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Middlemarch (1872)

by George Eliot

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,203267283 (4.2)14 / 1681
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)
  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 by Winifred Holtby (Booksloth)
  7. 20
    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (amanda4242)
  8. 20
    The Victorian House : domestic life from childbirth to deathbed by Judith Flanders (susanbooks)
  9. 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)
  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 (256)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Latvian (1)  All languages (265)
Showing 1-5 of 256 (next | show all)
900 pages -- and still this very good read felt more like a loosely woven blanket draped over early 19th century England than a tightly constructed canvas supporting a portrait in deepest hues. In and out of the minds and perspectives of the characters Eliot takes us as they worry, plot, dream, and live their daily lives in Middlemarch. Set in a time of change, when railroads and scientific advancements were changing society and sources of wealth, the novel peers into the marriages of several couples for insights into relationships and personal motivations that continue to ring true. Meanwhile, it also spotlights societal problems that still plague us -- homelessness, universal health care, class struggles and adapting to the impact of new technology. It's an old chestnut, but it reads so new in many ways. George Eliot -- nee Mary Ann Evans -- was a genius. ( )
  MMKY | Jul 3, 2020 |
I can't write anything that would do justice to this book. Somehow I always regarded it as a minor classic (with lots of other more important books to read first.) I'm very glad to have read it and look forward to reading it again next year. ( )
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
It starts off slow, and a lot of the prose is a dense slog. Fortunately, the characters are well drawn and believable, and any time they are talking to one another the dialogue is wonderful. I also think it shows a range of very believable marital pitfalls. Comparing this book with Portrait of a Lady, in that novel we're asked to study a bad marriage but we're never really shown exactly how the characters fell in love. Here, we can see the bad marriages being built from good intentions, high hopes, and assumptions that prove unfounded. No one is tricked into marriage here, and there are no secret crazy wives locked in attics. The drama comes from realistic, small scale conflicts over things like household budgets and age differences between couples. I enjoyed it and found it insightful, but will admit that this low key conflict does make the book fairly dull for long passages. Still, I think it belongs on any reading serious reading list of classics. ( )
  James_Maxey | Jun 29, 2020 |
Luckless marriages
small town lives and petty wrongs
a lovely long tale. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
Some discouragement, some faintness of 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 emotion of mankind; and perhaps our frames could hardly bear much of it. 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. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity.

Middlemarch is truly one of the greatest novel's I've ever read. With the possible exception of Moby-Dick, it's the most impressive English language novel of the 19th century. The psychological depth with which Eliot imbues her characters is unparalleled. Her wit, sophistication, and literary acumen are present on every page. Perhaps most impressively, the novel manages to express profound moral understanding without ever becoming moralizing. Eliot's philosophical insights into the nature of virtue, sympathy, and social relationships seems to me unparalleled by Dickens, Twain, Dostoevsky, James, Flaubert, or any of the other comparable writers of her era. The only criticism I can muster is that occasionally her syntax can become a bit unwieldy, but this criticism can be leveled (often more justifiably) against any novelist of the 19th century. As such, this observation does nothing to weaken my admiration for Eliot's work. In sum, Middlemarch is something special—something I would recommend to anyone who claims a love of great literature. ( )
  drbrand | Jun 8, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 256 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (68 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
Walz, MelanieTranslatorsecondary 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.
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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