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

by George Eliot

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Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
In all honesty, I enjoyed it more and read it faster than I thought I would. My favorite line of Eliot's came at the end: "...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."

Of all the characters, I liked Rosamond the least (Mr. Casaubon coming in a close second to "Rosy"), and I liked Dorothea the best. In the end, I'm glad "Dodo" went for it. ( )
  NadineC.Keels | Apr 10, 2014 |
It has taken me a long time to read this book but it is well worth the time and effort. This is a wonderful story full of exceptionally well developed characters and plot lines. The central character, Dorothea Brooks is flanked by Other members of Middlemarch society from the aristocracy and the labourers. Among the more interesting characters are Fred Vincy, who loves Mary Garth, Dr. Lydgate who falls under the spell of the vacuous Rosamond Vincy, Casaubon, the middle aged preacher who Dorothea unfortunately marries, Will Ladislav, a distant relative of Casuabon, with a checkered birthright, Balustrode with a hidden past and secret which affects almost all of the population. There are many other characters but these are the principle ones. The writing is excellent. I have not had the pleasure of savouring such brilliant descriptions of thoughts, emotions, love and activities for quite some time and this is truly a masterpiece. There is a sense of humanity, justice, kindness and forgiveness in her main characters vs the petty prejudices of the "elite" and masses.
I really enjoyed the descriptions English society and politics at the time, In particular the discussions about the Reform bill and it's potential impact . All turns out well in the end.the ( )
  MaggieFlo | Apr 1, 2014 |
I recently reviewed My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead, and she inspired me to return – for the third time – to one of my all-time favorite novels:Middlemarch by George Eliot. Fortunately, on my first two reads, I used two different pencils, so I was able to compare my readings as I went along.

According to the BBC History Website, George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Ann Evans, one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century. She was born on 22 November 1819 in rural Warwickshire. When her mother died in 1836, Eliot left school to help run her father's household. In 1841, she moved with her father to Coventry and lived with him until his death in 1849. Eliot then travelled in Europe, eventually settling in London. In 1850, Eliot began contributing to the Westminster Review, a leading journal for philosophical radicals and later became its editor. She was now at the centre of a literary circle through which she met George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived until his death in 1878. Lewes was married and their relationship caused a scandal. Eliot was shunned by friends and family. Lewes encouraged Eliot to write. In 1856, she began a series of novels, which proved to be great successes. She used a male pen name to ensure her works were taken seriously in an era when female authors were usually associated with romantic novels. The popularity of Eliot's novels brought social acceptance, and Lewes and Eliot's home became a meeting place for writers and intellectuals. After Lewes' death Eliot married a friend, John Cross, who was 20 years her junior. She died on 22 December 1880 and was buried in Highgate Cemetery in North London.

Eliot underscored the importance of teaching reading and the humanities when she wrote in a letter to Frederic Harrison the following: “aesthetic teaching is the highest of all teaching because it deals with life in its highest complexity” (593). This quintessential novel of the 19th century conveys in a wonderfully entertaining fashion, the complex tangled web of love, marriage, and relationships.

My worn Norton Edition has hundreds of passages underlined and annotated. The attempt to encapsulate this novel in a single passage proves almost impossible. So, I decided to quote the opening passage, which describes the main character:

“Miss Brooks had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters; and her profile as well as her stature and bearing seemed to gain the more dignity from her plain garments, which by the side of provincial fashion gave her the impressiveness of a fine quotation from the Bible, -- or from one of our elder poets, -- in a paragraph of today’s newspaper. She was usually spoken of as being remarkably clever, but with the addition that her sister Celia had more common sense” (1).

Middlemarch by George Eliot is one of the great novels of British Literature. Rather than simply read, it should be experienced. Do not be deterred by its 578 pages. You will visit Middlemarch and soon return after what will seem like the briefest of vacations. 5 stars

--Jim, 3/22/14 ( )
  rmckeown | Mar 29, 2014 |
Somewhere recently I read that Middlemarch is the greatest English novel. So I decided to download the free classic onto my iPad and take the plunge. I am glad I did. Eliot created an involving group of characters who all are affected by past decisions. Dorothea is a wonderful heroine, an idealistic beauty who marries an older man so that she can help him with his scholarly pursuits. Unfortunately she later meets the real love of her life, her husband's nephew. The novel explores the marriages of several couples, Lydgate, a young doctor takes on more than he can afford when he marries the town beauty, Rosamond. Another town favorite Fred Vincy has to get his act together if he is ever going to have a chance with his childhood love, Mary Garth. The author also manages to make the town itself a character in the way their opinions or judgements play a part in the fates of others. Though it took awhile to get through this 800 page novel, it nicely came together at the end and realistically provides a portrait of the Provincial life of England in the 1830's, I look forward to other works from Eliot. ( )
  novelcommentary | Mar 21, 2014 |
After the first of its eight sections I read this wonderful Victorian classic slowly, usually savoring just one chapter a day until I sped up at the very end. It’s a pace that imitates the serial way it was released, though Middlemarch was actually published in the eight “books” it’s divided into not the individual chapters of each “book.”

I can highly recommend the leisurely approach. Reading just a little every day kept me interested, engaged, and appreciative of the especially rich text, full of insightful commentary, trenchant thoughts, and germane asides, while still allowing me to keep track of the large cast of characters and their interconnecting stories. Each chapter was a highlight of my day so I feel (temporarily, I hope) at a loss now that I’ve finished the book.

Of the novel's many threads the most prominent involve idealistic Dorothea Brooke, who against the advice of everyone marries a dried up religious pedant of a man thinking he will lead her to a life of meaning, and Tertius Lydgate, a doctor with great plans for doing good who traps himself in a marriage that foils all his dreams.

Before starting Middlemarch I mistakenly thought it was a depressing novel of thwarted love and ambition, but that’s far from the case though it does address serious issues that include marriage, religion, political reform, the expectations of society, and the status of women. The book ends with a realistic mix of poignancy, happiness, and hope, not unmitigated tragedy.

What I maybe treasure most about the novel is how sympathetically it is written. There are villains of a sort, vapid selfish Rosamund, mean spirited Mr. Casaubon and hypocritical Mr Bulstrode, and there are certainly characters that make very bad decisions, like Lydgate and Dorothea, but George Eliot writes with such level-headed sensibility and understanding that their troubles touched me and I couldn’t condemn or belittle any of them. ( )
  Jaylia3 | Mar 18, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (82 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George Eliotprimary 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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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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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 19 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439548, 0141199792, 0143123815

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