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Middlemarch | [George Eliot]

Middlemarch

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.
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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

4.3 (835 )
5 star
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3 star
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4.4 (715 )
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Story
4.6 (725 )
5 star
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4 star
 (114)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (15)
Performance
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  •  
    M Kaner Minneapolis, Minnesota 06-20-11
    M Kaner Minneapolis, Minnesota 06-20-11 Member Since 2014

    Bread Baking Enthusiast

    HELPFUL VOTES
    97
    ratings
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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!

    68 of 71 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
    402
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    90
    72
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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.

    62 of 65 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
    95
    ratings
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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.

    45 of 47 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 01-24-12
    Jane 01-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    5
    1
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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.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matilda 01-18-12
    Matilda 01-18-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah 08-10-11
    Deborah 08-10-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    2
    2
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    "Stevenson brings Middlemarch to life"

    I loved this novel and felt as though I knew every character from the nuanced reading of Juliet Stevenson. I would gladly listen to any book she reads and hope that "Daniel Deronda" will be among her next projects.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Modesto, California, United States 07-01-12
    Daniel Modesto, California, United States 07-01-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina Marietta, GA, United States 11-20-11
    Christina Marietta, GA, United States 11-20-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny 08-27-12
    Jenny 08-27-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    7
    3
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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.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 01-24-12
    Jane 01-24-12

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    182
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    269
    87
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    34
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 81 results PREVIOUS129NEXT
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  • Caro
    Cornwall
    4/27/11
    Overall
    "All consuming"

    Great audio book. It has totally disrupted my life over the last days because I've stayed awake to listen, not been able to work because I couldn't stop listening and thinking about it whilst not listening. Really brilliant reading and I will be totally bereft when it finishes in about an hours' time. Best audio book I've had for ages.

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Heidi
    Sutton, United Kingdom
    6/11/11
    Overall
    "A great book enhanced by a brilliant narrator"

    I first read Middlemarch many years ago and much enjoyed it. Browsing through the audible website recently I came across this version read by Juliet Stevenson and downloaded it on impulse. Since listening to it, I have been recommending it to anyone who will listen. Juliet Stevenson is a wonderful storyteller - she captures the mood of the book and the personalities of the characters. The combination of a good narrator and good book is irresistible - I resented every interruption!

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • N. Bowring
    Sussex
    7/23/11
    Overall
    "Highly recommended"

    If Oscars were awarded for audio-book narrations, Juliet Stephenson would surely be in the front line to win several for her multiple performances in Middlemarch. This inordinately long book is made to feel considerably shorter by her fine portrayals, giving each separate character his or her own distinctive voice.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • R
    Exmouth, United Kingdom
    7/30/11
    Overall
    "beautifully descriptive"

    I bought this audio book for something different to listen to and thought that listening to a classic may educate me into a different type of listening.
    the book is beautifully descriptive which to start off with i found hard going as I wasn't used to this way of writing. However after a number of times wondering whether to give up or not I was glad i didnt as it was wonderful and found i was listening to it for hours in the middle of the night captured by the various characters who i felt i had begun to know and be part of their lives.
    well worth pursuing

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • geoff60017
    7/28/11
    Overall
    "Quite outstanding"

    If you could take only one audiobook to a desert island, this would have to be it! I have long been a fan of both George Eliot's work and of Juliet Stevenson's narration, but this surpassed all expectations. A well-crafted story brilliantly characterised.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Caryl
    Port Louis, Mauritius
    10/6/11
    Overall
    "Perfect"

    I have read the novel at least 5 times over the years but hearing the words read in Juliet Stevensons beautiful and flexible voice has added a unique new pleasure to the enjoyment of this great story. I found it perfect!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • jill
    London, United Kingdom
    1/26/12
    Overall
    "Juliet Stevenson's astounding tour de force"

    The book is excellent, of course, but Juliet Stevenson's narration is an astounding tour de force. Characters are many, demanding all tones and dynamics - from those of deep-voiced or husky males to silvery, pacific or spiritually conscious females. All are convincingly manifested. Overlaying their natural timbres, the acquired tones of experience convey characters as middle-aged & deeply earthed, shallow, criminal, loving, hating, Oxbridge intellectual & innocent, enthusiastic, bumpkin, familial, old & wavery, drunk, idealistically or dully clerical, brilliantly or spitefully medical and otherwise totally various. Every character is believable and immediately recognisable throughout the entire performance of this very long book.
    I feel obliged (if unwilling) to mention that I found most of the introductory quotations to each chapter, in various languages, long and (even when in English) incomprehensible. Such quotations were, I assume, written for the reader to slowly cogitate over, whilst looking to the drama ahead and waiting for their undoubted relevance to be revealed. Not only did I find the quotations extremely irritating, but I was really sad to find Ms Stevenson's rendering of those in Italian, French and German equally so. Even so I choose not to remove any of my 5 stars, which are, in my demanding estimation, totally deserved.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Deborah
    London, United Kingdom
    11/7/11
    Overall
    "A triumph!"

    I knew this book to be excellent but I was not prepared for such a feat of narration. Juliet Stevenson is outstanding! She creates a million different voices so that each character is instantly recognizable, and just seems to add to Eliot's depth of meaning. Every day I long to put my earphones in and just immerse myself in the story. Unmissable!!

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Angela Emerton
    12/18/11
    Overall
    "Middlemarch"

    One of the best written books, ever. I have read the book many times over the years, watched the BBC drama numerous times, and now I have enjoyed listening to it. A wonderful piece of English literature, superbly narrated by Juliet Stevenson.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • George
    Los Angeles
    5/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great experience"

    What a privilege it was to listen to this wonderful book. Juliet Stevenson puts in a really great performance and brings the characters, the subtle differences in status and character, to life and this makes such a huge difference to the enjoyment of the book. Couldnt recommend it more highly.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 65 results PREVIOUS127NEXT

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