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Middlemarch Paperback – Mar 25 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised ed. edition (March 25 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439549
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 3.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 621 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans Cross) was born on November 22, 1819 at Arbury Farm, Warwickshire, England. She received an ordinary education and, upon leaving school at the age of sixteen, embarked on a program of independent study to further her intellectual growth. In 1841 she moved with her father to Coventry, where the influences of “skeptics and rationalists” swayed her from an intense religious devoutness to an eventual break with the church. The death of her father in 1849 left her with a small legacy and the freedom to pursue her literary inclinations. In 1851 she became the assistant editor of the Westminster Review, a position she held for three years. In 1854 came the fated meeting with George Henry Lewes, the gifted editor of The Leader, who was to become her adviser and companion for the next twenty-four years. Her first book, Scenes of a Clerical Life (1858), was followed by Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860),Silas Marner (1861), and Middlemarch (1872). The death of Lewes, in 1878, left her stricken and lonely. On May 6, 1880, she married John Cross, a friend of long standing, and after a brief illness she died on December 22 of that year, in London.

Rosemary Ashton, Professor of English Literature at University College, London, is the editor of the Penguin Classics edition of Middlemarch.

Review

"One of the few English novels written for grown-up people" -- Virginia Woolf

"The most profound, wise and absorbing of English novels...and, above all, truthful and forgiving about human behavior." -- Hermione Lee

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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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