Chris Walker's Reviews > The Mill on the Floss

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
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Feb 21, 2011

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Read in February, 2011

I think people who have enjoyed Jane Austen's novels will also enjoy George Eliot. The Mill on the Floss is the first of her books I have read and I found it a great way to escape the concerns of the 21st century. George Eliot's intelligence and erudition seem to leap off the page and the book is marvellously filled with the practical domestic details of life in the 19th century and the age's moral concerns. Occasionally the author's omnificence and the didactic edge to some of her prose becomes annoying (but not nearly as annoying as Dickens). I also wanted to reach through the page and shake submissive Maggie by the throat at times e.g. the scene where she drifts off in the boat and lets herself be taken miles past her destination will strike the modern female as ludicrious - unless a date rape drug had been administered! - especially since Maggie apparently has the strength of will and body to fight a raging flood when she wants to. However, some of the descriptions of nature and events are really beautiful. And there's romance a plenty. Here's a taste: "She and Stephen were in that stage of courtship which makes the most exquisite moment of youth, the freshest blossom-time of passion, when each is sure of the other's love, but no formal declaration has been made, and all is mutual divination, exalting the most trivial word, the lightest gesture, into thrills delicate and delicious as wafted jasmine scent."

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