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Middlemarch by George Eliot

Middlemarch (original 1872; edition 2011)

by George Eliot, Juliet Stevenson (Narrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,406162276 (4.21)10 / 1213
Authors:George Eliot
Other authors:Juliet Stevenson (Narrator)
Info:audible.com from Naxos AudioBooks
Collections:Your library
Tags:audiobook, audible.com, Juliet Stevenson, fiction, Great Britain, 19th century, social life and customs, women in 19th century, marriage

Work details

Middlemarch by George Eliot (1872)

  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. 20
    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 (153)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (161)
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
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 |
Many characters, a very broad canvas in a fictitious Midlands town, it has many interweaving themes. I regret having to finish it, it was that good. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
Classic story from 1870s England - the story of the changing times, but more about the struggles to be truly human, truly useful in Victorian English society. This presents a challenge for we readers who know little to nothing of English countryside life in the second half of the nineteenth century, or English politics or all the place and name dropping which were current, common knowledge at the time of publication. A challenge for modern readers also because of the 19th century sentence style - long, convoluted, paranthetical- but a worthy challenge. Eliot's descriptions still end up with statements of insight that gave me pause - her knowledge of both men and women's inner workings, and thoughts- were further recognition of the complexity of the human condition. It took me a good third of the book to accustom myself to her style, and absorb the family /friend connections-all the names!- typical of Victorian novels. But there was no difficulty in recognizing myself, and others, in her compelling, well drawn characters: all their strengths, weaknesses, and daily struggles: Mary Garth and her kind, hardworking parents; the Vincy family with their two spoiled but handsome children, Fred and Rosamund; Dorothea Brooke, in her idealistic, ambitious fervor and her milder, affectionate sister Celia and their uncle Mr. Brooke, friendly, rambling in his speech, and a fixture of the landed gentry of Middlemarch; cold, scholarly Mr. Casaubon and his handsome, careless cousin Will Ladislaw; the intelligent, tolerant Vicar, Mr. Farebrother and his elderly mother and aunt; the ambitious, intense medical man, Tertius Lydgate and his calculating, Puritanical hospital sponsor, Mr. Bulstrode, with a secret past he thinks will stay buried... now I'll go back and watch the Masterpiece Theatre PBS production and enjoy it all the more for George Eliot's sympathetic depiction, doomed though some of the characters may be, of the intricacies and trials of everyday life, for the great and the small. ( )
  BDartnall | May 27, 2014 |
An article in New York magazine singing the praises of Middlemarch prompted me to pick up a copy at my local paperback book exchange. (http://www.vulture.com/2014/01/rebecca-mead-revisits-george-eliots-middlemarch.h...) I read or misread Eliot's novel Silas Marner in high school. All these years later (until reading Middlemarch)I retained an impression of Eliot as rather grim, or at least bent on making a moral point. Well, Eliot certainly tells a tale of morality, but with humor & sympathy for even the baddest acting of her characters. We get to know Middlemarch, with all its residents' hairsplitting notions of rank & worth, from multiple perspectives. In fact, the issue of the worth, or more to the point, the worthiness of an individual is a core concern of Eliot's here. There are characters who are almost above reproach, such as Dorothea Brooke, Caleb Garth & Mary Garth; and characters who are less steady but for the most part generous in their thoughts & actions, such as Tertius Lydgate & Reverand Farebrother. There are two young men, Will Ladislaw & Fred Vincy, who are often misunderstood & reckoned to be worthless by the "chorus" of Middlemarch gossips, but who are believed in by some, particularly by the women they love & ultimately wed (Dorothea & Mary). Eliot keeps us interested in her many characters (mine was just a short list)& only occasionally drops the ball. The most glaring example, I think, is Joshua Rigg, who appears as Peter Featherstone's heir, to the surprise of all. Rigg arrives & leaves; apparently he's Featherstone's natural son from the period before he became a prominent man, when he was elsewhere making a fortune in mining. We never learn much about Rigg; his function seems to be solely to frustrate Fred Vincy's dreams of an easy life as Featherstone's heir, which would have been a disaster as far as Fred's moral development is concerned. Perhaps the most complicated character in the novel is one of the "worst." Nicolas Bulstrode is a tormented man. His actions, both in his earlier life where he prospered through others' misfortune & in his current one, where he wishes for & essentially brings about the death of a man who has been blackmailing him are often reprehensible. But he is not without sympathy. He has "good" impulses too & the fact that his admirable wife remains with him after his disgrace is a sign that Eliot does not want him to be read as evil. Reading Middlemarch confounded me in the way that most English novels do (whether 19th or 20th century): I never quite "get" the class thing: how it's best to have "good blood," land & wealth; still good to have title & land but then you have to marry someone with wealth; OK to have no title but have money but then you have to marry into "good blood." Worst of all is to have dubious parentage (foreign, Jewish, or simply unknown), little to no wealth, with or without an education. There is a sharp distinction drawn between people who work & those who don't; value assigned to living on rents rather than professional or other earnings (not by Eliot, but by society). Another aspect of English novels that confuses me is the import of various religious divisions & how those map onto wealth & class issues. Having been raised as a Roman Catholic, where there are certainly rich Catholics & poor ones, rich parishes & poor ones, but all are still Catholics, I've never quite gotten the meaning of being a Methodist as compared, for example, to being Episcopalian. Enough said. I am rambling on, although Eliot's long novel does invite such rambling. ( )
1 vote Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 153 (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."
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 26 descriptions

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Average: (4.21)
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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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