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Middlemarch by George Eliot
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Middlemarch (1872)

by George Eliot

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,084260283 (4.19)14 / 1674
Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is exactly what it claims. Its multiple plots center around the inhabitants of a fictitious Midlands town and their evolving relationships to each other. It is critical of social class, ambition and marriage, and religion. It is commonly considered one of the masterpieces of English writing, and Virginia Woolf described it as "the magnificent book that, with all its imperfections, is one of the few English novels written for grown-up people".… (more)
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    Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (christiguc, HollyMS)
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    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (shallihavemydwarf)
  3. 60
    The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (Booksloth)
  4. 30
    My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: One reader's relationship with this novel; also some biography of Eliot and a literary criticism.
  5. 31
    North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (PensiveCat)
  6. 20
    South Riding: An English Landscape by Winifred Holtby (Booksloth)
  7. 20
    The Victorian House : domestic life from childbirth to deathbed by Judith Flanders (susanbooks)
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    The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson (thesmellofbooks)
    thesmellofbooks: The Getting of Wisdom is the rare sort of book that provokes deep self-reflection and a nudge in the direction of peace-making with self and life, and in this way brings to mind [[George Eliot]]'s [Middlemarch]. I am gobsmacked. The novel begins as an entertaining tale of a headstrong young Australian girl going to meet the world at boarding school. It gradually evolves into a subtle, simple, and stunningly real observation of the pressures of conformity and the intolerance of naïveté, which, when paired with a strong desire to be accepted, can lead to many and often rending responses in an imaginative young person. Yet it is not a tragedy. I am left moved, affectionate, a little worried about the future, and yet joyful at the intactness of the protagonist's resilient soul. Bravo, Ms Richardson.… (more)
  9. 10
    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (amanda4242)
  10. 00
    Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These 19th-century classics portray complex romantic relationships with vivid descriptions and a strong sense of place. With intricate, twisting plots, both offer their protagonists bleak outlooks that end in satisfying resolutions.
  11. 00
    Deerbrook by Harriet Martineau (souloftherose)
  12. 01
    George Eliot. by Elsemarie Maletzke (JuliaMaria)
  13. 14
    Ulysses by James Joyce (kara.shamy)
    kara.shamy: Similar -- almost unique really -- in their tremendous breadth and depth...
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English (251)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Latvian (1)  All languages (260)
Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)
I shelved this as a romance on a whim, but if I'm being perfectly honest, this is just a work of brilliant realism. :)

George Eliot, nee Mary Anne Evans, was a fascinating woman who lived a life by her own ideals, living out of wedlock with a married man in Victoria's England, working for the Westminster Review and writing novels under a man's name. And for all that, she brings it out pretty swimmingly in what appears, at first glance, to be a heavily moral tale surrounding a very moral Dorothy who turns out to be an idealist of the first degree. Not idiotic in it, but always looking out for ways to make it work in a world that is quite as flawed as we all know it.

You can guess how it might go. Decide everything on high ideals, let others walk all over you and grin and bear it because of your high ideals, get roped into truly atrocious circumstances where your lifestyle and your happiness is curtailed because you refuse to bend your high ideals... yeah. Well. That's a tragedy and pretty uplifting at the same time, assuming you, as a reader, can bear to sit through it. :) (Did it affect me? Yeah. It did.)

But this isn't the whole story. It's just Dorothy's story and she remains a good person throughout it all.

The rest of the tale is a whole village of characters, some of whom take front row seat during the tale, hopping from marriages to politics to deathbed wills to rumormongering, firesales on reputation, finance, and absurdity.

This novel is pretty fantastic. It's just like our modern epic realist modern novels, dealing with almost every single important issue of the day while always remaining very grounded and it never becomes a spectacle.

The thing is... it doesn't feel like Austen or the Bronte sisters or Dickens. It never comes close to Collins, either. It just feels comfortable with a very deft hand at personal philosophy and making the very best out of your life despite everything. Do not assume this has anything (much) to do with religiosity, for all that. She has plenty to say against the church, social conventions, and the idiocy of everyone, but it's not a satire.

It's earnest, thoughtful, and really gorgeous. :)

Am I a fan? Maybe a few minutes ago I wouldn't have said so, but as I wrote this review, being thoughtful about what I read, I suppose I am. :)

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
This was quite the ride! I unfortunately didn't enjoy Middlemarch as much as I was hoping for, but it wasn't bad. My main issue was that I liked basically none of the characters... I think my favorite was Caleb Garth and he wasn't all that important.

Lydgate and Rosamond drove me insane because they're both incredibly conceited and self-obsessed and show no signs of even attempting to improve, because they cannot see their faults. Fred started out similar to them, but was at least aware that he was kind of an idiot and tried his best to improve. Dorothea annoyed me with her "too good for this world" shtick. Will was alright, but he was still the guy going after the married woman - and his behavior in relation to Rosamond was questionable as well.

I'm still glad I read this and for everyone struggling, I highly recommend the audiobook read by Juliet Stevenson. Once I switched, everything went much quicker and smoother for me! ( )
  j_tuffi | May 30, 2020 |
What a perfect book to read at this time in my life, when all the castles in the sky of my youth are settling into quaint little cottages on the ground with creaky floors and plumbing problems. It's about starting adulthood and coming to terms with The Way Things Are: some characters adapt and find happinesses they didn't anticipate, and others remain tied to the misguided ideals of their childhood, only to be greeted with endless disappointment as they age.

Except Dorothea. She ends up getting exactly what she wants. Ms. Eliot loves her some independent woman. ( )
  jostie13 | May 14, 2020 |
The one outstanding and original thing about "Middlemarch" is that it was written by a female author in 1871 in an era when women just did not produce novels. Mary Ann Evans (aka George Eliot) was a lot like the heroine of her story; bold, independent, and determined to live by her own standards. And to this day Eliot’s novels are still read and appreciated amongst a select audience. The operative word in that sentence being “select”. Even though the contemporary reader may easily relate to some of the issues of the Victorian era, and enjoy historical novels, the style, dry vocabulary, and formal narration used by Eliot take a lot of charm and appeal out of the presentation. In fact, George Eliot’s writing style lives up to her heroine’s philosophy, “to have in general but little feeling, seems to be the only security against feeling too much on any particular occasion.”

In addition, the plot is easily predictable. Although Eliot focuses on realistic situations, the plot is a bit idealistic. Of course, the most judgmental, self-righteous person in town turns out to be the biggest hypocrite. And all the “good people” live happily ever after.

Middlemarch is the name of a small rural village outside London. The citizens are generally conservative, opinionated, conforming, and prejudiced against anyone who is different- different religion, different social strata, or even just from a different area of the country. Outsiders are not welcome in Middlemarch- an appropriate name for this town and this story where everyone is expected to be neither too conservative nor too liberal – marching down the middle- no matter what issue is being discussed. George Eliot expresses it perfectly when she says, “some people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.”

'Middlemarch" draws attention to the issues of the time; women’s roles in marriage and society, medical reform, and politics. But above all it is a love story following the lives of several young Middlemarch couples, with Dorothea Brooke in the primary role. Dorothea defies everyone in her search for true love. She marches to the beat of her own drum. ( )
  LadyLo | May 14, 2020 |
Wonderful Classic British Literature Read - it took me forever to finish as it was a bedside read and only read a few pages a night so with over 1000 pages it took way too long! That said - it was an extremely detailed account of several characters who resided in Middlemarch and their journey through coming of maturity for somes, coming of power, for others, coming of love, and coming to exposure of prior acts. I looked forward to these characters and got to know them, I feel intimately with their strengths, weaknesses, good decisions, bad decisions and rooting for them all to attain their desires. The main character Miss Brooke was a young woman who just wanted to do the right thing, develop meaningful solutions to things she sees as problems in her community and find someone to share her intellect. She marries an older Mr Casaubon who according to her sister is ugly and old and not a good match - but Dorothea wants to help Mr Casaubon with his research papers and anticipated being his partner in conversation and intellect. He however is just in awe that this young woman wants him and needs someone to help him read due to his failing vision, with no acknowledgement of her intellect being otherwise useful to him (other than secretarial perhaps). They travel to Rome for their honeymoon which is really a work/research event for Casaubon leaving Dorothea to fend for herself. She meets up with Will Ladislaw the young nephew fo Casaubon and develops a friendship which eventually will lead to heartache and heartbreak for her, Will and Mr Casaubon. Other main characters include Fred Vincy, Mary Garth, Dr Lyngate and Rosamond Vincy. After journeying with each of them to find their way through difficult times the book does not disappoint in summarizing at the end of where they are at writing of the book which is always a treat. Long but I truly enjoyed it as it was full with all the good makings. ( )
  booklovers2 | May 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (68 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eliot, Georgeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ashton, RosemaryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Creswick, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Egan, JenniferIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Faber, MichelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haight, Gordon S.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harvey, W. J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathias, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mead, RebeccaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walz, MelanieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolf, GabrielNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Who that cares much to know the history of man, and how the mysterious mixture behaves under the varying experiments of Time, has not dwelt, at least briefly, on the life of Saint Theresa, has not smiled with some gentleness at the thought of the little girl waling forth one morning hand-in-hand with her still smaller brother, to go and seek martyrdom in the country of the Moors? (Prelude)
Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.
Quotations
Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.
Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.
What we call our despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope.
Riding was an indulgence which she allowed herself in spite of conscientious qualms; she felt that she enjoyed it in a pagan sensuous way, and always looked forward to renouncing it.
Some discouragement, some faintness of the heart at the new real future which replaces the imaginary, is not unusual, and we do not expect people to be deeply moved by what is not unusual. That element of tragedy which lies in the very fact of frequency, has not yet wrought itself into the coarse emotions of mankind.
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Book description
By the time the novel appeared to tremendous popular and critical acclaim in 1871-2, George Eliot was recognized as England's finest living novelist. It was her ambition to create a world and portray a whole community--tradespeople, middle classes, country gentry--in the rising provincial town of Middlemarch, circa 1830. Vast and crowded, rich in narrative irony and suspense, «Middlemarch» is richer still in character, in its sense of how individual destinies are shaped by and shape the community, and in the great art that enlarges the reader's sympathy and imagination. It is truly, as Virginia Woolf famously remarked, 'one of the few English novels written for grown-up people'.
Haiku summary
dorothea cares

in a world not quite ready

to accept her views
Interwoven fates,
A tapestry of stories,
Each thread a life.
(hillaryrose7)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439548, 0141199792, 0143123815

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102162, 1400108632

Urban Romantics

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