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.
"Juliet Stevenson is a genius"
George Eliot's most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career.
"Read for its humor & glimmers of female rebellion"
For 15 years the weaver Silas Marner has plied his loom near the village of Raveloe, alone and in exile, cut off from faith and human love, while amassing a hoard of golden guineas.
The Mill on the Floss is one of the great works of English literature. It is perhaps the most autobiographical of all Eliot's novels. The relationship between its heroine, Maggie Tulliver, and her brother, Tom, closely resembles that of George Eliot and her own brother, Isaac. The subject of sibling affection was clearly a deeply poignant one for George Eliot - she also wrote a series of beautiful and evocative sonnets entitled 'Brother and Sister'.
"Fiona Shaw makes George Eliot endurable"
Meeting by chance at a gambling hall in Europe, the separate lives of Daniel Deronda and Gwendolen Harleth are immediately intertwined. Daniel, an Englishman of uncertain parentage, becomes Gwendolyn's redeemer as she finds herself drawn to his spiritual and altruistic nature after a loveless marriage. But Daniel's path was already set when he rescued a young Jewess from suicide.
"Give it a try!"
Middlemarch is a recognized masterpiece that explores the complex social world of 19th century England. It is concerned with the lives of several ordinary people, albeit ones with high social standing. The novel explores the very fabric of Victorian society in the 1800s, showing how various human passions, heroism, egotism, love, and lust, interrelate within this society.
"Such books make reading sacred..."
One of the masterpieces of English fiction, Daniel Deronda tells the intertwined stories of two characters as they each come to discover the truth of their natures. Gwendolen Harleth is the beautiful, high-spirited daughter of an impoverished upper-class family. Daniel Deronda, the adopted son of an aristocratic Englishman, is searching for his path in life.
"An intense novel with a few flaws"
Set in Florence in 1492, a time of great political and religious turmoil, Eliot's novel blends vivid fictional characters with historical figures such as Savonarola, Machiavelli, and the Medicis. When Romola, the virtuous daughter of a blind scholar, marries Tito Melema, a charismatic young Greek, she is bound to a man whose escalating betrayals threaten to destroy all that she holds dear.
"Patience with first hour rewarded"
Reputed as Eliot’s favourite novel Silas Marner is set in the early years of the 19th century. Marner, a weaver, is a member of a small congregation in Lantern Yard. Falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he leaves his home and lives a solitary life near the village of Raveloe. Dedicating his life to weaving and hoarding gold for the next 15 years, circumstances beyond his control shape his destiny and when his gold is stolen, he is rescued from despair by the arrival on his lonely hearth of a beautiful little girl, whom he adopts.
"A little child will lead him"
Here is a tale straight from the fireside. We are compelled to follow the humble and mysterious figure of the linen weaver Silas Marner, on his journey from solitude and exile to the warmth and joy of family life. His path is a strange one; when he loses his hoard of hard-earned coins all seems to be lost, but in place of the golden guineas come the golden curls of a child - and from desolate misery comes triumphant joy.
"Terrific narration of a classic novel."
Middlemarch is considered one of the masterpieces of English fiction. Published in 1874, it is the seventh and penultimate novel by George Eliot. It pursues a number of underlying themes, including the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism and self-interest, religion and hypocrisy, political reform, and education.
"I Loved It!"
Maggie Tulliver has two lovers: Philip Wakem, son of her father’s enemy, and Stephen Guest, already promised to her cousin. But the love she wants most in the world is that of her brother Tom. Maggie’s struggle against her passionate and sensual nature leads her to a deeper understanding and to eventual tragedy
"I loved it"
Silas Marner, the namesake of the work, is a humble weaver. He comes to the town of Raveloe, where he continues his trade, yet his story intertwines with that of two brothers, Godfrey and Dunsey, the latter of whom is a conniving trickster. Silas, having little money to begin with, becomes obsessed with counting his small fortune that he keeps hidden in his cottage, and through a series of events involving the two brothers, that money is stolen, devastating Silas.
George Eliot's first full-length novel Adam Bede is a profound rendering of 19th century English pastoral life. This timeless story of seduction and betrayal follows the virtuous carpenter Adam Bede, whose world is soon disrupted when the all-too-beautiful Hetty betrays him for another villager. Her actions precipitate a turmoil of tragic events that shake the very foundations of their serene rural community.
In George Eliot's Middlemarch, the idea of marriage and vocation are explored through a small town's community of ordinary people. One of the main characters, Dorothea Brooke, is a kind and good-hearted woman who gives to the poor and helps to rebuild cottages of poor farmers. However, she is also stubborn and very strong-willed.
Novelists Egan (The Keep), Hustvedt (The Sorrows of an American), and Livesey (The House on Fortune Street) along with actress Hope Davis --the group that entertainingly and illuminatingly explored Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice at this book club--return by popular demand to revisit George Eliot's classic.
Adam Bede (1859), George Eliot's first full-length novel, marked the emergence of an artist to rank with Scott and Dickens. Set in the English Midlands of farmers and village craftsmen at the turn of the 18th century, the book relates a story of seduction issuing in "the inward suffering which is the worst form of Nemesis". But it is also a rich and pioneering record - drawing on intimate knowledge and affectionate memory - of a rural world that we have lost.
Relinquishing thoughts of a materially rewarding life, the respectably educated Felix Holt returns to his native village in North Loamshire and becomes an artisan. He is a forceful young man of honor, integrity, and idealism, burning to participate in political life so that he may improve the lot of his fellow artisans.
"four and a half stars"
First published in 1861 it tells the tale of the lonely weaver Silas Marner who, after suffering betrayal and rejection, leaves his community to become a recluse obsessed only with accumulating money. One day Silas's money is stolen by Dunstan Cass, a dissolute son of Squire Cass, the town's leading landowner. The loss of his gold drives Silas into a deep gloom, until one day a little golden-haired orphan girl wanders into his home to change his life forever.
"If you like classic literature..."
At the center of Middlemarch is Dorothea Brooke, a thoughtful and idealistic young woman determined to make a difference with her life. Enamored of a man who she believes is setting this example, she traps herself into a loveless marriage. Her parallel is Tertius Lydgate, a young doctor from the city whose passionate ambition to spread the new science of medicine is complicated by his love for the wrong woman.
"Human nature revealed in all its complexity"