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

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  39,365 Ratings  ·  1,464 Reviews
One of George Eliot's best-loved works, The Mill on the Floss is a brilliant portrait of the bonds of provincial life as seen through the eyes of the free-spirited Maggie Tulliver, who is torn between a code of moral responsibility and her hunger for self-fulfillment. Rebellious by nature, she causes friction both among the townspeople of St. Ogg's and in her own family, p ...more
Paperback, 656 pages
Published November 13th 2001 by Modern Library (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.

Popular Answered Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
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
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Maggie sacrifices love for family loyalty in George Eliot's (a.k.a. Mary Ann Evans) semi-autobiographical novel, The Mill on the Floss, published 1860. The novel spans a period of 10 to 15 years and details the lives of Tom and Maggie Tulliver, siblings growing up at Dorlcote Mill on the River Floss at its junction with the more minor River Ripple near the village of St. Ogg's in Lincolnshire, England.

In the introduction to the book, A.S.Byatt(Editor) states:No well-known novel contains so much
Oct 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Funny how the title of a book can put you off reading it, making it sound boring, especially to your younger self, and how that preconception can stick with you through the years. I felt that way about Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop until I finally read some Cather and I felt that way about this title. A mill as a main ‘character’? And what in the world is a floss?

The mill is a driving force, yet Maggie is the main character and it’s easy to see the young girl as the portrait of a y
George Elliot is both impressively encyclopaedic (from Captain Swing to pedallers)and narrowly individual (education shaping young people to be able to do nothing in particular) in this other tale of provincial life before the Railway Age. One lesson here is that"Nature repairs her ravages" (p490) but people don't. The fatal flaw of bearing a grudge is passed down from father Tulliver to son Tom so underlining that The days of chivalry are not gone, notwithstanding Burke's grand dirge over them: ...more
Cindy Newton
I can't imagine an Eliot book that I wouldn't like, and this one is no exception. I don't think I'm quite as enthusiastic about it as I am about Middlemarch, but it is still an absorbing read. It follows the fluctuating fortunes of a family who occupy a mill on the Floss River (I love alliteration!). The main character, Maggie, is a precocious, imaginative child at the beginning and grows into a lovely, fascinating young woman. There are Eliot's usual philosophical observations on human behavior ...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

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
Oct 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Ann Evans – or George Eliot – said that without Jane Austen, there would have been no George Eliot. This was in evidence to me in this novel more than in her masterpiece, Middlemarch, possibly because the latter is a much later work (but so far it’s the only one I have to compare with). In truth, I liked The Mill on the Floss as much as Middlemarch.

The story revolves around a pair of siblings, Maggie and Tom Tulliver, with Maggie (who reminded me of Molly Gibson in Mrs. Gaskell’s Wives and
Huda Aweys
I think that, The novel was to monitor a particular historical period .. in terms of the social reality in that period ..,And I loved Maggie very by the way :)
Apr 24, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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)
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 mone ...more
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19c-lit
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
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
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
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
Dec 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mybasicbookshelf
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
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
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian-lit, school

(Fuller review to come when I can make more sense of this)
“The persons who are the most incapable of a conscientious struggle such as yours, are precisely those who will be likely to shrink from you; because they will not believe in your struggle.”

This is a tragic but beautiful story of a passionate, intensely conscientious person, and her attempts to stay true to her ideals while surrounded by continuous criticism.

There were aspects that rubbed me the wrong way. I found some characters wholly unlikeable. A few plot turns were hard to believe. And I di
"Sappi che l'amore di te stesso ti fa più male che qualunque cosa al mondo"..... ho molto da ridire su questo pensiero

Ho letto sulla copertina posteriore che questo sarebbe uno “sferzante” romanzo femminista . Io non ho trovato nulla di sferzante, e credo che non avrei potuto trovarcelo, vista l’epoca in cui il romanzo è stato scritto. Ho letto un romanzo diviso in due parti, la prima che narra dell’infanzia di due fratelli, Tom e Maggie Tulliver, dei loro caratteri diversi fin da bimbi, lui dal
Mill on the Floss is said to be a semi biographical novel by George Eliot. The story is said to resemble some of her own struggles and her deep attachment and yearn for approval of her brother.
Among the various themes of the book, sibling love between Tom and Maggie and Maggie's constant struggle to win the wholehearted love and acceptance of her brother were the strongest. Basically the story flows on those two themes and Eliot's satire of the society, with the use of a narrator, closely accomp
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, rth-lifetime
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
Emma Flanagan
When I commenced on a classics challenge this year, George Eliot was one author I was determined to read. I've read at least some of the works by the other major 19th century female writers but had never really explored Eliot. The obvious place to start was The Mill on the Floss. I had read to first two sections in college as part of a course on the representation of childhood in the novel and enjoyed it but had been unable to read the rest as I had a pile of other coursework to read.

The focus
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This book was good, but slow. This will mark my fourth George Eliot novel. You can say now that I'm a fan of her writing. I liked the sister/brother relationship, although it ends bittersweet. One thing I learned for Eliot's books already is don't expect a happy ending. With all that said, I think I read this book at a perfect time. I wasn't looking for something quick, fun, or happy. I wouldn't say this is a hard book to read, just slow and you need to take you time.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot 2 16 May 29, 2017 02:56AM  
Team Philip or Team Stephen? 24 182 Jul 19, 2016 04:27AM  
Women's Classic L...: * Reading Schedule 10 34 Jun 28, 2016 11:10AM  
Tom and Maggie 4 57 Apr 07, 2016 09:37AM  
Goodreads Ireland: Classics Challenge 3: The Mill on the Floss 18 35 Dec 23, 2015 11:32AM  
2017 Reading Chal...: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot 3 89 Nov 02, 2015 10:58PM  
  • The Small House at Allington (Chronicles of Barsetshire #5)
  • Mary Barton
  • The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
  • Dombey and Son
  • Miss Marjoribanks (Chronicles of Carlingford, #5)
  • New Grub Street
  • The Absentee
  • The Hand of Ethelberta
  • The Egoist
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...

Share This Book

“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.” 299 likes
“I am not imposed upon by fine words; I can see what actions mean.” 179 likes
More quotes…