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Middlemarch Hardcover – Apr 26 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Apr 26 2011
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (April 26 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141196890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141196893
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 5.1 x 20.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 953 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #149,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From AudioFile

Dorothea Brooke, a young woman of impeccable character, marries the embittered Mr. Casaubon, who almost immediately dies. Eliot takes the reader through a labyrinth of nineteenth-century morals and conventions as Dorothea searches for fulfillment and happiness. Walter's delicious, upper-crust English accent and understated English inflections immerse the listener in a little-known world of hedgerows and manners. This reading would have been a complete success had the narrator only taken more care with the timing surrounding omitted sections of the abridged text. She races ahead without pause, often confounding the listener, who finds the action has suddenly moved to the next county--or country--without warning. A worthy, though flawed, presentation. R.B.F. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

WHO that cares much to know the history of man, and how the mysterious mixture behaves under the varying experiments of Time, has not dwelt, at least briefly, on the life of Saint Theresa,' has not smiled with some gentleness at the thought of the little girl walking forth one morning hand - in - hand with her still smaller brother, to go and seek martyrdom in the country of the Moors? Out they toddled from rugged Avila, wide - eyed and helpless - looking as two fawns, but with human hearts, already beating to a national idea; until domestic reality met them in the shape of uncles, and turned them back from their great resolve. That child - pilgrimage was a fit beginning. Theresa's passionate, ideal nature demanded an epic life: what were many - volumed romances of chivalry and the social conquests of a brilliant girl to her. Her flame quickly burned up that light fuel; and, fed from within, soared after some illimitable satisfaction, some object which would never justify weariness, which would reconcile self - despair with the rapturous consciousness of life beyond self. She found her epos in the reform of a religious order.
That Spanish woman who lived three hundred years ago was certainly not the last of her kind. Many Theresas have been born who found for themselves no epic life wherein there was a constant unfolding of far - resonant action; perhaps only a life of mistakes, the offspring of a certain spiritual grandeur ill - matched with the meanness of opportunity; perhaps a tragic failure which found no sacred poet and sank unwept into oblivion. With dim lights and tangled circumstance they tried to shape their thought and deed in noble agreement; but after all, to common eyes their struggles seemed mere inconsistency and formlessness; for these later - born Theresas were helped by no coherent social faith and order which could perform the function of knowledge for the ardently willing soul. Their ardour alternated between a vague ideal and the common yearning of womanhood; so that the one was disapproved as extravagance, and the other condemned as a lapse.
Some have felt that these blundering lives are due to the inconvenient indefiniteness with which the Supreme Power has fashioned the natures of women: if there were one level of feminine incompetence as strict as the ability to count three and no more, the social lot of women might be treated with scientific certitude. Meanwhile the indefiniteness remains, and the limits of variation are really much wider than any one would imagine from the sameness of women's coiffure and the favourite love - stories in prose and verse. Here and there a cygnet is reared uneasily among the ducklings in the brown pond, and never finds the living stream in fellowship with its own oary-footed kind. Here and there is born a Saint Theresa, foundress of nothing, whose loving heart -beats and sobs after an unattained goodness tremble off and are dispersed among hindrances, instead of centering in some long recognisable deed.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I first read this book in a college course about self-deception as a theme in literature. This was by far my favorite of the things we read (we read such other things as Vanity Fair, The Ring and the Book).
This is really a long book about ordinary circumstances in a 19th century rural area in England. So why is a book such as this one considered such a classic even though not many particularly grand events happen?
The book is the study of the ordinary in many ways. You end up seeing how different people live and deal with different situations and what kinds of people they are. At the same time that the reader comes to judgments about the people in the book, George Eliot manages to portray most of her characters sympathetically. Even the worst people in the book are rounded out in some ways and Eliot tries to imbue a sense of humanity. It portrays an "adult" view of the world instead of the simplistic view of the child. In fact, Dorothea makes a journey during the book from a child with a romanticized view to an adult with a more rich understanding through life experience and wisdom.
If you're looking for a book about exciting events, with high drama, with a fast pace, don't bother picking this book up since you'll probably dislike it. This is a book written by a woman and expressing some criticisms of a woman's place in the world of her time. It is also a book that explores a more ordinary setting and viewpoint than perhaps most male authors of the time would write in such depth about. She brings a different experience than most male or female authors of the 19th century. Male authors focused on grander events (their characters often fighting to get somewhere in life) while many female authors showed a romanticized view of life and love.
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Format: Paperback
This one deserves 10 stars, it is really one of the most incredible books I've ever read. I think I've only given a brilliant rating to the Count of Monte Cristo and Bleak House. This is a fascinating character study of the people of Middlemarch, a town in Victorian England. I can't even begin to try to describe the story -- there is Dorothea who makes a dreadful first marriage to an older man, Dr. Lydgate and his disastrous relationship and marriage to the self-centered Rosamund, Fred Vincy and Mary, and much much more.

The way the author pulls her story and characters together is incredible, and the insight into the characters is nothing short of brilliant. To quote from the book jacket and Virginia Wolf "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people."

Just be warned, this is not a sit on the edge of your seat, can't put it down until it's finished type of novel. This is a story to savour and enjoy the multi-faceted characters and the author's glorious prose like a fine red wine or a box of chocolates (or both). If you are looking for high action and adventure, this is not the book for you. Highly recommended for any lover of 19th century English literature, not as dark and brooding as Hardy can be, but the prose is just as lovely, if not better.
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By A Customer on Feb. 12 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had to read "Middlemarch" for a Victorian literature course, and I approached it with certain trepidation: it's a tome, for a start, and by the time I braved it, I'd heard pretty much everyone in the class muttering about how dense and difficult it was. I had that reaction, too, for about 100, or even 200 pages. But I fell in love with it slowly. You have to almost re-learn how to read when you approach a novel like Middlemarch; it was not written to cater to short, wandering attention spans. But the brilliance of this book gradually reveals itself. Eliot is subtle and serious, but she is also witty and very humane, and in "Middlemarch" she tackles so much: science, art, religion, politics, love, morality.
I noticed by the end of the course that everyone who had previously been whining about this book had come to feel a certain sense of awe toward it. "Middlemarch" certainly demands a lot of time and thought to fully appreciate, but it's not difficult to understand why this is considered the great Victorian novel.
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Format: Paperback
Middlemarch has to be the greatest novel ever written in the english language. Why do I make such a sweeping statement? The reason is that this book has everything romance, suspense, wisdom,plot, philosophy, beautiful prose, real characters that are flawed and not judged by the author. Underlying all this is the large layer of feeling that we are all worthy, that we are all capable of so much good. One leaves the novel with such a sense of peace. I'm probably making this book sound boring when it's actually a page turner. However along with the page turning there's the more than occasional moment of profundity when we stop and think. Also for the romantics out there nobody can beat george eliot when it comes to a great love scene. This book is well worth buying for you'll read it more than once.
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Format: Paperback
George Eliot (actually Mary Ann Evans) created a remarkable story. One would think a 794 page story would have to contain a fair amount of filler. Yet Mary Ann Evans had so much to say, so much humor to share, insight to express, and story to relate that no less than 794 pages would have sufficed. This is a tremendous book.
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