"George Eliot's Earthly God," 3 Quarks Daily, December 23, 2013.
Narrative omniscience in storytelling has often been described as God's point of view, but we can hardly take for granted God's existence anymore, let alone what we know of God's scope of vision. If we cannot imagine God's all-seeing, all-knowing perspective, then what becomes of the nature of omniscience in storytelling? . . .
The narrator in Middlemarch speaks with a certain omniscience, but it is not distant and removed. It is not Godlike, in the usual sense. . . . She speaks as if she is there, moving from within one character's consciousness to another. And though we see the characters with a certain kind of fullness—access to their most inner thoughts and blindnesses—there is a lot we don't know about them, too. Perhaps there are different kinds of omniscience. And perhaps God, or at least our culturally and historically shaped notion of who God is and where God is, has something to do with it.
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