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Middlemarch

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Overview

On April 10, 1994, PBS stations nationwide will air the first episode of a lavish six-part Masterpiece Theatre production of Eliot's brilliant work, Middlemarch, hosted by Russell Baker and produced by Louis Marks. The Modern Library is pleased to offer this official companion edition, complete with tie-in art and printed on acid-free paper. Unabridged.
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Middlemarch (Collins Classics)

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Overview

On April 10, 1994, PBS stations nationwide will air the first episode of a lavish six-part Masterpiece Theatre production of Eliot's brilliant work, Middlemarch, hosted by Russell Baker and produced by Louis Marks. The Modern Library is pleased to offer this official companion edition, complete with tie-in art and printed on acid-free paper. Unabridged.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kate Reading...lends the prose emphasis and expression.... Reading's well-paced, measured narration captures the novel's realism—-with its fresh rendering of a complex and often harsh social world." —-AudioFile
From Barnes & Noble
Strangled by the confining terms of her late husband's will, an idealistic young woman throws herself into the struggle for medical reforms advocated by a visionary doctor. Considered by many to be Eliot's finest work and one of the best novels in English ever written.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781404319646
  • Publisher: IndyPublish.com
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Pages: 420
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819 - 22 December 1880; alternatively "Mary Anne" or "Marian"), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871-72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.

She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot's life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing lighthearted romances. An additional factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny and to prevent scandals attending her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived for over 20 years.

Her 1872 work Middlemarch has been described by Martin Amis and Julian Barnes as the greatest novel in the English language.
Mary Ann Evans was the third child of Robert Evans (1773-1849) and Christiana Evans (née Pearson, 1788-1836), the daughter of a local farmer. Mary Ann's name was sometimes shortened to Marian. Her full siblings were Christiana, known as Chrissey (1814-59), Isaac (1816-1890), and twin brothers who survived a few days in March 1821. She also had a half-brother, Robert (1802-64), and half-sister, Fanny (1805-82), from her father's previous marriage to Harriet Poynton (?1780-1809). Robert Evans, of Welsh ancestry, was the manager of the Arbury Hall Estate for the Newdigate family in Warwickshire, and Mary Anne was born on the estate at South Farm. In early 1820 the family moved to a house named Griff, between Nuneaton and Bedworth.

The young Evans was obviously intelligent and a voracious reader. Because she was not considered physically beautiful, and thus not thought to have much chance of marriage, and because of her intelligence, her father invested in an education not often afforded women. From ages five to nine, she boarded with her sister Chrissey at Miss Latham's school in Attleborough, from ages nine to thirteen at Mrs. Wallington's school in Nuneaton, and from ages thirteen to sixteen at Miss Franklin's school in Coventry. At Mrs. Wallington's school, she was taught by the evangelical Maria Lewis-to whom her earliest surviving letters are addressed.

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Read an Excerpt

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 eyestheir 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.


From the Paperback edition.

Copyright 2000 by George Eliot
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Table of Contents

1. The context of the novel;
2. The method of Middlemarch;
3. Middlemarch and the art of living well;
4. Gender and generation;
5. The afterlife of a masterpiece.

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Reading Group Guide

1. Discuss the relationship between religious and secular, spiritual and worldly, in the novel. Is it conflicted or not? Why?

2. What is Eliot's view of ambition in its different forms-social, intellectual, political? How is this evident in the novel?

3. In her introduction, A. S. Byatt contends that Eliot was "the great English novelist of ideas." How do you interpret this? How do you think ideas-human thought-inform the plot of Middlemarch?

4. George Eliot is a pseudonym for Mary Ann Evans. How does Eliot's femaleness-and her concealing of it-add resonance to the novel, if at all? Do you see Dorothea's character differently in this regard? Do you see Middlemarch as a "women's" novel?

5. Middlemarch was originally published in serial form, a single book at a time. What kinds of concerns affected Eliot's narrative in this regard? How do these discrete segments differ from the whole?

6. Discuss the convention of marriage in the novel. Do you feel it ultimately restricts the characters? Or is it the novel's provincial setting that proves more oppressive?

7. Discuss the metaphor of Dorothea as St. Theresa. What is Eliot saying here?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 115 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(49)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(16)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 6, 2010

    Bad Version

    This version of Middlemarch crashed my Nook repeatedly. I opted to download a different version.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2003

    a soap opera to read

    this book illustrates the imagination that Eliot had. it is very comlex and deep with content. there are so many different conflicts and themes to learn from in this book. the lessons that are tought throughout the book make this novel worth reading. i do not reccomend this book to people who do not like a challenge when they read because this book calls for a good memory and patience for the parts that get kind of slow. the book switches around a lot on the characters, telling one story and then jumping to another about someone else. this book calls for a lot of thinking and i can see now why this was called a brilliant masterpiece. there is so much to read and so many people to learn about before you can get in to the book . i recommend this book to the advanced readers.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2004

    Timeless

    This is a story about the timeless issues of the self and of human relationships, love, decency and corruption, society's virtues and vices. A good book if you like classics, however I do not recommend it if one is not up for a long reading...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2003

    Great Classic Book!

    I really enjoyed how George Eliot made you feel like you were apart of Middlemarch. By the end of the book you really feel like you knew the people personally. This is the first George Eliot book I have read, but I look forward to reading more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2003

    All about Middlemarch

    Middlemarch was a good book but it was not as great as I thought it would be. I definetly recommend this book to other people because I am sure they will like it a little more than me. I was interested in many parts of the book, but I just thought it was a little drawn out. I am not a big time reader to I usually don't like to read the same book for a week or so.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2003

    B.R. Student 5/03

    Middlemarch is a good novel set in the early ninetenth century in England. Eliot gives the novel many character's to show different examples of what life was like in England in 1832. The style is very similar to a modern soap opera. The novel, just as a soap opera, has many families that live in the same town and somehow are all connected. I recommend people read Middlemarch to learn about everyday life during the 1830's. Eliot shows the reader how the lives of the character's in the novel are affected due to all the historical changes and events. The novel is very long and at times a little dry, so I recommend that you have a lot of time to read and enjoy the novel fully. Middlemarch is a great example of victorian literature, creating real enents with Eliot's character's.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2000

    A Victorian dessert

    For those who enjoy social novels and don't mind the number of pages this excellent overlook of the life in Victorian England will supplement with all necessary stuff for the great novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2000

    a mirror of humanity

    Middlemarch is deffinatly a great work of literature. There is a huge variety of characters and they strangely mirror ourselves. I recommend this book, but it must be read when you have a lot of time and you must be persistant, because there are many boring parts and the plot flows leisurely and at a very slow pase.

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