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He is no poet. He is a clairvoyant. Magritte - La Clairvoyance And if that weren't enough, Latimer soon discovers that his unusual sensibility extends to reading minds as well.

The Lifted Veil by George ELIOT read by Bruce Pirie - Full Audio Book

Paradoxically enough, lifting the veil on other people's thoughts doesn't lead to empathy. Far from making him closer to his family and friends, the constant view into their minds makes Latimer loathe all human interaction:. He promptly falls in love with her, which only compounds the resentment he feels towards his brother. Although he has a vision in which he is married to Bertha and they hate each other, this knowledge of the future doesn't change his feelings.

He still wants Bertha, even knowing that their relationship is doomed, for passions and inclinations win over reason each time. The usual refrain of repentance, "had I known Knowing - lifting the veil between ourselves and the future - does not change a thing: Yet you must have known something of the presentiments that spring from an insight at war with passion…You have known the powerlessness of ideas before the might of impulse; and my visions, when once they had passed into memory, were mere ideas—pale shadows that beckoned in vain, while my hand was grasped by the living and the loved.

His brother's death in a hunting accident leaves Latimer free to marry Bertha. And as expected, once the mystery is gone, once he is thoroughly acquainted with the "narrow room of this woman's soul," he is repulsed by her.

The vision comes true, they now hate each other and Bertha wishes for his death. She also gets a chance to plot for this outcome, for Latimer conveniently loses his ability to read minds. Through a plot device straight out of Gothic fiction, Berta's plan is exposed when a scientist's experiments on a dying maid have an unexpected result. The maid comes briefly back to life and accuses her mistress.

Is this what it is to live again … to wake up with our unstilled thirst upon us, with our unuttered curses rising to our lips, with our muscles ready to act out their half-committed sins? As for me, this scene seemed of one texture with the rest of my existence: horror was my familiar, and this new revelation was only like an old pain recurring with new circumstances.

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The Lifted Veil

Separated from his wife, Latimer regains his mind-reading ability. It once again hinders his ability to interact with people, so he lives his last days alone, "with the one Unknown Presence revealed and yet hidden by the moving curtain of the earth and sky". The story ends with the event announced in the beginning: Latimer's death. My thoughts. What's interesting here is that this is clearly the perspective of an unreliable narrator.

Moreover, the narrator is also pretty unlikeable. Latimer whines, asks for a sympathy that he doesn't extend to others and is very invested in maligning people he doesn't like, particularly his wife. Halfway through the story, you start questioning both his sanity and his morals.

The Lifted Veil

I, for one, wondered about Bertha's side of the story, because this can easily be read as the ramblings of a madman who's gaslighting his wife. Why, then, should we take his opinion into account? One reason for it is that the story is constructed in such a way as to validate him. We, as readers, are placed in a position very similar to Latimer's.

We have partial knowledge of the future: we know how the story ends, because he tells us from the first paragraphs.


  • The Lifted Veil.
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We know his innermost thoughts, both good and bad. And if we form expectations about the plot even knowing its conclusion, if seeing inside of his mind makes us judge him and dislike him, then what he said would happen has pretty much happened. To me this was the best aspect of this unusual-for-Eliot narrative form.

The Lifted Veil - George Eliot - Google книги

What I didn't enjoy about this story was its brief lapse into Gothic fiction. Horror is not my familiar. I don't enjoy Gothic horror. I always find it contrived and annoying, with no exceptions.

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I got its purpose here, but thought its inclusion - and with so many narrative acrobatics to make it work - cheapened the story. Following Alfred's death in an accident, Latimer and Bertha are married and eventually come to live together in the state of mutual alienation anticipated in Latimer's vision. A visit from Latimer's childhood friend Meunier, now a renowned scientist, is the occasion for a gothic reanimation scene in which a recently deceased maid is momentarily Access options available:.

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