by George Eliot


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In the fictional town of Middlemarch, selflessness, social reform, and romantic love struggle to survive against human foolishness, economic missteps, and societal ideals. Young and intelligent, Dorothea Brooke hastily marries Casaubon, a middle-aged scholar working tirelessly on his "masterpiece," The Key to All Mythologies. Their union soon sours, and Dorothea becomes trapped in a difficult situation that worsens upon the death of her husband. Elsewhere in town, Tertius Lydgate, an idealistic young doctor, is caught in an ill-fated union with the sweet but superficial Rosamund Vincy. Intertwined within the lives of these two unfortunate couples is the handsome artist Will Ladislaw, who is sympathetic to Lydgate's ideas about science and medicine, and who develops feelings for his uncle's wife--Dorthea Brooke.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781425040529
Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com, Limited
Publication date: 03/09/2009
Pages: 709
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Mary Anne Evans (1819 - 1880), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She wrote seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871-72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of which are set in provincial England. Eliot's Middlemarch has been described by Martin Amis and Julian Barnes as the greatest novel in the English language.

Read an Excerpt

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 walking forth one morning hand - in - hand with her still smaller brother, to go and seek martyrdom in the country of the Moors? Out they toddled from rugged Avila, wide - eyed and helpless - looking as two fawns, but with human hearts, already beating to a national idea; until domestic reality met them in the shape of uncles, and turned them back from their great resolve. That child - pilgrimage was a fit beginning. Theresa's passionate, ideal nature demanded an epic life: what were many - volumed romances of chivalry and the social conquests of a brilliant girl to her. Her flame quickly burned up that light fuel; and, fed from within, soared after some illimitable satisfaction, some object which would never justify weariness, which would reconcile self - despair with the rapturous consciousness of life beyond self. She found her epos in the reform of a religious order.

Excerpted from "Middlemarch"
by .
Copyright © 2011 George Eliot.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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Table of Contents

Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of George Eliot
Explanatory Notes

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Kate Reading...lends the prose emphasis and expression.... Reading's well-paced, measured narration captures the novel's realism—-with its fresh rendering of a complex and often harsh social world." —-AudioFile

Reading Group Guide

1. Discuss the relationship between religious and secular, spiritual and worldly, in the novel. Is it conflicted or not? Why?

2. What is Eliot's view of ambition in its different forms-social, intellectual, political? How is this evident in the novel?

3. In her introduction, A. S. Byatt contends that Eliot was "the great English novelist of ideas." How do you interpret this? How do you think ideas-human thought-inform the plot of Middlemarch?

4. George Eliot is a pseudonym for Mary Ann Evans. How does Eliot's femaleness-and her concealing of it-add resonance to the novel, if at all? Do you see Dorothea's character differently in this regard? Do you see Middlemarch as a "women's" novel?

5. Middlemarch was originally published in serial form, a single book at a time. What kinds of concerns affected Eliot's narrative in this regard? How do these discrete segments differ from the whole?

6. Discuss the convention of marriage in the novel. Do you feel it ultimately restricts the characters? Or is it the novel's provincial setting that proves more oppressive?

7. Discuss the metaphor of Dorothea as St. Theresa. What is Eliot saying here?

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Middlemarch 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
tbborrell More than 1 year ago
This version of Middlemarch crashed my Nook repeatedly. I opted to download a different version.
littlebookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don¿t even know how to review George Eliot, especially this novel. She captures such amazing things about human nature; not every ending is happy, but some are. I love the relationships between characters, their passions, how they grow and develop as the book goes along. Dorothea especially shines as a character, suffering through a difficult marriage and finally greeting happiness with open arms and a great deal of maturity. Each character has both flaws and virtues, and they are all well-drawn and capable of existence.I love the society of Middlemarch, and I¿d like to think of it as a snapshot of a small, somewhat rural town, all residents bound together against scandal and ¿new¿ inhabitants. She¿s an author that captures the connections between people really well. Married people, friends, clients, children; all are connected and believably so.I enjoyed the epilogue, even though it wasn¿t necessary since I felt as though I lived in Middlemarch. Having such a place just stop existing is impossible!Wish I could go back and read it again!
PensiveCat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you've just picked up Middlemarch to read, brace yourself. It's a project. I am not trying to discourage anyone, but like a massive workout routine, you don't just jump into it after being a couch potato. By the way, I loved this book. So far it's my favorite George Eliot book. It's also the longest Eliot I've read. There are some obscure vocabulary words, so keep your OED handy. There's quite a cast of characters, so sit down and try to keep track of them. The main character is Dorothea Brooke, who starts off as a bit abrasive in my opinion, but I warmed up to her as the pages turned. Then there's the idealistic Dr. Lydgate, the fun and kind of silly Mr. Brooke, the seemingly foolish Fred Vincy, among others. The dialogue is humourous a good deal of the time, and the depiction of provincial life is fantastic. *Almost a Spoiler* - the ending is not as horrendously tragic as the majority of its contemporary novels. Certainly a satisfying chunk of a book
shimshonit on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read this book twice now (and seen the BBC series countless times). I believe it to be, without qualification, the greatest novel in the English language. Its themes are so numerous, it has something for everyone--love (with all its glories and problems), revenge, social class, money, progress vs tradition, politics. The web of relationships in Middlemarch--a town experiencing the early growing pains of industrialization--is intricate, and while there are more and less sympathetic characters, Eliot makes sure the reader has enough knowledge about each character to prevent easy labeling of heroes or villains. Each character is nuanced, flawed, striving towards something--like reality, only more interesting.The prose is dense, and at times incomprehensible to the modern reader. This is the main (and, to my mind, only) drawback to the novel. The headings at the beginning of each chapter, usually written by Eliot herself, are connected in some way to the content of the chapters, though I must confess to paying them little attention as the novel wears on. Reading them, translating them (when necessary), and examining the connections between them and the chapters themselves offers a study unto itself. (Perhaps I'll attempt it next time I read the novel.)My edition (which came out after the BBC series) has a quotation on the back jacket from Virginia Woolf which reads: "[George Eliot] was one of the first English novelists to discover that men and women think as well as feel..." While I love Jane Austen's pre-marriage odysseys, I also love Eliot's tackling of the bumpy ride of marriage itself.After 800 pages of thorough exploration of the minds, hearts, and souls of thoroughly human characters, I am still sorry to see it end.
otterlake on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all time favorite books.
dangraves on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Arguably the greatest novel in the English language, a richness of character and unity of theme hard to match. I've reread it every year or two since I discovered it. Even characters I don't like, she makes me understand, such as Rosamund and Bulstrode. Perhaps she is too easy on Farebrother, Fred and Lydgate, three men who indulge themselves more than is fitting.
labwriter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My Norton edition of Middlemarch is filled with the notes I made when reading it for Dr. Joseph Carroll's class. Thank you, thank you, Dr. Carroll for teaching this book. I've also using packing tape throughout the book for pages that were falling out. That's one complaint that I have about these Norton editions: any more than one reading and these things fall apart.
KendraRenee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had my doubts at several points, just because this book got a little long sometimes, but once I sat down and really READ Middlemarch, it absolutely claimed my heart. (I tore through the final 300 pages in one afternoon!) Eliot speaks so poignantly and truly to human nature that I couldn't help but be taken in by it. The character of Dorothea especially inspired me--and I don't mean that to sound as predictable and trite as it does. Of course such a "good" person would inspire readers... but what I mean is that I admire Eliot's skill in writing her. Not only that, but I admire her skill in creating *less* admirable characters so successfully too: Bulstrode, the Vincy family (in general), and Rosamonde (specifically) among them. I also appreciated Eliot's analysis of marriage, subtly throughout but then more bluntly at the end. Few authors treat the subject as realistically, and yet as hopefully, as she.The ending was satisfyingly cheerful to me, though I am glad Eliot still included a bit of tragedy to make it seem realistic. (I hate unrealistic stories almost as much as I hate thoroughly tragic ones.) All in all, Middlemarch was as true a story as fiction, I feel, can ever get.
drpeff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
a lot of cultural discussion that I didn¿t understand. I was able to picture the scenes that were described so well. I liked it.
Stensvaag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An undeniably great book, but tough going for me. Much of it seemed "scholarly" and almost tedious. I'm glad I made it to the end, though!
klarusu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This classic novel has been languishing on my bookshelf for more than a decade in the 'Books I Really Ought To Read' corner of shame so I was very glad that the Group Reads - Literature group picked it for their next book. It moved me to pick it up and stick with it, not to be seduced away by shorter 200-page-reads.I will state up front that I just loved this book. I approached it expecting to enjoy it, certainly to appreciated it for its classical literary merit, but not necessarily to love it in the way I do some of my favourite more contemporary novels. How wrong I was! I am used to reading classic novels and commenting on their literary merit as if they are a genre apart from their modern counterparts, but what struck me about Middlemarch was how alive and contemporary it was - I raced through to the end empathising and identifying with the characters and situations from my modern perspective. Much has been written about Eliot's depth of characterisation and layered storytelling, about her use of language and development of themes - all undeniably valid. However, what is sometimes missed in these lofty critiques is that Middlemarch is a cracking tale and a great love story. It's one of those rare novels that you live with and are absorbed by so completely and for so long, that on finishing it is as if you have lost a group of friends.Admittedly, in the beginning it took a while to understand where Eliot was heading with the many different character threads and her somewhat verbose style took a few chapters to get into. If you find this difficult, I can only recommend you stick with it. This book more than returns the favour by the end and I found I whipped through the second half, desperate to find out how it would all end up for my favourites.Possibly the best demonstration of its pulling power is that the characters grow and develop so much over the course of the novel that I know that I will re-read it sometime in the future because I want to go back to the early sections knowing what I do now about how each individual ends up.The most worthwhile read I've had in a long, long while and a rare 5 stars from me!
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