Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mill on the Floss” as Want to Read:
The Mill on the Floss
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mill on the Floss

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  24,310 ratings  ·  957 reviews
If life had no love in it, what else was there for Maggie?'

Brought up at Dorlcote Mill, Maggie Tulliver worships her brother Tom and is desperate to win the approval of her parents, but her passionate, wayward nature and her fierce intelligence bring her into constant conflict with her family. As she reaches adulthood, the clash between their expectations and her desires i...more
Paperback, 579 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1860)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mill on the Floss, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Mill on the Floss

Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
Best Books of the 19th Century
85th out of 596 books — 3,321 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasLes Misérables by Victor Hugo
Big Fat Books Worth the Effort
141st out of 1,241 books — 5,197 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Christopher H.
Upon completion of the The Mill on the Floss, I realized that I had just finished something monumental—a staggeringly amazing literary achievement. This novel, written by ‘George Eliot’ (Mary Anne, or Marian Evans), and first published by Blackwood and Sons in 1860, could have just as easily been titled, “Pride and Prejudice” had not that title been put to use already. Some twenty-four hours after finishing this book, I am coming to the conclusion that Eliot may, in fact, represent the absolute...more
Mar 04, 2008 Becky rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like long books about people
Recommended to Becky by: read for Victorian novel class
I suspect between this novel and Middlemarch, George Eliot is becoming my favorite nineteenth-century novelist. I wish she were still alive so that I could write her fan letters.

The Mill on the Floss is funny and moving and philosophical. Eliot does so many different things well; she's witty and detached, and then she writes a love scene that makes your knees go wobbly. Middlemarch struck me the same way - it's incredibly romantic, and then it does things with that romance, crazy thematic plot t...more
But until every good man is brave, we must expect to find many good women timid, too timid even to believe in the correctness of their own best promptings when these would place them in a minority. And the men at St. Ogg’s were not all brave by any means; some of them were even fond of scandal, and to an extent that might have given their conversation an effeminate character if it had not been distinguished by masculine jokes and by an occasional shrug of the shoulders at the mutual hatred
Ah, the classic tale of Maggie Tulliver and the four men she loves. How they destroy her, how she destroys them, and how they all end up irredemptively miserable. Or dead. In most cases, both.

So why read it? Because it's beautiful. Because it opens up your heart and mind in powerful ways. Because you will LOVE and truly feel for Maggie. Or just because you want to read one of those stories that makes you think, "See... my life isn't that bad!"

Maggie is amazingly intelligent, but she can't be edu...more
Five thousand stars.

I don't really know what to say. To me, old novels sometimes feel too emotionally remote, usually the fault of the conservative style imposed on them, but this was one of the most emotionally vibrant things I've ever read. Maggie was such a vivid character that every page she's on feels true. And yet, it's such a novel, with themes so richly built. Because of Shannon's numerous discussions of it for many years, I knew most of the ending before starting, but that only made it...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

It took me a while to get into this novel. This was not a surprise. I remember that it took a long time for my eighteen year old self to fall in love with Middlemarch : a study of provincial life, but fall in love with it I did. And so it was with this book. I knew that it was a well-written novel from the first paragraph. But eventually I went from appreciating Eliot’s skill as a writer to adoring what she had written.

Maggie Tulliver is a simply wonderful heroine. Intelligent, passionate, desp...more
While Middlemarch may be grander in scope, a tad more sophisticated in its style and perhaps more global in its outlook (despite the title), Mill on the Floss is a raw, action-packed intellectual and emotional thriller. And I mean thriller not in the creepy sense but in the truly exhilarating one. I refuse to choose between the two because I love them both.

Maggie Tulliver is just about the most exciting fictional character I have ever encountered. Perhaps she taps into a subconscious sexism, wh...more
Eliot is superb as always! I would give this 10 stars if I could. This is Eliot's semi autobiographical novel, and tells the story of Maggie Tulliver and her brother Tom. The story takes place in the village of St. Ogg, and at the Mill on The Floss that's been in the Tulliver family for generations. Other reviewers have told enough of the story (in some instances too much) that I don't see the need to go into it again. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Eliot depicted the sibling relationship between...more
Ben Babcock
It has been over two years since I read Middlemarch , a novel that propelled George Eliot to near the top of my list of favourite authors. With a keen wit and a deft pen, Eliot manages to lie bare the substance of rural English life in a way that allows her to comment on issues that matter to all of us. She captures those intimate but often uncomfortable truths about family ties; about love and courtship and marriage; and, as always in nineteenth-century England, about class and status and money...more
This is the first novel I've read, written by George Eliot and naturally had high expectations of it, and I was certainly not led to be disappointed. It is a poignant tale, encompassing sibling relationship, filial duty and coveted independence of the protagonist against a background of early 19th century England, with its epitomizing focus on social class, rigid morality and clan loyalties. Eliot is the ultimate mistress of characterization, in that she doesn't strive to create 'saints' but cha...more
Wonderful, absolutely wonderful.

The Mill on the Floss is one of the most delightful surprises of 2011. I've literally fallen in love with this novel, no wonder of course; as it's an amazingly insightful read, a classic, and a gift from a dear friend. I started the book with somehow low expectations and finished it full of this exquisite feeling one gets after reading something that matches his taste perfectly, and knowing that he has just read a masterpiece.

The novel introduces the siblings Magg...more
ETA: Eliot can write. She has a great vocabulary, but so does a dictionary.


I finished 3 minutes ago. I will write the review later..... but this is just to explode!!!! The ending sucks. TERRIBLE ending. I think that is one of the worst endings I have ever come across. The ending is unbelievable and soppy. (view spoiler)...more
I really felt for Maggie throughout the book. She was such an intelligent child, reading classics at age 9 that I've yet to read. It's such a shame that she wasn't given an education as she was a woman but Tom (who learned next to nothing at his school- what a waste of money!)was.

I also felt sorry for Maggie because her love for her brother was so deep but unreciprocated. Tom was a jerk, for lack of a better word, and he really knew how to manipulate Maggie and make her feel awful. I thought I'd...more
i've read this book a few times, and have written about it, and still it has more layers of secrets for me every time. it's a book about the struggles of childhood, the struggles of adolescence, the struggles of womanhood---the struggles to define oneself against, as in many victorian novels, the restrictions of cultural mores.

for me, this is a book about the conflicts between internal imagination and external realities. and so as much as it's about victorian realities, i think for everybody, a...more
Sep 29, 2014 Alex rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Mill on the Floss feels to me like two different works stitched together. The first is a full-length sort of pastoral novel about a brother and sister growing up on a mill; the second, picking up around ten years later, is a shorter novella about star-crossed lovers. It doesn't feel very well-planned; two of the main characters in the second bit barely show up in the first. Sure, the first novel develops the main characters, and makes you care about them more as things start to get heavy, but it...more
The Mill and the Floss is grand opera in words. That "sounds" crazy but grand opera is defined by "large-scale casts and orchestras, and (in their original productions) lavish and spectacular design and stage effects, normally with plots based on or around dramatic historic events." The novel begins with an " overture" which sets the time and place in words and the theme of "childhood associations" tying people to earth. The theme is sung throughout , The curtains open to the Delicort Mill and t...more
Huda Aweys
I think that the novel was to monitor a particular historical period .. in terms of the social reality in that period .. I loved Maggie very :)
Wow. George Eliot, you are on the fast track to becoming my hero. What a beautiful, harrowing, moving story. The way you told this story confirmed what I came to believe about you after reading Daniel Deronda and Middlemarch: you had to have been the smartest person alive in your era. Your writing just brims with intellect and good sense and also humanity and a generous, forgiving spirit. You understand people, and you understand how to write about them in a way that neither minimizes, mocks or...more
Oh dear what is this book!
this is such a great book by George Eliot, i can never fully state my feelings towards it. it has certainly touched me personally not just by how the characters resound in their own complexity but by the ground breaking twists this book is full of.
it took me two months to read it, and it was sure worth it. told in seven parts, the mill on the floss is not a book for anyone, especially the light-heated or the romantic type. first of all each of these seven parts seems l...more
I have been debating whether or not to give this four or five stars but the work is just so rich that I feel it deserves five. Maggie Tulliver is a sensitive, intelligent, passionate person who's life was made miserable by the social conventions of her time.
Warning: Here be spoilers!

Oh, George Eliot, why are you doing this to me? I so want to like you. I want to admire you, marvel at you, and rave about your brilliancy. I want to be your friend, and have interesting dinner conversations with you because I think you are a remarkable woman. So why are you making it so hard for me to admire your works?

It started with "Middlemarch" and now this. "The Mill on the Floss" started off so well. I was into the story and interested in the characters, especial...more
I had mixed reactions to this book. Mid-way through, I wrote this summary:
I have reached tape 6 out of 16 in Eliot's Mill on the Floss, and I must say I don't know why it isn't a famous classic. She does a wonderful job caricaturizing human nature, and has a subtle sense of humor running throughout, much like Dickens. The Dodson sisters are great. The protaganist is a very bright young girl, (who will probably grow up by the end of the book) living in an age where education was not thought impo...more
I have not long finished the book, and am finding it hard to unfurl my thoughts on it in a coherent manner, except knowing that I completely adored this book. I think for me the complete genius of Eliot is displayhed here even more abundantly than in Middlemarch. The prose left me in parts awestruck with its being at once witty and astute, and in other parts completely heartbroken expecially towards the end.
Something for me that gave the book extra potency is knowing that Eliot herself had to u...more
It seems that some people are born with a greater sensitivity to passions and sorrows in life than most others around them - and the heroine Maggie is definitely one of these people. I was completely swept into her world by the end of the book, and agonized and sympathized with her struggle between passion and duty. The first third of the book seemed a bit childish and nostalgic, and it took that long for the plot to begin to be interesting (hence the 4 stars instead of 5), but in hindsight this...more
I love the supreme confidence with which the nineteenth-century writer surveys the world, never questioning whether or not an author really has the authority or ability to render the world in its entirety. That's a worry for another century. It's a relief to read a novel whose author never doubts her own omniscience. I also love how people in nineteenth-century novels get caught in life-and-death moral crises that turn on such finer points of conscience that it's sometimes hard for a modern read...more
Jon Michael
The Mill on the Floss is the story of Maggie Tulliver and her brother Tom, of a family in ruin, of gossip and heartbreak, of sexual impulse, and of a world without real choices for women. Well, that last bit might be heavy-handed and over-simplified, but for Maggie at least, there do not seem to be any “good” choices, and that is what is so heartbreaking about her story. Nearly every choice she makes is met with some sort of condemnation, despite her good intentions, though of course Eliot’s sub...more
Wow, in this world of easy gratification and need for “happy ever after” endings this was a truly interesting book. The lack of the happy ending may explain the difference between the continuing main stream popularity Jane Austen has enjoyed and the fact that George Eliot seems to have been confined to the English Literature classes. Very unfair in my opinion.

Despite it’s distance to us in time it could easily be transcribed to a story for our generation. The characters are so skillfully crafted...more
Once you become accustomed to the rhythm and tempo of George Eliot's writing style and the turn of the century language, you fall into the story and find yourself very much involved with the characters.
She has a knack for inventing people who are very human with foibles and faults and shining moments - very real.
Her story involves Maggie and her internal moral struggles, her personality and nature are at war with the external world she lives in. Maggie never quite fits in, yet her sensitive natu...more
I've either caught that hideous virus that has altered my mood for

reading, or I'm not in the mood for reading Victorian romances and

the like at the moment. Wives and Daughters was a hard pill

to swallow and this The Mill on the Floss could have been a

little bit better. (In my opinion, of course.) The problem is, I

still have Gaskell's North and South at the shelf, waiting to

be read, and I tremble to think I may not enjoy it and it will be

another dull reading (but I won't worry myself with t...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Ending. Seriously? 12 82 Jul 19, 2014 03:59PM  
Team Philip or Team Stephen? 18 120 Nov 22, 2013 01:52PM  
Tom and Maggie 3 26 Oct 22, 2013 02:30PM  
Demons and Deserts 1 23 Sep 02, 2013 05:13PM  
  • The Small House at Allington
  • The Woodlanders
  • Sylvia's Lovers
  • Dombey and Son
  • Miss Marjoribanks
  • East Lynne
  • New Grub Street
In 1819, novelist George Eliot (nee Mary Ann Evans), was born at a farmstead in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, where her father was estate manager. Mary Ann, the youngest child and a favorite of her father's, received a good education for a young woman of her day. Influenced by a favorite governess, she became a religious evangelical as an adolescent. Her first published work was a religious poe...more
More about George Eliot...
Middlemarch Silas Marner Adam Bede Daniel Deronda Romola

Share This Book

“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.” 207 likes
“I am not imposed upon by fine words; I can see what actions mean.” 134 likes
More quotes…