.

In any case, thinking about how lovely all the female characters are in The Egoist brought a little tear to my eye last night. It is a very lovely book. You end up loving them all, even the unbearable Egoist, who really just needs a sound thrashing from a capable woman. The core problem is, women sublimate their passion for their own animus into the adoration (worship) of real men. Which has an extremely toxic effect on the men in question, especially when this has been how they are raised. People in general worship others as reflections of themselves only. It is not a real human connection at all, and men do it just as much as women, the difference is that they have the power materially in the real world, and the ultimate expression of this mirror worship to them is to own its object. What the object thinks or feels about the matter is actually irrelevant in either case.

In 1879, when this novel was published, to win a womans hand meant to make her your possession. If women could not find someone to own them, they were quite often unable to survive. To have your survival depend on relinquishing your freedom is a truly horrible fate. I would have flung myself off the nearest bridge. So what does a young and unworldly woman do when she finds herself inexorably affianced to a man she has come to despise, a man whose entire ego gratification depends on making her his chattel? Especially when his wealth allows him to control and manipulate her father with his vintage wine cellar.

She relies on the comradeship of other women for aid and rescue. And even other men (though significantly NOT rich ones). And because the Egoist is fatally self defeating , he helps her most of all, even though he doesn’t realize it. But will she escape in time? It’s nail biting stuff! An anti-romance. Beats me why it’s never been dramatized. It’s one of those books that has changed the world and the whole course of literature, and yet hardly anyone reads it. What a shame!

The secret truth of the matter is that the whole of Capitalism is the Egoist writ large. With exactly the same self defeating tendencies. One thing he says about such character defects; they are most easily read in the muscles around the mouth. Surely it would be far more efficacious to use physiognomy to choose leaders than democracy. Looking at the asshole mouth of David Cameron, one is instantly enlightened as to the putrid nature of his soul.
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message 1: by Andrew (new) - added it

Andrew Schirmer Great review. From Meredith to David Cameron's awful mouth. I like your style.

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