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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

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4.3 (591 )
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Performance
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  •  
    M Kaner Minneapolis, Minnesota 06-20-11
    M Kaner Minneapolis, Minnesota 06-20-11 Member Since 2009

    Bread Baking Enthusiast

    HELPFUL VOTES
    81
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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!

    53 of 53 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
    334
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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.

    41 of 41 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.

    33 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 01-24-12
    Jane 01-24-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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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.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah 08-10-11
    Deborah 08-10-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Stern Cleveland, OH 03-21-12
    E. Stern Cleveland, OH 03-21-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best Ever, and I mean EVER"
    If you could sum up Middlemarch in three words, what would they be?

    Exquisite x 3


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story is wonderful, multi-layered, intriguing. But what's best is the writing and the observations on human nature and instinct. Completely on-target, relevant in today's world, profoundly insightful and sophisticated. I wanted to quote this book all the time.


    Which character ??? as performed by Juliet Stevenson ??? was your favorite?

    I'd have to say Mr. Brooks and Rosamund were brilliantly captured as comic roles.


    Who was the most memorable character of Middlemarch and why?

    Of course, the hero, Dorothea. A thoroughly modern woman; intellectually and emotionally open and generous.


    Any additional comments?

    I resisted reading this all my life because it

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Seattle, WA, United States 07-01-12
    Diane Seattle, WA, United States 07-01-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
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    "19th century masterpiece read by a superb actress"

    I read Middlemarch for the first time twenty-five years ago. I remember the first 100 pages were a bit of a slog, but after that I was hooked. Since then I have read it again twice and listened to it twice. Juliet Stevenson is the only reader I have ever heard whose performance adds, rather than takes away from, the profound insights expressed by the omnipotent narrator into the minds of her characters and the vivid portrayal of time and place, (1830's England). To quote Virginia Woolf, Middlemarch is "the magnificent book that, with all its imperfections, is one of the few English novels written for grown-up people."

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 01-24-12
    Jane 01-24-12

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    171
    ratings
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    250
    82
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    FOLLOWING
    33
    1
    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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matilda 01-18-12
    Matilda 01-18-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Johannesburg, South Africa 11-14-11
    Lisa Johannesburg, South Africa 11-14-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "George and Juliet - the magic of Middlemarch"

    My first exposure to Middlemarch was as a teenager when my older brother read it to me. He was studying it at University and I was still in school. I loved it and the book became one of my favourite books after Pride and Prejudice.

    Then I watched the BBC serialisation of Middlemarch when I was a bit older and it meant more to me and I loved that too.

    But the Juliet Stevenson version is quite simply the one that was meant by George Eliot. It is masterpiece. I will treasure it for ever. The fact that one single human being can interpret the nuances of tone and texture of so many personas is remarkable. I am not sure who is the more remarkable artist; George Eliot or Juliet Stevenson. I fell in love with Juliet Stevenson when I happened upon a small English movie called something like deeply madly and I knew she was a star.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 57 results PREVIOUS126NEXT
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  • JMH13
    7/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The best"
    Where does Middlemarch rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The best audiobook I've listened too. By far. Beautiful reading of a fabulous novel.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Middlemarch?

    The downfall of Bulstrode and with him, Dr Lydgate


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

    I'd buy audiobooks just because Juliet Stephenson was a narrator. 84 Charing Cross Road being one example. But this was an outstanding reading of what can be dense text.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A very special story of a very ordinary town


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alison
    7/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Classic soap opera"
    What would have made Middlemarch better?

    For the women characters to be stronger and more assertive. Dorothea was clearly an intelligent woman but she just gave in all the time to the men around her. I liked Mary much better. She knew what she wanted, said so and in the end got her way.


    What will your next listen be?

    Return of the Native b Thomas Hardy


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

    Juliet Stevenson gave all the characters individuality and she was my favourite thing about this book. The bumbling, stuttering uncle was the best.


    Any additional comments?

    A host of characters all with different stories, which to me appeared to be like a period soap opera.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blueguitar
    London
    5/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Juliet Stevenson makes the reading magnificent."
    Would you listen to Middlemarch again? Why?

    Not again - this is probably a once in a lifetime listen, but not to be missed.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The slow progression, as the characters in Middlemarch are introduced, developed, and inter-act.


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

    no.


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

    At over 30 hours, I think not.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    BATHGATE, United Kingdom
    5/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hard going."

    I found this heavy going...I usually finish my audiobooks really quickly, too quickly, but I had to almost force myself to keep going back to this. I think I may enjoy it more on a second listening though, now that I know the characters...
    The narration is great and I did enjoy the last third of the book once I'd finally begun to care and be interested in the various storylines.
    All in all I'm glad I stuck with it and I'll be trying it again at some point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Suzanna
    5/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A unique cultural delight- unforgettable"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is the most beautifully written and fantastically narrated work which stays with you forever. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Listening to Middlemarch has been a cultural highlight , a feast of superb writing. The most enriching 15 hours of my life, the minute it was over, I wanted to begin all over again. A MUST read/ listen, I now understand why it is the book of choice for so many.


    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
  • sora
    UK
    3/23/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superb"
    Any additional comments?

    Just a fantastic reading. Juliet Stevenson knows how to make all the characters come alive and manages the pace brilliantly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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