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Middlemarch (Penguin Classics) Paperback – March 25, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (March 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439549
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (512 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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Customer Reviews

An excellent story with well developed and believable characters.
Victoria /a. Noble
I admit I had to quit a few times and read other books before finishing this, but it was worth it.
C. Warwick
Middlemarch is one of the great novels and George Eliot is one of England's greatest writers.
TJC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

284 of 295 people found the following review helpful By Shelby Miller on 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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301 of 320 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 29, 2001
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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135 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Fiore on 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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