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Starting “Middlemarch”

906 pages! Finally starting on this cathedral of words that epitomizes Victorian fiction. The door stopper of a book is George Eliot’s masterpiece. Virginia Woolf once said this is one of the few English novels written for grown-up people, in spite of its few imperfections.

Like any other novel of comparable length, there’s an epic quality to Middlemarch and the origin is as complex as the growth is slow. Eliot expounds on her principles of humanity, and exudes lively Tolstoyan sense of individuals enmeshed in their society. In a larger sense, Eliot’s herpine’s fate dramatizes another of the novel’s major themes, the place of women in a changing but still patriarchal society.

8 Responses

  1. What’s a herpine?

  2. Good luck on your journey! I’m on a similar trek trying to read Infinite Jest — I hope we can both finish these big books sometime before the end of this year! I’ve yet to read anything by George Eliot, but I am looking forward to following along with you.

  3. Matthew … Take your time with Middlemarch and enjoy. Be sure to check out the George Eliot Fellowship Website as well. You might consider reading Felix Holt – it’s the 150th. anniversary this year of its publication and there are ‘reading notes’ on the website too. Good wishes, Richard, Nuneaton UK [GE’s birthplace].

  4. I loved Middlemarch but I think I would enjoy it more reading it again. It took awhile to sort the characters but a very satisfying read. Will be interested in what you think of it when finished.

  5. FWIW, I found this read very easily, compared to some other books of this sort. And, like Travellin’ Penguin, i would happily reread it too!

    When you’re done, you might enjoy Rebecca Mead’s book about rereading Middlemarch throughout her life. It’s very bookish, but it does contain a fair bit of biographical information (about her, yes, but also about GE) although also contains spoilers, so best save it for later!

  6. I have yet to read this book, but it has been on my list of must reads for years. Enjoy.

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