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Middlemarch (1872)

by George Eliot

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,002286282 (4.2)14 / 1743
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. 61
    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...
1870s (1)
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English (276)  Spanish (4)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Latvian (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (286)
Showing 1-5 of 276 (next | show all)
Utterly unsurprising that this continues to find readers, as Eliot's particular generosity toward her characters matched with her sardonic wit allow her to both acknowledge the crap that her women have to put up with from their stations in Victorian life, while also allowing something of the power of the Eternal Feminine to enhance their roles in the story. The incredibly cathartic scene in which Lydgate manages to both confess to Dorothea and be believed for the first time turns on both her somewhat naive good faith and Lydgate's willingness to see this woman, who is not his frustrating spouse, as a divine savior.

But if that scene provides a wash of catharsis, the climactic visit between Rosamond and Dorothea is completely overwhelming. Eliot hints earlier that these women will never be friends and have little to do with each other, but it takes little more than a clasping of their hands to produce one of my favorite passages in all of literature. The epilogue is quite graceful, but unnecessary: the novel exists really solely to arrive at those tears and fingers squeezing tight. ( )
  brendanowicz | May 9, 2021 |
Ugh, I couldn't justify finishing this one. Eliot is hit-or-miss for me (Adam Bede was awful with raisins but I enjoyed Silas Marner just fine), and this one is a giant miss. I can't manage to care about any of the characters and the plot is clearly going someplace that will absolutely annoy me and it's taking its sweet-ass time getting there. I tried hanging in there, but just no. So I'm out. I'm done. And I'm also counting it toward my total reads for the year because I've done my suffering (6 hours of it! In Azkaban!) and I've earned the tick mark. ( )
  electrascaife | Apr 18, 2021 |
Middlemarch reads like a soap opera and, like any good soap opera, it manages to draw its readers in and keeps them turning the pages to find out what happens with each character. Although it is not particularly exciting, I found myself hooked until the end and found it a pleasant book for bedtime reading.

The book also provides a picture of rural English life in the 1830s as the inhabitants of Middlemarch confront the changes of this era. For fans of Thomas Piketty, it also provides a wealth of economic insights for the era.

This particular e-book edition is a pleasure to read although the illustrations provided tend to be just simple photos of the people and cities mentioned. Frankly, I would have preferred an annotated edition. ( )
  M_Clark | Apr 9, 2021 |
A well loved classic and a good read. Strong character depictions help immerse the reader into the story about life in a small community. The variety of characters, their dreams and aspirations, their relationships, all are wonderfully portrayed with kindness and humour.

My favourite character is Caleb Garth. Kind, generous, fair, gentle, hard-working and honest. In fact his whole family, I warmed to. Mary stood out as the most sensible and realistic of all the female characters. Dorothea was a bit too holier than thou for me and with such lofty ideas you just knew it wouldn't end well although things did work out for her in the end. Rosamund is an over indulged, selfish and uncaring creature that I disliked immensely and made me feel extremely sorry for Lydgate, although with aspirations beyond his means he comes across as a bit of a hopeless dreamer.

Eliot has such nice turns of phrase that make me smile. One of my favourites is Mr Chadwallader’s description of Mr Brooke,
“Brooke is a very good fellow, but pulpy; he will run into any mould, but he won’t keep his shape.”

The characters are so real, you can see something of everyone you know in them. ( )
  Matacabras | Mar 27, 2021 |
I loved it -- this is one that will stay with me. Eliot has a compassion for her human characters where Jane Austen has scorn or Charles Dickens has fantasy. "People are almost always better than their neighbors think they are," she writes.

But, we marry the obviously wrong people, compromise on our dreams, and even on our values. We never end up where we wanted. Middlemarch's characters face life's disappointments without cheap balm or sinking into romantic despair. Virginia Woolf called it one of the rare English novels for adults. ( )
  poirotketchup | Mar 18, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 276 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (163 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
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Storm, ArieAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walz, MelanieTranslatorsecondary 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.
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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Wikipedia in English


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".

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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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Average: (4.2)
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1 24
1.5 8
2 101
2.5 21
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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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