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
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!
As of the writing of this review, I did not finish the entire novel, only the first download section.
Stevenson's narration was very good. She gave each character it's own voice and was able to convey some of the subtle humor.
What irked me the most about Middlemarch is that it is not a story solely about Dorothea, but rather a series of vignettes that concentrate on different characters that might only have an indirect connection to each other. Just when I was starting to get interested in what the fallout might be from Dorothea's marriage, the focus of the book shifted to new characters and I lost track of things completely. Part of this might because of the audio format, since with a physical book I'd be able to see where things picked up again, and where the new characters came from, but when I got to the end of the first download section and I had to make a decision as to whether to continue or not, I realized that I wasn't getting anything out of it except frustration.
If you like stories where characters talk about this and that with little or no bearing on the plot of the story, and you have an unnatural interest in the philosophies of Victorian England, this is great stuff. Elliot's characters talk about the rights of women, what makes a good marriage, there is even some mention of the science of the time. But if you want a good arc of a character, and you like a little action in your dialogue, this might not be for you.
There are some definite gems here, and I'll probably finish this sometime, because there's likely to be more. One part of the first section goes into the past of a doctor, who fell in love with a murderess. That was interesting, even though it didn't seem to connect with anything else. It was a lot like the story of the pocket watch in Pulp Fiction.
And in fact, putting aside that the conversations go on far too long to be enjoyable in their own right, the novel is a lot like Pulp Fiction, or more accurately like Slackers or Clerks. What you have is various situations set up that seem to exist for the sole purpose of allowing characters of different viewpoints to talk. Unlike those movies though, there isn't a shock to give punctuation to these dialogues, they just fade in and out like lights on a Christmas tree. Since a lot of the topics of conversation revolve around things that are rather antiquated by now, many of those lights of conversation have lost their luster.
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.
I am an avid reader of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. I am constantly searching for well-crafted love stories set in the nineteenth century and written with some level of clever depth. This novel, while not a traditional romance, entwines a number of love stories through an intricate depiction of Middlesex England's country life and includes possibly the most interesting turns of phase and creative writing I have ever encountered. George Elliott is my new favorite.
Middlemarch took some effort for me to be feel fully invested in this story. Ahh, the importance of the narrator...Juliet Stevenson made each character come to life. I was hanging onto each sentence by the middle of the book because of George Eliot's descriptions of each person's mindset AND because Juliet Stevenson made the words entrancing.
A book I always wanted to read but somehow never got round to it is brought to life brilliantly by Juliette Stevenson. Wonderful story of love, society and human behavior. Great characters and truly great narration.
"Wow. Seriously good characters and seriously good."
This was amazing. It took 10 or so hours to really get into it (!), but then the characters came alive as people so real you were in the room with them.
The reader too brings a credibility and texture to the characters that is sympathetic and never scalding.
After taking up over 35 hours of my life I feel at a loss for what can fill the rather large hole left by this magnificent crystallisation of real life.
I had tried to listen to Middlemarch before, but felt it just was slow, and somewhat boring.
This time I really listened, Juliet Stevensons narration was sublime, and made the book captivating, and I was reeled in.
I cried with characters, I hoped with them, despaired with them, could cheerfully have slapped at least one, and laughed with them.
What a journey. It is indeed a masterpiece and unforgettable and well worth listening to.
""Best Novel Of All Time" Lives up to billing"
Notable people have called this the best novel of all time and who am I to disagree. I picked it up because it was one of those books that you "should" read and, inevitably, one of the books that you "should" read turns out to be really fun. The characters, the plot, the humour, the depth of language is just beautiful to be wrapped up for over thirty hours. When it all wraps up you want more, more, more.
I criticised Juliet Stephenson in her reading of "Jane Eyre" (I don't know what makes me think that I should have a pop at one of the best actresses in the country) because although her voice for Jane was totally convincing, all the other characters seemed to meld into one sound. That is not the case here. A whole town of characters with multiple strands and interlocking storylines are all beautifully separated by very specific choices from Stephenson. The listener is completely clear as to who is speaking and why they are saying it. What could have been very confusing on the ear turns into a very easy listen.
Overall, an engrossing novel with a performance that matches the quality of it's pedigree.
Yes, there is so much depth and truth in it that it will be worth a rediscovery in a few years.
Tertius Lydgate because of his idealism and his work for the less well off.
Excellent variety and choice of voices for the characters.
All of life is here.
It takes a while to get into it. I didn't really start to enjoy and appreciate it until the section in Rome, stick with it.
Juliet Stevenson is the master narrator! I've listened to her reading of Middlemarch approximately six times and am about to embark once again!
"Slow & Boring"
I probably should have given it more time but it just dragged & was just too old-fashioned to be of interest.
First I should point out I'm trying to read a list of 100 top books (BBC Big Read) so there are bound to be ones I don't like.
The reader was dull, maybe perfect for those wanting something to nod off too late at night but for me there was little feeling a little zip in his voice. This may be attributed to the fact the story for me contains very little excitement or points of interest. I'm writing this review maybe 8 months after finishing and the fact I can barely remember the storyline or character names probably indicates my lack of enjoyment. I always approach every book with an open mind and have enjoyed many books I didn't think I would including Rebecca, Pillars of the Earth and Dune, books I would not normally pick up. Certainly read other reviews as enough people must enjoy it to vote for it in the top 100, but this was not for me.
This classic story with its brilliant depiction of the inner worlds of its protagonists, sharp satire, and absorbing plot is brought to life convincingly by Juliet Stevenson in this tour de force of the narrator's art.
Fantastically read by Juliet Stevenson, her voice weaves a magic that sustains you through some of the slower parts. Brilliant study of the human character.
"A great story beatufully read"
A wonderful book- my favourite of George Elilot's .
Juliet Stevenson is a perfect narrator, as always, especially for this period of literature .
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