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Middlemarch (Penguin Classics) [Kindle Edition]

George Eliot , Rosemary Ashton
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (521 customer reviews)

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Book Description

George Eliot's most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past. As their stories interweave, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as 'one of the few English novels written for adult people'.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Though not out of print, this popular title is being added to the venerable "Modern Library" line to coincide with a PBS Masterpiece Theatre miniseries. Along with the full text, this edition includes an introduction by A.S. Byatt. All that for $15 makes this a bargain.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"No Victorian novel approaches Middlemarch in its width of reference, its intellectual power, or the imperturbable spaciousness of its narrative."
--V. S. Pritchett

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1275 KB
  • Print Length: 491 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Rev Ed edition (August 3, 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9W0M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,290 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
304 of 317 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, compelling book January 15, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I took up this book because it was on a booklist of the 100 best books written, and I have to agree. It took awhile to get into it because there's a great deal of expository writing at the beginning, but stick with it and you'll be introduced to some fascinating characters in the town of Middlemarch.

Dorothea Brooke is a young woman about to take a much older husband, determined to find purpose in her life by assisting him with his life's work, a book which is to a definitive guide to all the mythologies of the world. When she begins to suspect her husband's work is little more than empty piffle, how will she find her way?

Mr. Lydgate is a hotshot young physician determined to do great works from the small town of Middlemarch. Thwarted by small town suspicion and politics, and increasingly saddled by debt incurred by a pretty young wife, how will he cope as his life's dream slips away?

Fred Vincy is the son of a town merchant determined to see him made a gentleman. He's paid for Fred to recieve a gentleman's education at Oxford with the intention that Fred will join the Church. Fred knows the Church isn't for him, but isn't sure what else to do, nor how to tell his father his education was for naught.

These are just three of a huge cast of characters, all of them fascinating in their own way as their lives intersect. The book feels more like a documentary than a novel, and you grow to feel as if the characters could be your own friends and neighbors. Highly recommended, I know this is going to be one of my favorite books.
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320 of 340 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Yes, that is a strong statement, but I believe Middlemarch to be the best novel written in English. And English is a rich language, overflowing with worthy works from both sides of the Atlantic, India and beyond. The only novel as a close contender on my list is Jane Eyre, with its fearsome symmetry and romantic passion.

George Eliot has been the bane of students everywhere who suffer reading Silas Marner in high school. But later on, you, like me, may develop a taste for the classics and this book will reward you richly.

The story is about Dorothea, a young, idealist woman, born to a good family with a modest fortune of her own. She is a prime catch on the wife market--money, family name, good looks. Her parents are deceased and her friends and uncle seek to pair her up with a local baron as the ideal mate. But Dorothea, bookish, religious and dreamy, has other ideas. She chooses, instead, a superannuated cleric who finally decides to marry as he feels mortality and ill health upon him. Casaubon, the vicar of a nearby rural church is a good match except....he's old, ugly and what the heck is he doing marrying such a young beauty. But Dorothea, who's imagining a sort of superior father figure who could "teach you even Hebrew, if you wished it" wakes up to far less than a reality of marital bliss. And there's an added complication created by her unworthy husband that has dire consequences for the young Dorothea.

The subsequent examination of marriage as a partnership in hell is written with stunning modernity. Eliot not only creates the disastrous marriage of Dorothea to Casaubon, but also pairs, as a comparison, Lydgate, a doctor and his frivolous, vain, uncaring wife.
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149 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly funny and penetrating! January 10, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have had a copy of this book on my shelf for years without reading it. It was so very thick, the print so small, the pages so thin! It looked dauntingly long and dull.
But when I finally picked it up out of a sense of obligation (after all, I majored in English, and it is a highly acclaimed classic) I was amazed to find myself laughing out loud on the very first page!
Dorothea, Eliot's heroine, is SO very earnest, SO idealistic and ardent! She would never be so tawdry as to fuss with her hair and dress, or wear (gasp!) jewelry in public! She is interested only in bettering the lives of the poor in their neighborhood (you could visualize her at the fore of a modern anti-war protest). But when her sister draws her into trying on their mother's old jewelry, the pure beauty of an emerald ring inspires her to decisively choose it as her own. And she stubbbornly ignores any inconsistency between that decision and her ideals.
But her idealism traps her into marriage with a man who is not at all what she believes. She sees him as a paragon of learning, questing the seas of knowledge with fearless curiousity. In actuality, he turns out to be a cautious and small-minded scholar, drily obsessed with minor points of criticism on others works. Poor Dorothea strives to find ways to hold constant in her love in the face of ugly truth. And when she meets young Will Ladislaw, a man of similar idealism and energy, she fights to stay on her moral high ground. Thank goodness the dry old scholar dies! But even after death, he manages to poison the possibility of Dorothea and Will ever making a life together.
Around this couple swarm their relatives and acquaintances, and others quests for their best lives.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Eliot is a great observer of character and nuance
So incredibly rich. Eliot is a great observer of character and nuance.
Published 7 days ago by Anne Louis-McGannon
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful, Gentle Book
It took me a couple of chapters to get into Middlemarch, but once I did, it was hard to put down. Some readers will find the 19th century language off putting, but do not allow... Read more
Published 7 days ago by C. Chappell
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST OF ALL.....
Possibly the best English novel I have ever read. George Eliot is in my select few FAVORITE AUTHORS group- which also includes DICKENS and WOOLF. Read more
Published 9 days ago by STEPHEN DE GEORGE
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great novel with fully realized characters & a narrator who...
A truly great novel with fully realized characters & a narrator who is enormously clever and brilliant as well. It is a great story of timeless quality.
Published 10 days ago by Richard B. Levenfeld
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
dialog is far too long. The plot gets lost in all the verbiage!
Published 13 days ago by David H. Wallace
5.0 out of 5 stars A challenging but rewarding read.
This a superb work that provides realistic insights into the thinking of a number of women and men caught up in destructive or challenging situations that they have created... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Kenneth C. Rogers
5.0 out of 5 stars Middlemarch. A. Must. Read.
George Elliot is a brilliant, intelligent, profound writer which is what her book is as well. It helps, I think, to recognize the satirical or facial nature she employs in her... Read more
Published 21 days ago by R.Ogden
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this edition... it's flawed and the introduction gives away part...
This review is for the Wordsworth Classics 1994 edition, typeset by Antony Gray, ISBN I 85326 237 4. Read more
Published 22 days ago by BarryG
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, thoroughly engaging story of provincial English life.
In depth depiction of characters' personalities and social relationships that transcends any time period. Could not put it down until my eyes hurt. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Strider4
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Published 25 days ago by aba
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I had to go back to the 19th century to find a good novel
I know it has been a few years since you wrote this, but I had to comment that my thoughts on Middlemarch exactly match yours. I also agree with the so-called negatives of the novel and how they are ultimately trumped by the awesome power and transformative pull of the story and characters. ... Read More
Nov 30, 2008 by "switterbug" Betsey Van Horn |  See all 6 posts
What becomes to the wealth Dorothea gave up? Be the first to reply
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