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.
Public Domain (P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks
Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.
This book is a difficult one made much easier by the execellentnarration of Juliet Stevenson who makes Dorothea Brooke a pleasure, THe somber nature of the story merits a serious narrator who nonetheless can bring out the beauty of the text and the charm of the characters. Very enjoyable classic mid-19th century novel.
Yes--but only to those who find 19th century England a great place to visit. The characters are engaging and the narration is superb. As far as England stories set in the 1800's it is more serious than Dickens (less sarcasm) and the characters are as interesting but less annoying than in Trollope.
I recently read "Can You Forgive Her?" by Trollope so I can't help but compare since they both covered young women/men in the 19th century, touching on class differences and politics. I did enjoy Trollope but I found the characters less annoying and the narration even better. And the plot was more interesting. How can you not love lines like "He was as genuine in character as any ruminant animal." ?!
The best of the narrators I've come across in my 2 years with Audible. Ms Stevenson creates a unique voice for every character and you can even tell who's talking in rapid pub conversations (an Eliot favorite).
The whole Garth family because they are fun, honest, and loving. Or maybe Dr Lydgate because the poor, noble man needs a break from his wretched wife. Though if I had him out for dinner I'd try to steal him away from her.
George Eliot's story of human frailties still captivates after well over a century. Juliet Stevenson brought Middlemarch to life consistently. Her crisp enunciation and brilliant characterisation made listening to this other world a wonderful experience.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
True love hurts.
Dorothea Brooke Casaubon. She really grows on you. When the story begins you think "what a little nun" but after all she goes through you really want her life to turn out well. She chooses an older religious man because she wants to help him with his work. However, Mr. Casaubon is so selfish and unworthy of her love that he twists everything she does into something false and shameful. It's very painful to listen to.
As the story goes on Dorothea changes into a strong and vibrant woman that everyone respects. A true heroine!
I think my favorite scene was when Dorothea goes to talk to Rosamund Lydgate again and explain to her how much faith she has in her husband's skills as a doctor. Rosamund, unfortunately is so selfish and silly that poor Dr. Lydgate has to give up his dream of scientific discovery in order to make money so his vain wife will be happy. But the scene with Dorothea was wonderful.
So many characters in this book were so filled out. My favorite couple in the book was Mary Garth and Fred Vincy. I am so happy they end up together.
This is one my favorite books now! I have never read any George Eliot before, but I will be sure to read more now! Highly recommended!
Eliot's brilliant character insights weave an enthralling tale.
Fred was my favorite character. His obvious flaws made him vulnerable to oblivion,but his capacity for love of Mary and his sense of honor lead him to a fitting end. Then again Featherstone, too, was a man of great depth and kindness. His flaws were also apparent but never as a foil to his genuine virtue. Eliot's characters ring true - to the core.
The conversation between Featherstone and Fred concerning Fred's return to the scene of his previous downfall was my favorite scene. In it my two favorite characters revealed their true essence to one another and to us.
The narration, too, is beautifully done. I'm listening for the second time!
Beautiful, rich prose. Shows off the English culture, customs of the era and provincial life in depth. However, as my conscious mind does appreciate George Eliot's work and the contribution to the English literature, the work itself did not evoke feelings in me (its characters or plot did not impress on my soul).
The novel missed something... A certain passion, something that connected you to the characters. I almost disliked Dorothea and her beloved. There was not enough fire in them. And they were both so stuck in their own political, social, matrimonial ideologies that it took away from me, as a reader, the pleasure of connecting and experiencing their love alongside them. The same goes for Fred and Mary.
I'm glad I got to read a George Eliot work but I don't think I'll be re-reading this work or any other work by her.
This books is a little slow to start but a few hours in I was captivated. I can't imagine it reading it in print without the excellent narration to bring the voices to life!
Juliet Stevenson's reading of this classic novel of Romance, Historical Change, and the Passions of young pursuits created all the nuance that each of the memorable characters deserved. I fell in love once again with Fred and Mary, Dodo and Will Ladislaw and the wonderful Mr. Garth. This is one of the best audio books I have ever enjoyed.
the combination of intellectual finesse and full-bodied characters gives this novel an exceptional quality of enjoyment. the reader is well-spoken and creative in her enactments. a pleasure from start to finish.
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.
"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!
"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.
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
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.
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.
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!!
"Best Victorian Novel."
The writing was beautiful and the narration was wonderful. What kept me most enthralled though was the ability of the author to deal with the essential human condition in its many diverse manifestations in a way that transcended the time in which it was written.
The novel was realistic and honest and not just 'happy ever after'. I loved Eliot's philosophical reflections on what was happening in the text.
Stevenson's range of voices was excellent.
'There are so many way to be in the world - dare to be different'.
Highly recommended. I downloaded a character chart of the relationships which was very useful to keep track of who's who.
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.
"Juliet Stevenson is extraordinary"
I've known and loved the book for years, so no surprises there. But the narration by Juliet Stevenson is just amazing - the range of accents, the different voices for various characters and her beautifully modulated delivery of the narrative blew me away. What an exceptional talent. I sometimes wonder what actors are paid so much for: now I know.
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