Lisa’s review of Middlemarch > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Jan-Maat (new)

Jan-Maat For after all, the whole novel is about suppressed sex. An affair (or two) would have cured that nicely...
ha, ha, I am tempted to observe that the difference between British and french 19th century novels is that one is about suppression & its consequences, the other about non-suppression & its consequences, but that is probably too narrow minded of me


message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Jan-Maat wrote: "For after all, the whole novel is about suppressed sex. An affair (or two) would have cured that nicely...
ha, ha, I am tempted to observe that the difference between British and french 19th centur..."


No, it's spot-on as always, Jan-Maat! May I use that distinction in my teaching? German novel of the 19th century, like Effi Briest - combining the French with the English and watching the soul die in the process...


message 3: by Jan-Maat (new)

Jan-Maat & if I refuse permission & you use it anyway how would I know? So i might as well allow you free usage thereof


message 4: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Jan-Maat wrote: "& if I refuse permission & you use it anyway how would I know? So i might as well allow you free usage thereof"

I thank you kindly! The sad thing is that my students miss out on the whole drama as they are terribly bad at reading between the lines, used as they are to straightforward one-liners supported by emojis...


message 5: by Plateresca (new)

Plateresca How very true!
Although I don't think Dorothea becomes respectable by her second marriage - she does what she wants to, not what anybody expects of her.


message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Plateresca wrote: "How very true!
Although I don't think Dorothea becomes respectable by her second marriage - she does what she wants to, not what anybody expects of her."


Agree. So she might as well have kept the fortune and had an affair with Ladislaw to let the passion run its course, and thrn they could have settled for friendship... In the best of worlds, people wouldn't own each other :-)


message 7: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Ansbro A book rich with keen character observations. Wonderful review, Lisa!


message 8: by Plateresca (last edited Jul 17, 2019 11:01PM) (new)

Plateresca Oh, but isn't this what one thinks after having some experience of married life, but not before? :) I think maybe it's because we feel most what we lack, not what we have; so, when one's young one longs for romance and company, then when one has it one wants to creep behind a curtain with a book, so to speak :)
Apart from that, she might have wanted to have children, though we do not know that for sure (if I remember correctly).

Anyway, I also loved this novel! Did you read 'My Life in Middlemarch' by Rebecca Mead? It's a kind of a brief memoir interspersed with the author's thoughts on the novel. (Good for those who finish 'Middlemarch' but keep thinking about it ;))

And did you find any of George Eliot's other books as good?


message 9: by Lisa (last edited Jul 17, 2019 11:39PM) (new)

Lisa Plateresca wrote: "Oh, but isn't this what one thinks after having some experience of married life, but not before? :) I think maybe it's because we feel most what we lack, not what we have; so, when one's young one ..."

Yes, you are right about longing for what one doesn't have. The bizarre thing about marriage (apart from the quite obsolete traditional roles that go with it) is that it often aims to secure a passion which it then kills by the very structure it creates. Ownership and passion don't mix well.
Thank you for the suggestion - I will pick it up! As for other Eliot novels - so far I have only read Daniel Deronda, and the jury's still out after years of pondering :-)


message 10: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Kevin wrote: "A book rich with keen character observations. Wonderful review, Lisa!"

Thanks, Kevin!


message 11: by Plateresca (new)

Plateresca So far, I've decided that 'Daniel Deronda' might be too depressing for me to read now, so I'll be happy to know your thoughts, if or when you decide to share them :) I've read 'The Mill on the Floss', and liked parts of it, but not as much as 'Middlemarch', sadly :)


message 12: by Ilse (new)

Ilse I love the intensity in which you engage with the characters, Lisa, and your musings on conventionality and the need for freedom (and I second Plateresca on reading the 'My Life in Middlemarch' book, it is great if you want to dwell for some time longer in Middlemarch, and on Eliot as a person, her far from conventional life choices might delight you).


message 13: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Plateresca wrote: "So far, I've decided that 'Daniel Deronda' might be too depressing for me to read now, so I'll be happy to know your thoughts, if or when you decide to share them :) I've read 'The Mill on the Flos..."

I have Silas Marner at home! Will see where it takes me...


message 14: by Dolors (new)

Dolors Magnificent review on a classic I should re-read. I love how you evoke the characters' idiosyncrasy and your enthused tone, Lisa. A review impossible to resist!


message 15: by Fionnuala (new)

Fionnuala Well, obviously I am quite like the Middlemarch men in general, feeling there can't be anyone comparable to the wonderfully stubborn and idealistic Dorothea!

Ah but I think you must be more like Dorothea than the men, Lisa, very like her in fact, except for your wisdom that allows you to see that she could have satisfied her passion while retaining her freedom. I'm thinking that although George Eliot did that herself, she couldn't yet allow a character to choose such a way out. But I'm happy she created Dorothea even if she couldn't write her a more fitting destiny.
Thank you for writing this super passionate review. It was a pleasure to read from beginning to end. I haven't had much goodreads time lately but I'm very glad I popped in today and caught your Dorothea fest.


message 16: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Ilse wrote: "I love the intensity in which you engage with the characters, Lisa, and your musings on conventionality and the need for freedom (and I second Plateresca on reading the 'My Life in Middlemarch' boo..."

I use to tell my students that reading fiction is different from all other activities as it is participating in another life. Yet sometimes, that is quite overwhelming!


message 17: by Jan-Maat (new)

Jan-Maat Fionnuala wrote: "Well, obviously I am quite like the Middlemarch men in general, feeling there can't be anyone comparable to the wonderfully stubborn and idealistic Dorothea!

Ah but I think you must be more like D..."


Yes I guess you are probably right Eliot does not gift Dorothea the escape that she made for herself, but then fiction is mostly believable and this is the story of middlemarch, not exceptionalmarch


message 18: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Jan-Maat wrote: "Fionnuala wrote: "Well, obviously I am quite like the Middlemarch men in general, feeling there can't be anyone comparable to the wonderfully stubborn and idealistic Dorothea!

Ah but I think you m..."


I kind of like that Eliot had to tone down her experience to make it writable. Most people live in Middlemarch and have to make up Exceptionalmarch. How extraordinary to do it the other way round!!


message 19: by Nocturnalux (new)

Nocturnalux Eliot herself lived an exceptional life all around!


message 20: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Dolors wrote: "Magnificent review on a classic I should re-read. I love how you evoke the characters' idiosyncrasy and your enthused tone, Lisa. A review impossible to resist!"

Thanks, Dolors! I think I will remain in Middlemarch in spirit for a while, such a complete world in miniature.


message 21: by Claire (new)

Claire McAlpine Great review and a reminder that this may be the summer I finally indulge in Middlemarch. That comment about British suppression and French non-suppression and their consequences is something I observed in reading two novellas done years ago, only in place of British it was American, Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome versus Irène Némirovsky's Fire in the Blood and their handling of forbidden love. Classic.


message 22: by Claire (new)

Claire McAlpine Great review and a reminder that this may be the summer I finally indulge in Middlemarch. That comment about British suppression and French non-suppression and their consequences is something I observed in reading two novellas done years ago, only in place of British it was American, Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome versus Irène Némirovsky's Fire in the Blood and their handling of forbidden love. Classic.


message 23: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Fionnuala wrote: "Well, obviously I am quite like the Middlemarch men in general, feeling there can't be anyone comparable to the wonderfully stubborn and idealistic Dorothea!

Ah but I think you must be more like D..."


I am very pleased that you joined the Dorothea party, Fionnuala! I guess that you are right about Eliot's dilemma, and I prefer it the way it is: exceptional novel about an ordinary dilemma and an exceptional life solving the dilemma (although I doubt George Eliot took it lightly - hers was a dilemma that will have caused some pain, whichever path she chose!)


message 24: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Nocturnalux wrote: "Eliot herself lived an exceptional life all around!"

Yes, and I am excited to explore it more in detail now ...


message 25: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Claire wrote: "Great review and a reminder that this may be the summer I finally indulge in Middlemarch. That comment about British suppression and French non-suppression and their consequences is something I obs..."

I for some reason didn't like Ethan Frome at all - and you may have shown me why, Claire! Isn't his character just a long tedious suppression of life in general?


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