Peter_C_Dolan, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Peter_C_Dolan)
The writing is stunning - you see why it has endured. I'm reading it for the first time in my fifties, which means I've seen and experienced most of what she describes in the life of Middlemarch. While it's a little disconcerting to see that there is nothing new under the sun, it's a great story, full of insights that are still true today.
Eliot is an author most people know from school or because they see her books on lists of "important literature." But reading Middlemarch, her extraordinary monument to early-19th-century provincial England, is far from a stodgy, academic experience. With a touch of satire and an incredible grasp on the intricacies of human nature, Eliot illustrates the patterns — and peculiarities — of the people inhabiting her fictional town of Middlemarch. Flawed and conflicted, her characters stumble along as we all do, navigating mistakes and misfortunes with varying levels of success. This is not a book of classic character arcs or happy endings, but it is a true masterpiece, something to be enjoyed for its intrigue, savored for its razor-sharp prose, and admired for its timelessness.
by Renee P.
"Review A Day"
by Arthur George Sedgwick, The Atlantic Monthly,
"In the attempt to play the critic of such works as these, one cannot help feeling that to properly analyze and explain George Eliot, another George Eliot is needed, and that all suggestion can do is to indicate the impossibility of grasping, in even the most comprehensive terms, the variety of her powers. An author whose novels it has really been a liberal education to read, one is more tempted to admire silently than to criticise at all." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
by V. S. Pritchett,
"No Victorian novel approaches Middlemarch in its width of reference, its intellectual power, or the imperturbable spaciousness of its narrative."
It was George Eliot's ambition to create a world and portray a whole community — tradespeople, middle classes, country gentry — in the rising fictional provincial town of Middlemarch, circa 1830. Vast and crowded, rich in narrative irony and suspense, Middlemarch is richer still in character and in its sense of how individual destinies are shaped by and shape the community.
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