Middlemarch

Middlemarch

A Study of Provincial Life

eBook - 1906
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Publisher: New York :, Thomas Nelson and Sons,, 1906
ISBN: 9781620110553
Branch Call Number: Online eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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t
traceyrb
Feb 18, 2018

I quote Anthony Trollope:
I doubt whether any young person can read with pleasure Felix Holt, Daniel Deronda, Middlemarch. I know they are very difficult to many that are not young. George Eliot struggles too hard to do work that is excellent. She lacks ease. Latterly...her style has become occasionally obscure from her too great desire to be pungent. It is impossible not to feel the struggle...

I agree that I did not find this work as enjoyable as Eliot's earlier works, The Mill on the Floss, Adam Bede, and Silas Marner. However, Middlemarch is still a great work and worthy of reading entirely at least once and in parts, several times.

George Eliot was an authoress at a time when it was difficult to be accepted as producing anything serious. It was a time of difficulty for a woman to be anything other than a wife. To have a great mind and intellect, as she obviously had, was not rewarded and commended as it would have been in our times. She was in the main a self taught and self made woman. If her later works jar somewhat in Eliot's efforts to be taken seriously, this is forgivable if only for the excellence otherwise of her works.

Middlemarch is a story of provincial life. The detailing of small events in the life of these people is amazing, as is the scope of this work. The two protagonists, Dorothea Brooke and Tertius Lydgate, are finely drawn and make two of the finest characterizations in literature. Dorothea Brooke I especially loved. It is in female characterization that Eliot excels and as a woman, I feel grateful to her that she portrayed the strengths, weaknesses and challenges of the females in her stories so well. Along with these 2 are a host of other characters who are equally well drawn until they become as well known as people from my own time; maybe even better because Eliot was so adept at revealing the inner as well as visible life.

If the story had not had Eliot's lapses into her own inner struggles with proving the worth of an intellectual female in her own society, this would have been a solid 5 star. But even with these laboured parts, it is still a magnificent work.

If you have not read Eliot before, I suggest you start with one of her earlier novels, such as The Mill of the Floss, but at some point in your life, Middlemarch is something you should read.

t
trcookIIImddmd
Aug 18, 2017

This is beautiful masterful literature which cannot be found since Robert Penn Warren. The BBC dvd production is excellently done for those who don't have time or inclination for a long read.

j
Janice21383
Jan 13, 2017

George Eliot's best book, with all of her strengths -- Virginia Woolf's assessment of Middlemarch as a book for adults is well earned. As a story about progress and freedom, love and honour, its themes are up to the minute. But it also has some of her weaknesses. Eliot tends to tell, rather than show, though in fairness small town gossip is an important part of the story. It's somewhat slow to start, and her heroine seems like a pill (she gets better). Also, for a supposed realist, Eliot resorts to melodrama towards the end of her novels, in this case a mysterious orphan, a powerful man with a dark past, and a timely coincidence. Overall, these devices are handled with skill, and pay off magnificently. Unlike most Victorian novels, Middlemarch will keep you guessing until the end.

acecarruthers Apr 27, 2015

I'm looking forward to re-reading this book many times over the course of my life. It is one of the few things about getting older that I am excited about.

g
GerryD
Jun 19, 2013

This novel is #11 on my researched Top Classic Novels. I won't attempt to add to the excellent summaries already provided. The novel was written from 1871 to 1872, a decade after another of her popular novels "The Mill on the Floss". As mentioned in my Comment on Bronte's "Wuthering Heights", it was difficult for women to publish using their own names during this period. Even at the end of the 1800's, Mary Ann Evans was publishing her works under what would be assumed to be a man's name. See my GerryD Lists for more great novels.

l
lisahiggs
May 17, 2010

A lot happened while I walked leisurely and longly through the pastures of Middlemarch. I wrote this inside the front cover of my copy:

"This book was in my suitcase while I experienced zero gravity above Las Vegas.

It traveled in my backpack to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

I turned 30 somewhere halfway through it.

Then Rolf and I got two cats together.

I was almost finished reading it when Ryan died."

Middlemarch was such an appropriate book to read while that much life was happening. Virginia Woolf described it as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people” and this is absolutely a novel for and about adulthood. Eliot’s choice words drill so far down into the core of being a human adult that her passages are timeless.

m
meaganpeters4
Apr 09, 2010

A very well written and entertaining read!

m
macierules
Dec 05, 2009

I feel a bit silly writing a review about Middlemarch - let's just say I am very happy that I took the time finally to read it.

Loved the tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, I could practically hear George Eliot chuckling away as she was writing it. Reminded me of a 19th century Jerry Seinfeld, poking fun at all sorts of universal truths.

Her characters and the understanding of human relationships were completely real.

v
vickiz
Jul 25, 2009

"Middlemarch" is deservedly considered a classic, and an exemplar of the art of the novel. Eliot takes on an immense amount thematically, does much of it justice and somehow manages to balance broad issues with in-depth, affecting and authentic portrayals of a captivating array of characters. While the central and some peripheral characters serve to further Eliot's interest in social, political, gender, scientific and religious issues, all figures throughout the novel are etched as believable human beings, not just as one-dimensional symbols serving some more general purpose. There are no black-and-white heroes/heroines or villains, but all are presented as well-rounded individuals with strengths, weaknesses and foibles.

The chapter describing how incendiary gossip about two prominent figures spreads through the community and evolves into fact is a tour de force of plot momentum - acerbic, brilliant and exhilarating to read. In other words, Eliot's mastery of theme and character do not at all mean that she gives plot short shrift.

While the ending sews up the fates of the main characters, there are surprises and debatable resolutions right to the very end. This book satisfies on so many levels, and sends the reader off with much about which to ponder.

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h
Hadley
Dec 29, 2014

People are almost always better than their neighbors think they are.

d
DENNIS HENLEY
May 09, 2014

Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.

l
lisahiggs
May 17, 2010

For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

l
lisahiggs
May 17, 2010

For in the multitude of middle-aged men who go about their vocations in a daily course determined for them much in the same way as the tie of their cravats, there is always a good number who once meant to shape their own deeds and alter the world a little. The story of their coming to be shapen after the average and fit to be packed by the gross is hardly ever told even in their consciousness; for perhaps their ardour in generous unpaid toil cooled as imperceptibly as the ardour of other youthful loves, till one day their earlier self walked like a ghost in its old home and made the new furniture ghastly.

l
lisahiggs
May 17, 2010

She herself was accustomed to think that entire freedom from the necessity of behaving agreeably was included in the Almighty’s intentions about families.

l
lisahiggs
May 17, 2010

It is a little too trying to human flesh to be conscious of expressing one’s self better than others and never to have it noticed.

v
vickiz
Jul 26, 2009

The effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

v
vickiz
Jul 25, 2009

People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might show on behalf of their nearest neighbours.

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FavouriteFiction Sep 30, 2009

Dorothea Brooke marries a much older man and must come to terms with her life.

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