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Middlemarch (1872)

by George Eliot

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,702330283 (4.2)15 / 1900
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

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)
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    Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (christiguc, HollyMS)
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  4. 71
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  5. 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.
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    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (amanda4242)
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    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.
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    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)
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    kara.shamy: Similar -- almost unique really -- in their tremendous breadth and depth...
AP Lit (109)
1870s (1)
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» See also 1900 mentions

English (317)  Spanish (5)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Latvian (1)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (329)
Showing 1-5 of 317 (next | show all)
Put off reading Middlemarch for fear it would be too much like 18th c books that don't usually appeal to me, but this audio version kept me walking for hours! It is not just about the agonies of women trying to find marriage partners but it is an excellent feminist account of the mores of the time with insights into the present day. And the story is so compelling I couldn't wait to get back to it just to find out who did what next! ( )
  Bakhtin | Mar 22, 2024 |
We all have to exert ourselves a little to keep sane. (Mrs Cadwallader to Dorothea p.391)


My particular 1956 edition started falling apart just as I began to read it. By page 40 there were pages everywhere so I switched to an audio book masterfully (if I can use such a gendered word) read by Juliet Stevenson. Here I should quote George Eliot (Anna Evans),

I am not sure that the greatest man of his age, if ever that solitary superlative existed...


This wry moment of confidence between writer and reader characterizes what I love about Eliot's wonderful writing. First, the understated distance between the author and her characters. Second, the precision of her sentences. Third, the gentle and sympathetic humour which leads to gleeful chuckling on my side of the page.

Before I opened Middlemarch I was concerned that I'd be overwhelmed by another 'bonnet novel' of dubious interest, but almost immediately I found that I was in a different space altogether. Something timeless about the insights into character and situation.

This is a wonderful book in which the story is merely incidental to the beautifully articulated and extraordinary perceptions of the author. I chuckled my way through this narrative with a mixture of joy and awe

Unwonted circumstances may make us all rather unlike ourselves: there are circumstances under which the most majestic person is obliged to sneeze, and our emotions are liable to be acted on in the same incongruous manner. (p.459)



"It would have been better if I had called him out and shot him a year ago," said Sir James, not from bloody mindedness. but because he needed something strong to say.
"Really, James, that would have been very disagreeable," said Celia. (p.597)

( )
  simonpockley | Feb 25, 2024 |
Too. Fricking. Long. ( )
  LDMichaelis | Jan 22, 2024 |
It was a little bit of a challenge to tackle this book. I put it off reading for some time, but I am so glad that I finally picked it up and read it. I would highly advise listening to the audiobook version by naxos with Julius Stevenson as the reader. I have found in my personal reading, when working my way through a 19th century English literature book, that the audio version helps me get into the mindset and language of that time period. Juliet Stevenson is probably one of the finest readers I have come across. She especially does an excellent job with all the different character voices.
As for the book itself. George Elliott really shines with her observations of human nature, psychology, and exploring those avenues through her characters and their relationships. The plot slowly works its way along a path that never really bores you. By the end of the book you will have grown to care so much about the interactions with each character that you will be turning pages, and finding new time in your life to read further. 900 pages is daunting, but by the end of the book you could keep on reading a few more hundred pages. If you like character development, this book is for you. Put it on your TBR, and find the time sometime in the future where you can explore the debts of George Elliott's world in Middlemarch. ( )
  wvlibrarydude | Jan 14, 2024 |
I have more of a taste for fantasy and adventure than for this type of novel of manners and social description, but I was prodded to read this by all of the fawning references in book reviews and literary notes. I was repaid with a long immersion in the country of 1832 England (the possible passage of the first Parliament reform bill is the subject of several episodes in the book), and remained interested to the end in the fates of the characters. Dorothea and her regrettable marriage to the rigid and self-absorbed Casaubon form the armature of the book, around which the other characters are arrayed. Dorothea in the end achieves some happiness despite Casaubon's spite from the grave. As a physician I was very interested by Dr. Lydgate, his medical theories and the practices of his fellows, and the very well described symptoms and psychologies of his patients. I knew how it is to have judgement hooded by beauty, and to suffer the consequences, not of debt, but of loss of reputation. I identified with the head down and diligent Caleb Garth, and I thought Fred Vincy was the luckiest of the characters, with the most witty, steady and engaging fiancé. The older, less impulsive and idealistic characters are either noble, like Mr. Farebrother, or compromised, like Bulstrode. It took me about 3 weeks of reading most days for an hour or more to finish, but I was carried along by the complex prose, difficult vocabulary, and Eliot's wit, insight and cleverness. ( )
  neurodrew | Jan 13, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 317 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eliot, Georgeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, QuentinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arbonès, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ashton, RosemaryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aubrey, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baldi, GiovanniEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beaty, JeromeAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bickford-Smith, CoralieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bonaparte, FeliciaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bottalico, MicheleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boyd, CaroleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brett, SImonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bullett, GeraldIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Byatt, A.S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carabine, Dr KeithSeries Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carroll, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cooley, MasonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Creswick, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dielman, Frederick DielmanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dixon, A. A.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drabble, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Egan, JenniferIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elias, MonicaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellis, RickCover Designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eve, AdamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Faber, MichelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, PenelopeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gray, BerylEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gregory, PhilippaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haight, Gordon S.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Halley, NedAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Handley, GrahamIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, MargaretEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hart, KingsleyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harvey, William JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Henry, NancyPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hewitt, R. M.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hidalgo, PilarEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hische, JessicaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hornback, Bert G.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hulse, Michaelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacques, RobinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnston, JudithEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jumeau, AlainTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kermode, FrankAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
López Muñoz, José LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leisi, IlseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levine, GeorgeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lutz, DeborahNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maertz, GregoryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manzari, MarioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathias, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McDaniel, MeganIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mead, RebeccaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monod, SylvèreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mornet, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mullan, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neff, Wanda FraikenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nickel, IrmgardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Brien, MaureenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pickup, RonaldNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prose, FrancineIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pujals, María EngraciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ramberg, Mona LycheOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rhys, ErnestEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, DoreenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roeleveld, AnneliesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russell, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sabbadini, SilvanoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, Lynne SharonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaffer, Elinor S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaffert, Ericsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stade, GeorgeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stephen, LesliePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, MargretTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Storm, ArieAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Struik, AlexCover Designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, W. L.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tollet, ElsieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tollet, HåkanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuomikoski, AuneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wachinger, KristianHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walter, HarrietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walz, MelanieHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wildi, MaxNachwortsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolf, GabrielNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolf, VirginiaPréfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zerbst, RainerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Короткова, Е.пер.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Гурова, И.пер.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
אריוך, ג.Translatorsecondary 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.
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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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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

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.
(hillaryrose7)

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