Hadrian's Reviews > Middlemarch

Middlemarch by George Eliot
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it was amazing
bookshelves: british, fiction, historical-fiction

Reading Middlemarch was an acquired taste. This was a slow and deliberate read, at first from mild skepticism to more curiosity.

What most interested me was the breadth of human experience in this novel. Eliot is a savvy and learned writer. She refrains from falling back on the worst of Dickensian caricatures, but instead attempts to sketch out what people are, and how they interact with and shape each other. The worst characters have some sympathetic face to them, the best have their own gashes and flaws.

They all stand out simply because they are so familiar. We know and recognize idealistic feelings or failings within ourselves, the impulse to try and 'save' another person, deflections or demurs.

Our omniscient narrator truly is one. It is not just a literary definition, but the snarky wit and ceaseless descriptions are deeply impressing. It is like being a child again and taught by the most intimidating and brilliant professor you ever knew. They touch on Fate - but not Fate as the ancient Greeks do, but fate as the influences of our society and our neighbors and family. They talk about Religion and the Pilgrim's Progress, but how religion can blind as well as heal.

There's also a staggering amount of historical context in here. This is a very big novel which wants to talk about everything, and in many ways it succeeds. A lot's been said about Middlemarch. I suspect a lot of it is true. I do know is that this is a place which deserves another visit, and I will return here again.
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Reading Progress

September 3, 2013 – Started Reading
September 3, 2013 – Shelved
September 15, 2013 – Shelved as: british
September 15, 2013 – Shelved as: fiction
September 15, 2013 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
September 15, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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Kalliope Good to see that you also read, and like, this kind of literature. Wide range of taste. Marvelous.


Nick Wellings Eliot is a wise and wonderful writer. This book is a favourite for me!


Hadrian Kalliope: These studies of 'ordinariness' have a real appeal to me. I also enjoyed Winesburg, Ohio, which is more episodic in nature but still broadly covers life in a small town.

Nick: I was very impressed, even with all the praise I'd heard previously. This was a real treat.


Moira Russell Aww yeah. It is such a great book. - I really like your comparison to Winesburg, altho that's more concerned with the kind of freakish element in American life. Cannery Row is another kind of microcosm book.


Hadrian That's another one of my favorites. I have a first edition of it and I treasure it dearly.


Moira Russell Hadrian wrote: "That's another one of my favorites. I have a first edition of it and I treasure it dearly."

Oooh NICE. I don't think I have any first editions (unless they were just first editions of recently published hardbacks or whatever) (then again, if I had them, the cats would probably just barf on them).


Hadrian Yeah. That's the only one I know I have, and I only discovered it was a first edition by accident. Five bucks.

I'd be worried about cats too, but I'm sure there's some way to keep them out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=...


Moira Russell Hadrian wrote: "Yeah. That's the only one I know I have, and I only discovered it was a first edition by accident. Five bucks.

I'd be worried about cats too, but I'm sure there's some way to keep them out.

http..."


Somehow mine manage to barf on EVERYTHING. The only reason they didn't get to my hardcover copy of Nox (guess that is a first ed., come to think of it) is I stuffed it in a _drawer._


Rayroy I'm am shocked by how much like this I typically don't like books like this. I usually rather read more simplistic authors Raymond Carver or Post Modern ones like Robert Coover.


message 10: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Laird I'm always pleased when I find enthusiasts for Middlemarch and Eliot; not glamorous or showy, but wise beyond measure. Her characters, as you say, are real and deep, admirable some of them but all of them deftly drawn. I like how Dorothea is smart and good and well intentioned, but marries Casaubon, a bad decision, as is Lydgate's union with Rosamond, whose vanity eventually consumes her charm. Even Bulstrode draws our sympathy. Middlemarch is a book for adults.


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