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Middlemarch by George Eliot

Middlemarch (original 1872; edition 2011)

by George Eliot (Author), Juliet Stevenson (Narrator), Naxos AudioBooks (Publisher)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,752253285 (4.2)14 / 1657
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)
Authors:George Eliot (Author)
Other authors:Juliet Stevenson (Narrator), Naxos AudioBooks (Publisher)
Info:Naxos AudioBooks (2011)
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Victorian, Audio, 1870's, 2016, 2018

Work details

Middlemarch by George Eliot (1872)

  1. 111
    Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (christiguc, HollyMS)
  2. 113
    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)
  8. 10
    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 (244)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Latvian (1)  All languages (253)
Showing 1-5 of 244 (next | show all)
My brother-in-law saw me reading it at Thanksgiving.

“Whatcha reading?”

“Middlemarch, by George Eliot.”

“What’s it about?”

“English provincial life in the 1830s. Marriages, other signifiers of social standing, ruinous debt, the Reform Act of 1832, other stuff. My jam.”


Though it did have some earlier devotees (Virignia Woolf and Emily Dickenson), it wasn’t really recognized until the middle of the 20th century. Now it’s frequently mentioned as perhaps the best English novel.

At times I found it to be kind of a bear. A lot of people bog down and don’t get past the first 75 pages or so. But if you can hang on for the first 500 pages, the last 300 really pick up. The final paragraph was very affecting. ( )
  k6gst | Feb 12, 2020 |
Well, that was a goddamn delight! A long read, but a fine one, if you're into 19th-century lit. ( )
  Sonya_W | Feb 5, 2020 |
This has to be in the top 5 or 10 best books I have ever read. I never imagined anyone could come close to my favorites (Dickens and Dostoyevsky). This book is pure genius from start to finish - 800 plus pages of genius.

How anyone can have the mind to create a work like this is just unbelievable.

Don't short yourself - read this book! ( )
  redbird_fan | Jan 13, 2020 |
I tend to avoid nineteenth century British literature, with the exception of Jane Austen (whom I enjoy but don't love). The thought of reading about villages and farms and rectors and middle-aged English ladies talking about their closed-minded ideas repels me. However, since _Middlemarch_ is considered one of the best novels in the English language (Martin Amis apparently calling it the best), I figured I should overcome my own prejudice and try it.

_Middlemarch_ is definitely somewhere in the pantheon, though perhaps not the best English novel ever... I listened to much of it, and slowed the speed of the audiobook to just enjoy the language -- which I never do, and which I did not expect to do with a novel published in the 1870s about the early 1830s.

Still, the pleasures of reading _Middlemarch_, for me, were less about the language itself, and more about Eliot's insights and nuggets of wit. Some examples, randomly selected and definitely not the best:
“And, of course men know best about everything, except what women know better.”
“The difficult task of knowing another soul is not for young gentlemen whose consciousness is chiefly made up of their own wishes.”
“What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?”
“The troublesome ones in a family are usually either the wits or the idiots.”

Though there are Jane Austen'ish plot elements like "Will Mary and Fred wind up together?" _Middlemarch_ is much more than a novel of manners. There are multiple plots and many characters, and plot elements other than romance, including the status of women, religion, political reform, the state of medicine in 1830, the beginning of railroads...

Another Goodreads user compared _Middlemarch_ to_War and Peace_ set in provincial England. Perhaps the last sentence of the book inspired them to make that comparison:

"But 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."

( )
  Robert_Musil | Dec 15, 2019 |
I listened to this book, read by Kate Reading, who was fabulous. I loved Eliot's language and her keen and pithy observations ( )
  sethwilpan | Aug 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 244 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (74 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
Woolf, GabrielNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
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.
The nineteenth century was an age of intense intellectual ferment. (Introduction)
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.

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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

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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