Middlemarch by George Eliot

Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial LifeMiddlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life by George Eliot

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was highly recommended by everybody, including Rose, so it went on my 2013 Goals Reading List.

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?

This is a gentle tale of many courtships and marriages, of the relationships in community (as we can tell from the subtitle “A Study of Provincial Life”), and above all of how our actions affect others.

People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might show on behalf of their nearest neighbors.

At about page 600 the story threads suddenly intertwined at a highly accelerated pace and I was fraught with anxiety for Mr. Bulstrode, then for Dr. Lydgate, and at last realized how much Dorothea’s suffering had matured her. It made for a highly satisfying ending which was capped by Eliot’s final summing up of everyone’s lives.

People are almost always better than their neighbors think they are.

Throughout Eliot, as omniscient narrator, drops gentle observation appropriate to the story which are also appropriate to our lives in general.

Blameless people are always the most exasperating.

I cannot possibly share enough of them, or the plot in general, to do this book justice. I see that I also have forgotten until now to mention the humor running throughout the book. Perhaps that is what captured me first of all. George Eliot has a fine sense of irony and an even finer way of bringing it to our attention. You must simply try it for yourself.

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