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Middlemarch | [George Eliot]

Middlemarch

Middlemarch is a recognized masterpiece that explores the complex social world of 19th century England. It is concerned with the lives of several ordinary people, albeit ones with high social standing. The novel explores the very fabric of Victorian society in the 1800s, showing how various human passions, heroism, egotism, love, and lust, interrelate within this society.
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Publisher's Summary

Middlemarch is a recognized masterpiece that explores the complex social world of 19th century England. It is concerned with the lives of several ordinary people, albeit ones with high social standing. The novel explores the very fabric of Victorian society in the 1800s, showing how various human passions, heroism, egotism, love, and lust, interrelate within this society.

The novel is set in the small town of Middlemarch and follows the inter-related lives of several characters. At the heart of the book is Dorothea, a kind-hearted and honest woman, who longs to find some way to improve the world. She marries an older academic, Casaubon, against the advice of her friends and family. Casaubon tries to assert his influence over Dorothea, but she refuses to succumb to Casaubon's will. Casaubon soon dies of a heart attack, and Dorothea marries his cousin, Will. But, in a last attempt to control Dorothea's life, Casaubon's will states that if Dorothea marries Will, she will lose her claim to Casaubon's estate.

Other unforgettable characters in Middlemarch include the young doctor, Lydgate, who come to the town to start his own practice. He soon falls in love with Rosamund, a woman who has spent her life in Middlemarch, and they eventually marry. Fred Vincey, used to a lavish lifestyle but also a gambler, falls into debt as he waits to inherit money from a rich neighbor. He drifts toward the clergy, and longs to marry Mary Garth. But until he proves himself worthy, Mary will have nothing to do with him.

(P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (531 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Robin in Vermont Vermont 05-01-13
    Robin in Vermont Vermont 05-01-13 Member Since 2009

    Books are better than TV -- Except for Outlander. That rocks!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lovely rendering of a classic"

    As a proud anglophile, I love PBS and BBC -- so when there isn't anything on TV that feeds this need of mine, I start to search the classics.

    Not counting Silas Marner, (which I read in middle school), this was my first George Eliot novel. It is a fascinating glimpse into rural village life in Victorian England, and as performed by Kate Reading, it is a treasure. All the characters are so well written that I had no difficulty seeing them in my minds eye. It's become a once a year re-read.

    BTW, the last time this book got the mini series treatment was 1994. Hey BBC, it's time for an update!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Boise, ID, United States 02-20-13
    Susan Boise, ID, United States 02-20-13 Member Since 2007

    I enjoy Scandinavian mystery and crime authors like Asa Larsson, Helene Tursten, Jo Nesbo, Karin Fossum and Amaaldur Indridason just to name a few.

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    "Masterpiece"

    Of course, this is a must. Read this first in a university class Women in Literature. There is everything right about this story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 07-24-12
    Michael 07-24-12 Member Since 2008
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    "a classic disappointment"
    What would have made Middlemarch better?

    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.


    Has Middlemarch turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Absolutely.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Kate Reading’s performances?

    Perhaps.


    What character would you cut from Middlemarch?

    George Eliot (the author)


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry Great Falls, VA, USA 08-28-08
    Jerry Great Falls, VA, USA 08-28-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Unknown Saint"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen White Plains, NY, United States 01-20-11
    Karen White Plains, NY, United States 01-20-11
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    "Ugh!"

    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.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    andrew Bountiful, UT, United States 02-15-11
    andrew Bountiful, UT, United States 02-15-11
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    "Falls Apart Fast"

    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.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy 02-02-10
    Wendy 02-02-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Drivel"

    I fail to see how this book got such rave reviews. I cannot get into it, though I have tried. It is hopeless drivel. I love this narrator but sorry she wasted her breathe on this one. If I could give it a zero rating I would.

    1 of 12 people found this review helpful
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