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The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

The Mill on the Floss (1860)

by George Eliot

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,97185700 (3.77)364
  1. 100
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Two Victorian heroines approach the question of how to reconcile passion and morality in very different ways.
  2. 70
    Middlemarch by George Eliot (Booksloth)
  3. 41
    Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (Booksloth)
  4. 53
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (roby72)
  5. 00
    David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (kara.shamy)

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Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this. The opening chapters are very funny and Maggie is adorable. I like it when she pushes Lucy into the pond and how this and other early things pre-figure events later in the novel. Very clever. I liked how the aunts act as a Greek chorus early on, later replaced by the authorial voice. It must have been a very personal novel for Eliot to write. I heard that her brother refused to speak to her for 20 years, but she never let's herself be overcome by emotion. My sister refused to speak to me for 12 years for the same reasons. ( )
  Lukerik | Jul 12, 2016 |
I found it to be rather dull and thought of it as The Mill on the Godawful Floss."" ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
This book starts strong; with quirky, believable characters and a poignant setting that was obviously a well-loved memory of the author's childhood. I frequently laughed out loud at some antic of Maggie's or a description of her woodenheaded, morally upright Aunt Glegg.

Once the characters grew up, however, it degenerated into a tragic romance with Maggie as `Mary Sue', and the ending! - don't get me started. ( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
THE MILL ON THE FLOSS: I have to ask if George Eliot could have devised a more off-putting title for her 1864 coming of age novel about Maggie Tulliver? I mean, I get it. The relentless energy of the river Floss is capital L Life, and the mill that takes its energy from the river is the ephemeral structure we call lowercase (individual) life. And perhaps, at a certain time in England’s history, a title like that made your book fly off the shelves, who knows? In the teen years of the 21st century, the 579 page classic is a hard sell. Luckily, audiobooks came to the rescue. Talented narrators enhance descriptive paragraphs with a sense of meaningful importance and pages of dialect that I would normally skip over come alive as the intelligible speech of real (and funny and mean) people. I say “narrators” since there are several audiobook versions of THE MILL ON THE FLOSS and I have listened to--and fallen in love with--two of them (over 40 hours listening time--don’t judge me).

The tale of THE MILL ON THE FLOSS is luxuriously character driven and tangled. Briefly, the Tulliver family lived a respectably comfortable existence, with enough money to send both children to boarding school. However, Maggie’s father mortgaged his wife’s belongings to cover a loan, then lost a protracted litigation with a lawyer which in turn meant loss of the mill and belongings. At this point the miller suffers a very timely collapse and repayment of his debts is left to teenaged Tom. The sudden change of public status hardens Tom’s already proud nature; his bitterness flows downstream to Maggie whose search for happiness seems forever thwarted. Giving up hope, she embraces acts of self-denial (inspired by The Imitation of Christ, a book popular then) to subdue passion in any guise. At the same time, she is lured into a forbidden friendship with a man her brother despises. Does Tom succeed in paying off his father’s debts? Does Maggie achieve happiness on any scale? Well, you’ll have to read (or preferably listen to) it to find out!

Bullied (brother), patronized (father), ignored (mother), worshipped (two equally ineligible suitors), Maggie stands heads and shoulders above her contemporary fictional protagonists. This might be difficult, but imagine a mid-19th century Wednesday Addams--without the cool parents and relatives--totally disparaged by her family (except her father whose loving pet name for her is little wench; wait, that’s disparaging too), angrily driving nails into her wooden doll’s head and later switching to grating the doll body against fireplace bricks when the head starts to fall apart. Or an 1860s Anne Shirley cutting her unfashionably straight hair off rather than submit one more time to curling papers; pushing her perfect and innocent cousin Lucy into the mud because her (Maggie’s) brother was paying more attention to her; and running away to give the gypsies the benefit of her book knowledge, secretly aspiring to become their queen if only the travellers can see how smart she is. As a young woman, Maggie surpasses Jane Eyre in self control and self-sacrifice to become, in a much more dramatic way than Miss Eyre managed, the hero of her own story. I keep wondering how I managed to remain ignorant of Maggie Tulliver until now.

The secondary characters are as colourful and riveting (and less caricatured) as any of Dickens’ creations. The Dodson sisters, Maggie’s aunts on her mother’s side, are literary descendants of Lady Catherine deBurgh, wealthy, miserly and cold. Their self-centeredness is entirely credible and at the same time astonishingly thorough. The conversations of Bob Jakins, a working child on the mill and later travelling salesman and investor, are laugh out loud funny. If he lived now, Bob would certainly be the most successful car salesman in town. Eliot is ambivalent in her depiction of Tom, Maggie’s brother and is thought to have based him on her own surly sibling (hence the ambivalence). Throughout THE MILL ON THE FLOSS, Maggie yearns for Tom’s love and approval above all else. By the end, she is calling him a Pharisee who has “no sense of [his] own imperfections and [his] own sins”. However, of the four loves Maggie embodies--sister, daughter, muse and lover--the love of a sister is key to the unfolding of the novel.

THE MILL ON THE FLOSS is an epic flowing with satire and pathos, passion and asceticism. You will recognize the characters as they are as true to life as people from your own circle of relatives and acquaintances. Although the setting is more than 150 years ago, prejudice and ignorance haven’t changed much since then.

Highly recommended to all in audiobook format. Of the two versions I’ve listened to, the one with Laura Paton is the one I would suggest you try. She takes her time with dialogue, laying on accents thick and rich. A delight to listen to! ( )
  julie10reads | Mar 3, 2016 |
An amazing novel - I could hardly breathe through the latter half of it. Eliot is a master at conveying emotion and conflict. I won't forget this book any time soon. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (93 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eliot, Georgeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atkins, EileenReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Byatt, A. S.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daiches, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Livesey, MargotIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacNeill, AlysonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manning, WrayIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A wide plain, where the broadening Floss hurries on between its green banks to the sea, and the loving tide, rushing to meet it, checks its passage with an impetuous embrace. On this mighty tide the black ships -laden with the fresh-scented fir-planks, with rounded sacks of oil-bearing seed, or with the dark glitter of coal - are borne along to the town of St. Ogg's, which shows its aged, fluted red roofs and the broad gables of its wharves between the low wooded hill and the river-brink, tingeing the water with a soft purple hue under the transient glance of this February sun. Far away on each hand stretch the rich pastures, and the patches of dark earth made ready for the seed of broad-leaved green crops, or touched already with the tint of the tender-bladed autumn-sown corn. There is a remnant still of last year's golden clusters of beehive-ricks rising at intervals beyond the hedgerows; and everywhere the hedgerows are studded with trees; the distant ships seem to be lifting their masts and stretching their red-brown sails close among the branches of the spreading ash. Just by the red-roofed town the tributary Ripple flows with a lively current into the Floss. How lovely the little river is, with its dark changing wavelets! It seems to me like a living companion while I wander along the bank, and listen to its low, placid voice, as to the voice of one who is deaf and loving. I remember those large dipping willows. I remember the stone bridge.
Such things as these are the mother-tongue of our imagination, the language that is laden with all the subtle, inextricable associations the fleeting hours of our childhood left behind them. Our delight in the sunshine on the deep-bladed grass to-day might be no more than the faint perception of wearied souls, if it were not for the sunshine and the grass in the far-off years which still live in us, and transform our perception into love.
There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141439629, Paperback)

Brought up at Dorlcote Mill, Maggie Tulliver worships her brother Tom and is desperate to win the approval of her parents, but her passionate, wayward nature and her fierce intelligence bring her into constant conflict with her family. As she reaches adulthood, the clash between their expectations and her desires is painfully played out as she finds herself torn between her relationships with three very different men: her proud and stubborn brother, a close friend who is also the son of her family's worst enemy, and a charismatic but dangerous suitor. With its poignant portrayal of sibling relationships, The Mill on the Floss is considered George Eliot's most autobiographical novel; it is also one of her most powerful and moving.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:30 -0400)

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Maggie Tulliver, passionate and imaginative, comes into conflict with the middle-class narrowness of the town of St. Ogg's and with her beloved brother Tom.

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

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439629, 0141198915

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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