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Middlemarch by George Eliot
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Middlemarch (original 1872; edition 2012)

by George Eliot

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,484164273 (4.21)10 / 1220
  1. 110
    Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (christiguc, Hollerama)
  2. 91
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (shallihavemydwarf)
  3. 50
    The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (Booksloth)
  4. 30
    North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (PensiveCat)
  5. 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.
  6. 20
    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)
  7. 20
    South Riding: An English Landscape by Winifred Holtby (Booksloth)
  8. 20
    The Victorian House: Domestic Life from Childbirth to Deathbed by Judith Flanders (susanbooks)
  9. 02
    Ulysses by James Joyce (kara.shamy)
    kara.shamy: Similar -- almost unique really -- in their tremendous breadth and depth...
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English (156)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (164)
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
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". Summary from online resource OVERDRIVE

My reivew is based on the audiobook read by Kate Reading. The extraordinary opening--a reference to Teresa of Avila's "passionate, ideal nature" which "demanded an epic life"--encourages the contrast to the protagonist, Dorothea Brooks, who 300 years later, with similar passionate, ideal nature :

found no sacred poet and sank unwept into oblivion.

and sets the stage of stifling Victorian scenarios for almost all characters involved. You want to shake Dorothea and tell her to smarten up...but there wouldn't be a story.

MIDDLEMARCH is thick with quotables:

One must be poor to know the luxury of giving.

and

But what we call our despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope.

and

If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.

MIDDLEMARCH is long--no question--but elegantly penned with dry humour and thought-provoking observations.

An interesting background note is that George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans practiced what she believed in: freedom, independence, pursuit of ideals--at 35 she braved public and family censure when she began a relationship with a married man with whom she lived from 1854 until his death in 1878.

8 out of 10 Highly recommended in the audiobook version to all....when you have the time! ( )
  julie10reads | Nov 23, 2014 |
So, it took me two months to read this one start to finish, but I did it. And I must say, I enjoyed it. Although I think George Eliot could have told the story just as well in 700 pages as in 840, there weren't any obvious spots I'd cut; no detailed accounts of politics at the time or how much things cost or nineteenth-century fishing practices.

I loved Dorothea most of any character, mostly because the mistakes she made---which were fairly big---were all made in a spirit of self-sacrifice and doing the right thing. The other characters in the novel run into trouble when they start acting in narrow self-interest. If you live in Middlemarch and lack self-reflection, Eliot has it in for you.

Of course, even with ample self-reflection, that doesn't necessarily mean everything's going to be coming up roses for you. This is a realistic book in the sense that the problems people face don't have clear-cut solutions, and even the "happy" endings aren't unequivocally happy.

But Dorothea is awesome because she's unrelenting about following her convictions, no matter what kind of discomfort it leads her into. Even when she's making really big errors in judgement, I still love her.

Dorothea is the agent of the only totally genuine conversation of the entire novel---and that doesn't happen until Chapter 81, nearly 800 pages into the book. This is why I think this book took so long to read: Things couldn't happen quickly because no one was being straight with anyone else. Everyone's calculating what they should say based on how they think the other person will react or how they want to make the other person react, and in the meantime acting behind each others' backs, and it's enough to make me want to pull my hair out sometimes. Just say what you mean, Middlemarchers! Jeez, Louise!

For the rest of the review, please visit my blog, ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Nov 6, 2014 |
I love the Virginia Woolf quote about Middlemarch: "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people." ( )
  jpe9 | Nov 5, 2014 |
I loved this book, from beginning to end. I can't remember right now when I read it, or why on earth I didn't write a review! ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
Though #1book140 took two months to read it, I couldn't get past the first few chapters. Just couldn't dedicate the time, though I would have enjoyed it again. Glad I read it in college.
Tweets by Rebecca Mead.
  KymmAC | Aug 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (73 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eliot, Georgeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ashton, RosemaryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Creswick, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harvey, W. J.Editorsecondary 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.
"Now, ladies," said Mr. Trumbull, ... "these bijoux must be examined. This I have in my hand is an ingenious contrivance -- a sort of practical rebus I may call it: here, you see, it looks like an elegant heart-shaped box, portable - for the pocket; there, again, it becomes like a splendid double flower -- an ornament for the table; and now" -- Mr. Trumbull allowed the flower to fall alarmingly into strings of heart-shaped leaves -- "a book of riddles! No less than five hundred printed in a beautiful red."
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
Haiku summary
dorothea cares

in a world not quite ready

to accept her views

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141439548, Paperback)

It was George Eliot’s ambition to create a world and portray a whole community—tradespeople, middle classes, country gentry—in the rising fictional provincial town of Middlemarch, circa 1830. Vast and crowded, rich in narrative irony and
suspense, Middlemarch is richer still in character and in its sense of how individual destinies are shaped by and shape the community.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:19 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Set in a provincial Victorian neighborhood, the author explores the complex social relationship and the struggle to hold fast to personal tragedy in a materialistic environment.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 26 descriptions

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Audible.com

21 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439548, 0141199792, 0143123815

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