Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
Middlemarch by George Eliot, in its original edition was subtitled, “A Study of Provincial Life.”
The story has many sub-stories, which all bind together to create a village of personalities. Then the great George Eliot goes to work intermixing these personalities. This novel examines personalities and the interrelationship between personalities. After the opening story of our heroine Dorothea, it quickly adds a dozen different personalities and their intermixing in the Middlemarch society. This is very much a daytime soap opera. But one with brilliant display of the English language by a master; Ms. Eliot. This book is a perfect example of Romantic era’s ability to consider life with flowering words and a psychological understanding par excellence. It enraptures.
As to the overall plot, each of these dozen or so personal stories all get intermixed into a discombobulation. . . . And being a Romantic novel -- all gest sorted out somewhat satisfactorily in the end with a little tragedy here and a little happiness there. A most wonderful read!
In its primordial story we are confronted with the coming into being of a mid-nineteenth century marriage, between a good looking young woman and an older Ichabod Crane type man. It is the story of a bride to be, our Dorothea, and her family’s individual desires for her, which are distinct from her own. Dorothea, is going into a marriage that seems to be a monumental error for herself. Will this irregular relationship be in error? Dorothea is a woman with a thirst for knowledge, without the capacity to obtain that knowledge and a wrongful belief that as a woman she needs an educated man to guide her. Educated she gets, but much less than a man; and certainly not a lover.
Middlemarch concerns the status of woman and the institution of marriage; at least as such was discerned by our late nineteenth century author, Ms. George Eliot. Yet, all her considerations continue to hold true for us today.
The status of women and their position in marriage in the Victorian age is but one of the societal norms examined by Ms. Eliot. As in all Romantic Era novels the Depicted Lives must cover many topics. Ms. Eliot does that giving us much to consider about religion, hypocrisy, political reform, and education, as well as the virtues and vices of marriage. All these elements are sorted through in the dialogues between the characters.
This text is rich with much to consider. For example, and in addition to the above topics, Ms. Eliot discusses the various manners of becoming a medical doctor in the 1830s, how those systems have produced quackeries and how the charlatanisms make their way by prescribing and selling far too many preparations (i.e., prescriptions). We also have a full study into jealously, and how it creates the evil that was feared by the jealous, but that would not have come into being but for the jealousy.
The book is a comment on societal shortcomings. Many continuing into our present societies.
Be aware though. Ms. Eliot takes us on a biography of many of her characters, and we learn of their deep passions for success in their life long endeavors. Yet, for most of her characters there will be no success and in fact delusion. She does though very precisely explain what societal ill or personal fragility caused these failings in life. Thus, Middlemarch is a great book to do self-analysis thought.
Kate Reading did a magnificent job for 93% of the work. A Great listen, but on the subject of people speaking in anger and her chosen voice for two of the male actors was a disappointment.
Love this book so much. Would definitely recommend and have before.
I re-read this book every few years because my interpretation of it has varied in every stage of my life. A fantastic layered story - highly recommend.
George Eliot creates a whole world that is now completely real to me. I'd like to spend time with these characters again.
Fred Vincy-- reminds me of myself. Also Lydgate because he is complex. And of course Dorothea-- even though she is so good all the time I am able to appreciate her for it.
The writing! Her sentences are crafted! Brilliantly crafted!! and hearing them was the only way to truly digest the richness.
The craftsmanship of the story that capture the cultures, classes and overlapping dynamics.
Tough question. Too many. Probably the death of the uncle, as he was asking Mary to get the wills. But also when Dorothea walks in on Latislaw and Rosamund. But also the scene where Dorothea then comes to see Rosamund.
no, wanted to, and did, savour it over and over again.
I've listened to Kate Reading before and very much liked her readings, but this one didn't work for me. Juliet Stevenson's version is much better.
I enjoy Scandinavian mystery and crime authors like Asa Larsson, Helene Tursten, Jo Nesbo, Karin Fossum and Amaaldur Indridason just to name a few.
Of course, this is a must. Read this first in a university class Women in Literature. There is everything right about this story.
Either a much shorter book or much more interesting characters. I cheered the ending--because it was the end, not because it had a good ending. The story read like a soap opera without the titillation.
George Eliot (the author)
I very rarely fail to finish a book, but this one came really close to reaching that level. I wished I had stopped after part 1, but I had heard how great the book was and figured it was just a slow starter. By the final part all hope of greatness was over, but finishing it was like completing a race--in mud.
In the opening pages Elliott presents the notion of an unknown saint, then proceeds to flesh this character out in the exquisite detail of an entire world. In result both the human complexity and secret logic of such divinity is revealed. It's a breathtaking lesson in the possibility of soul. The narrator couldn't have helped more. Wow.
I bought this because I thought it seemed a good value for the money. Not only is the subject matter a snooze, the author is dry and droll. I am using it to put myself to sleep at night.
The first half of this book is a 5 star wonder. Deep psychology, interesting, breezes along, seemingly original characters. The trouble is, that for some reason, the book breaks down. The most interesting characters are sterilized and sent off to foreign countries and you are left with gossipy judgemental old women and horrible tedious scenes which go nowhere, and were obvious from the first time two characters met. I mean, you know how it will all play out, and still, there is excruciating detail to get you there. This starts out as a book written for adults, and winds down into one written for teenagers in a religious education class, about on the level of a brochure telling young people why they will go blind if they masturbate. I just kept fast forwarding and wondering what happened? You would not guess the book to have all been written by the same author.