17 chapters into George Eliot's Adam Bede, and what do I find but a playful, philosophical, spiritual discourse from the author directly to her female readers- a confrontation over what her readers expect her to write about, and what she instead has chosen - to write about authentic, complex, flawed people: the "real breathing men and women, who can be chilled by your indifference or injured by your prejudice." (p. 176).
This is one of the most surprising, delightful and impacting chapters I've ever read in a book, and the fact that it's nudged a third of the way into a 6 volume novel written by an iconoclastic, pseudonymed woman in 1859 makes it all the more poignant and potent. My favorite line, (though I'd love to write a whole thesis paper on this 9 page chapter), says this:
"Yes! thank God; human feeling is like the mighty rivers that bless the earth; it does not wait for beauty--it flows with resistless force and brings beauty with it."