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Middlemarch Audiobook

Middlemarch

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Publisher's Summary

Dorothea Brooke is an ardent idealist who represses her vivacity and intelligence for the cold, theological pedant Casaubon. One man understands her true nature: the artist Will Ladislaw. But how can love triumph against her sense of duty and Casaubon’s mean spirit? Meanwhile, in the little world of Middlemarch, the broader world is mirrored: the world of politics, social change, and reforms, as well as betrayal, greed, blackmail, ambition, and disappointment.

Dorothea Brooke is an outstanding heroine; Middlemarch is filled with characters that are vivid and true, comic and moving. It is one of the greatest novels in the English language.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

Public Domain (P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (1984 )
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4.7 (1790 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Christina Marietta, GA, United States 11-20-11
    Christina Marietta, GA, United States 11-20-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Juliet Stevenson is a genius"

    Ordinarily, I would begin a review with an evaluation of the actual book rather than the narrator but in this case, Stevenson was SUCH a standout that I had to begin with her. To say that she inhabits each character fully is to sell her performance short. I remember Stevenson from the movie version of Emma in which she plays Mrs. Elton so wonderfully snarky and politely arrogant. But this narration shows her talents to a greater degree. Not only does each character have a different sounding voice, but one can practically hear their thoughts as Stevenson brings them to life.

    What is so perfect about this amazing performance is that it makes a somewhat challenging novel much easier to manage. There are so many characters and so many story lines that Eliot brings together so beautifully (eventually) that a reader can easily lose track. Several of the characters are not easy to like, a few are like-able at first and then become less so, some are not like-able at first and grow on you. It is a lot to keep up with. But the story is well worth the investment. Eliot is wise and funny. Her take on the relationships between men and women is insightful. Well-deserving of its status as one of the greatest books ever written.

    I gave the story only 4 stars because there isn't much that actually "happens." It is not an exciting story. The story is really in the every day happenings of the characters. That is where the true genius lies.

    27 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Molly-o Seattle 12-25-11
    Molly-o Seattle 12-25-11 Member Since 2007

    English major. Love to read

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best Audible book ever"

    I have been an audible listener for close to five years now and this is the best book I have ever listened to. I hated this book in college and,if it hadn't been for a friend who suggested I try it again,I would have continued to hate it. I now say pish on my earlier self, this is a fantastic story and George Eliot is an insightful woman whose perspective on life is timeless. But the very best part of this listen is Juliet Stevenson. Oh my, what a narrator: I may be forever spoiled by her mastery. My favorite characterizations were the stuffy Englishmen whose voices were so perfectly captured that I was in awe each time I heard them. This is a must read.

    127 of 131 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonelle Camp Hill, PA, United States 08-18-11
    Jonelle Camp Hill, PA, United States 08-18-11 Member Since 2008

    A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved Middlemarch and Juliet Stevenson!"

    This book has been on my to-read list for years. This year, I read a a very positive review of Juliet Stevenson's narration in Booklist and decided that the time was right...and I loved it!

    Without a doubt, she is one of the best narrators I have ever listened to - ranking up there with Jim Dale, George Guidall and Scott Brick.

    Plus, Middlemarch, which had been highly recommended to me by friends who knew I was a fan of Jane Austen, was wonderful. It's a big, big novel, but it really is a timeless classic, full of observations about people that still ring true today.

    Give it a go...you won't regret it.

    84 of 87 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M Kaner Minneapolis, Minnesota 06-20-11
    M Kaner Minneapolis, Minnesota 06-20-11 Listener Since 2009

    Bread Baking Enthusiast

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I will listen to anything Juliet Stevenson reads"

    I have purchased Middlemarch read by a different narrator before and simply could not listen to it. It was boring, and very long.
    Well, when I have learned that Juliet Stevenson has produced this book, I have purchased it right away and was not sorry. Amazing skill of the narrator brought all the characters alive and made this 19th century piece of literature very relevant in our modern life. George Elliot was one sharp woman and knew how to develop her characters. Brilliant!

    98 of 103 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny 08-27-12
    Jenny 08-27-12
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    "Kick-ass 19th century love story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Indeed I would. It's entertaining, it's funny, it's engaging, and informative. There is a reason that this is the classic of classics. It kept me in a daze for a week, couldn't go anywhere without it!


    What other book might you compare Middlemarch to and why?

    Everything by Jane Austen and the Brontës of course, the dry humor is akin to that in E.M.Forster's works, and it also reminds me of the drama of Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg. But this is not only great literature - it's incredibly funny too.


    What about Juliet Stevenson’s performance did you like?

    Juliet Stevenson is just perfect. All the sociolects and dialects of the characters, the understated humour and the hyperboles fit perfectly into her way of performing this story. Brilliant.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    All the hilarious dialogues between members of the rural community speculating on this and that, one character sillier than the next, and Juliet Stevenson's fantastic dialect interpretations of the Middlemarchers.


    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 01-24-12
    Jane 01-24-12
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    "Perfect in every way"

    This is a remarkable book.

    Listening to it being read -- so very beautifully by Stevenson -- allows the listener to absorb the many dimensions of this classic. There is the subtle humor and the witty and insightful political and social commentary. Then there are the calls for the liberation of women, not only on a social level, but urging women to recognise their own position in the society of the 1830s and respond even if it only within the confines of their family.

    The main heroine, Dorothea, is remarkably portrayed: she could be a woman of 2012: she is ruled by a confused idealism, wanting to contribute positively to an unequal and unfair society and work towards higher philosophical understanding of the nature of existence. At the same time, she has tragically unrealistic expectations of a marriage where she believes she can help achieve her partner's fulfillment rather than her own. The male characters range from self absorption and selfishness, directionless laziness, caring partners: again these men are recognisable today. There is so very much in here.

    But to return to the reader, Juliet Stevenson. She has a wonderful voice, her acting out of characters is superb -- and most of all, she shares her understanding of what Eliot was endeavoring to convey in this apparently ordinary story about ordinary people in an ordinary little town in England.

    41 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matilda 01-18-12
    Matilda 01-18-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Juliet Sevenson brings it alive"

    I tried to read Middlemarch in highschool and again in university but could never sink in. What was missing for me was Juliet Stevenson's narration. Her skill makes this masterful story much more accessible and a pleasure to experience. Eliot's wit sparkles through in this performance.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Modesto, California, United States 07-01-12
    Daniel Modesto, California, United States 07-01-12
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    "Juliet Stevenson -- not perfect -- but CLOSE"
    Where does Middlemarch rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best audiobooks I've listened to.


    Have you listened to any of Juliet Stevenson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Juliet Stevenson is always fantastic. This might be my favorite of her narrations, though.


    Who was the most memorable character of Middlemarch and why?

    Rosamond. Stevenson (and Eliot) depicts her in her complexity brilliantly.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're considering M-march as an audiobook, ignore reviewers recommending other narrators (a few of which I've listened to as well), GET JULIET STEVENSON.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 01-24-12
    Jane 01-24-12

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    231
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    "Perfect in every way"

    This is a remarkable book.

    Listening to it being read -- so very beautifully by Stevenson -- allows the listener to absorb the many dimensions of this classic. There is the subtle humor and the witty and insightful political and social commentary. Then there are the calls for the liberation of women, not only on a social level, but urging women to recognise their own position in the society of the 1830s and respond even if it only within the confines of their family.

    The main heroine, Dorothea, is remarkably portrayed: she could be a woman of 2012: she is ruled by a confused idealism, wanting to contribute positively to an unequal and unfair society and work towards higher philosophical understanding of the nature of existence. At the same time, she has tragically unrealistic expectations of a marriage where she believes she can help achieve her partner's fulfillment rather than her own. The male characters range from self absorption and selfishness, directionless laziness, caring partners: again these men are recognisable today. There is so very much in here.

    But to return to the reader, Juliet Stevenson. She has a wonderful voice, her acting out of characters is superb -- and most of all, she shares her understanding of what Eliot was endeavoring to convey in this apparently ordinary story about ordinary people in an ordinary little town in England.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela 05-25-13
    Pamela 05-25-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Still relevant in so many ways."

    Sometimes a book can have a stronger impact on a reader because of where that reader happens to be in their life at the time that they read it. Had I read 'Middlemarch' when I was younger, I don't think I would have been as moved. I love a writer who creates complex characters who are forced to choose between following their own innate sense of right and wrong or live their lives bound by the demands of societal/religious dogma. The fact that Ms. Evans had to write under the pen name George Eliot because she was considered "too intellectual" speaks volumes.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
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  • F. Wynn
    6/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Middlemarch Revisited"

    I read this marvellous book many years ago . It is as many have observed , the greatest novel in English literature.
    This rendition by Juliet Stephenson was perfect. It brought the characters to life. Her voice is wonderful. I enjoyed the experience thoroughly. A poor narrator can ruin a masterpiece, a good one enhance it. Well done Juliet Stephenson.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hannah
    6/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A classic superbly narrated"
    If you could sum up Middlemarch in three words, what would they be?

    Long. Intricate. Absorbing.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mary Garth - for her determination and belief in herself.


    Which character – as performed by Juliet Stevenson – was your favourite?

    Juliet performed all of the characters fantastically well. There are so many, and yet she managed to give them all their unique voice and way of speaking. Excellent job.


    Any additional comments?

    I would never have had time to sit down and read Middlemarch, but listening to it means I managed to absorb this classic, important novel in about a month. With the superb narration, I think I enjoyed it more than I would have done reading it myself. Highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Christine
    Chelmsford, United Kingdom
    5/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A tour de force on both writing and narration"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a very long book and thus a very long listen so excellent value for Audible subscribers. A wealth of characters, some likeable, some not but you will be keen to learn the fates of all. Securing Juliet Stevenson as the narrator was a masterstroke. Her deep voice and talent for accents and dialect (as well as other languages for some chapter introductions) made her depiction of both female and male characters entirely plausible. I have read this book many times and studied it at both school and university but I never grow tired of it. The television adaptation some years ago starring Juliet Aubrey at Dorothea Brooke was outstanding but this is even better as one can enjoy the entire unabridged story and revel in the beauty and complexity of the writing as the intertwined lives of the characters unfold.


    What other book might you compare Middlemarch to, and why?

    The language is very much in the same vein as Jane Austen and deals to a certain extent with the same concerns of the day, the prospects for both men and women in different classes of society. In Dorothea Brooke we have a similar character to that of Elizabeth Bennet. Intelligent, independent women with a conscience who still have to live within the constraints of 19th century society and make respectable marriages.


    Which character – as performed by Juliet Stevenson – was your favourite?

    Dorothea Brooke


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Helen Taylor
    Suffolk
    4/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rich and brilliantly sculpted"

    I never expected to enjoy an author as much as Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope so had a wonderful surprise in this fabulous novel. The observations of character, the twists of the storyline, the suspense that goes on and on as you feel sure your favourite people are going to cave in to petty family or public opinion against them....all very good. Add to that Juliet Stevenson's excellent narration and you have 95 hours or so of pure delight.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Very Berry
    UK
    3/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the best novels I have ever read"

    After hearing Zoe Heller praising Middlemarch at the Hay Festival several years ago, I'm sorry that it took me so long to read (or rather, listen to) this wonderful novel. All human life is here, and her observations on vanity, idealism, avarice, loss and so much more are as just as relevant today as they were then.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • dreamer36
    2/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Worth the slog!"

    A book I've tried to read and failed on many occasions. Even on Audible it was had going at times, but I can see exactly what people say it's of such literary significance. Beautifully detailed characters. Occasionally the reading just by one person and involving so many make characters made the attempts at their voices (by a female speaker) rather hard to follow by it was a Herculean effort by Juliet Stevenson

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Barbara
    Hermitage, United Kingdom
    5/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gripping stuff"
    Where does Middlemarch rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is read so well by Juliet that even the ancient language becomes accessible. There are real insights in the text into personality that ring true with current thinking on psychology, and social comments that are bang up to date. And on top of that the story is gripping.


    What other book might you compare Middlemarch to, and why?

    I think that if you like Jane Austin you will probably like this


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I found it hard to turn off and found myself looking forward picking up the story again


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lauenna
    Somerset
    4/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really, very good."
    Any additional comments?

    I expected this to be a bit of a drag and felt it was something I "should" read. So I was surprised to find myself chuckling at the witty, sparkling, beautiful writing. It soon became clear why it was such a classic. The performance was fantastic. Juliet Stevenson just got every nuance and made it so accessible, I am sure that it was thanks to her performance that I found it so amusing and enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alison Hall
    4/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow drama"
    What made the experience of listening to Middlemarch the most enjoyable?

    Wonderful characters live and love through a few years in the life of rural Middlemarch in the 1830s England. This is an effortlessly drawn landscape written by an accomplished story teller, brought to life so vividly by a talented actress. This is hours of gentle listening. I loved it.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The passionate and deep Dorothea, who would have had such different life in our own times.


    What about Juliet Stevenson’s performance did you like?

    Her mastery of each character's voice makes the performance 3 dimensional


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Dorothea realizes her husband does not appreciate her


    Any additional comments?

    A drama of the times in 1830 but all the characters we can easily identify with. A human story at its best.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Beckenham, United Kingdom
    3/24/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Utterly brilliant!"
    If you could sum up Middlemarch in three words, what would they be?

    Life enriching, brilliant


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters became best friends. I felt I knew them intimately.


    What does Juliet Stevenson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Middlemarch is always on my 'must read' list. I've started it and got nowhere. Thanks to Juliet Stevenson and a few long car/train journeys and I was through it all too quickly. Juliet Stevenson was compelling listening. I'm sure George Eliot would have been delighted with how Juliet Stevenson portrayed her characters.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. Better to savour it all over a few weeks bit by bit.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm early in my audio books career - this has given me so much pleasure, I'm now hungry for more.....particularly read by Juliet Stevenson!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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