Middlemarch

( 97 )

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 - (illustrated)

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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: 9781843794394
  • Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks Ltd.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2011
  • Format: CD
  • Pages: 28
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 2.30 (d)

Meet the Author

George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Ann, or Marion, Evans (1819-1880), was the author of several novels including Silas Marner. Middlemarch is considered not only her finest work, but one of the greatest English novels of the 19th century.

Kate Reading has narrated everything from Erma Bombeck to George Elliot. Sh

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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 4
( 97 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(53)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 97 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2009

    Stick With It

    I can understand how some readers might become overwhelmed by the 700 plus pages that make up this classic but its well worth the read. George Eliot reminds me of an Austen or Bronte, but with a little more spunk. Everything doesn't always work out perfectly for Eliot's characters and their lives are more complicated and true to life. Dr. Lydgate and Dorthea begin with the best of intentions but their ambitions are soon spoiled through their own folly and misjudgement. The book is a great depiction of human strenghths and weaknesses set in a climate of strict social heirarchy.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2011

    Great book, HORRIBLE edition

    Do NOT waste your money on this edition of Middlemarch. There are seriously at least 50 typos that I found. Misspelled words, character names switched, missing punctuation. I've never seen anything like it. It was terribly distracting. B&N and the editor of this edition should be so ashamed. Your money and time will be much better spent on another edition.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    Acceptable edition with excellent introduction--a good value.

    This edition of Middlemarch has one of the best introductions to a classic I've ever read--clearly written, informative and free of the pompous nonsense you usually see in these (definitely read it after reading the novel, though; it gives away all the plot points). Because of this alone, I'd say this edition is more than worth the money. On the other hand, it did have a good number of typos. The book was apparently scanned with optical character recognition, judging by their nature. I found it readable, but if you're a stickler for such things, you might want to avoid this edition. Another drawback was the footnotes. They were too sparse, and a handful weren't properly tagged to jump to the footnote section. These aren't fatal flaws, but they keep reminding you you're not reading a top-notch edition. Still, for the money, I'm not sure you could do better.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    OK read

    This is an okay read. Trust me. It's not average and although it says George Eliot was the greatest British novelist of the 19th century on the back, she wasn't; Dickens was (trust me). Dickens's works have literary merit AND they are entertaining; George Eliot's novels only have the former. So, I didn't enjoy this novel, but I admit it was pretty good, just not so good as to make you want to read it again or recommend it to anyone. It wasn't entertaining enough to make you think the read was worthwhile. I mean you won't get any real gratification, any real enjoyment from this novel, unless you like quite unembellished stories.

    5 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2007

    A reviewer

    A must have. While I have always had an affinity towards the great classics - Great Expectations, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn 'and Tom Sawyer', Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, Austen's Pride and Prejudice, etc nothing prepared me for the masterpiece that I found George Eliot's Middlemarch to be.... not even having come highly recommended, and gifted by a fellow avid reader who's interests in the classics sometimes overlay mine. MiddleMarch is an ordinary yet timeless portrayal of people, their interwoven lives, and relationships, idealisms, crises etc - essentially, it is an character rich yet simple storytelling of humanity. It is 'IMO' like a book of life. I collected favorite books for the longest time and would haul them with me whenever I moved. Recently though, I adopted a minimalistic outlook to life and have practically given away all of my favorite books that I haven't read in a while. Currently, there are only 3 favorites that sit on my shelf, and MiddleMarch is the most favored of these favorites. Once you can get past the size - I have the Barnes & Noble Classics which comes to 799 pages, you too may find this your ultimate favorite classic.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2008

    Third time a charm!!

    I have tried on 2 occasions to get thru this book, and after 100 pages or so, find it very uninteresting. I am an avid reader of the Classics and am never afraid to take on any size book, as long as the story holds my interest. Since I own this book, I will try again this winter to get thru Middlemarch,and maybe this time it will light that spark that makes the reader wish the story would never end!! If not, theres always Dickens!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2008

    Eliot is Amazing!

    i rad this book, not really expecting how good it would be. However, i was pleasantly surprised and would recommend this novel to everyone. Im now trying to read all of Eliot's work, because she has fantastic writing style.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2005

    A necessary read.

    What makes Middlemarch so interesting, and Eliot so different from Austen, is that there are no easy ways out for the characters; their futures are not so cut-and-dried. While Dorothea is almost impossibly noble, her sister's cutting remarks and her own human weakness and warmth toward the end bring her to an understandable level. The heart agonizes for the doctor in the parallel story, but his superficiality and aloofness at times also distance him from the reader. In short, idealized characters are brought down, and 'low' characters are proven better than they first seemed, and there is real insight into the hopes and disappointments of marriage. The candid explanations of human behavior are often reminiscent of Tolstoy, another writer whose works are necessary to read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing, bored, and wondering what others see

    This book as been pegged as a masterpiece of English fiction, well for me it was a masterpiece of boredom and dissatisfaction. One of the driest and most serious books that I have read in a long time (maybe ever). For me the Finale couldn't not have came quick enough. There are so MANY plot lines and so many characters, that it was absolutely grueling to try and finish the novel (but I did). This book is divided into eight books and then the Finale. Personally, not only were the characters of the book having to go through unhappy marriages through their entirely, but I was also suffering through the whole ordeal. Although the character Dorothea doesn't marry in my opinion the ideal husband (Lydgate) for her character, by in the end I despised Dorothea; therefore, I was fine with her character being unhappy. Definitely not the worse book i have ever read (because that honor belongs to Walden), but at times (a multitude of time() I definitely questioned how this is on the BBC top 100 book list.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Review of Middlemarch

    Finally. Finally after four weeks of reading I finish this novel.

    So, in summary, this is what I gathered from the book. This is a story about three couples - Fred and Mary, Dorothea and Ladislaw and Rosamund and Lyndgate. These six people live in a town called Middlemarch - and Eliot does not build a vague fictional town here, she details every last little thing down to pages upon pages of motives behind elections, decisions made and fainting spells. Every bit of gossip is laid out and every substantial movement of a main character dissected and looked at from all angles.

    In short, this was the longest book I've ever read. And I'm sad to say I just did not like it all that much.

    I often remarked to my family as I was trudging my way through this novel that, at times, it felt as if I was sitting and watching a snail decide which direction to move in. Now, don't get me wrong - the characters were vibrant. They could have sprung off the page, full of life if Eliot (to borrow a Tolkien term here) had not the patience of an Ent. So. Much. Detail. Ugh. I cannot get over how long this book took to read.

    I loved the Epilogue though (and for more reasons than it just signifying the end!) and I'm proud of myself for sticking it through and for grasping the story and understanding the significance of why she wrote it the way she did. It had to be done that way - the actual "action" in the book would have been disappointing on its own without all of the build-up. But instead of feeling a triumphant release at the ending I felt more a calm sigh of relief and had a "thank God" moment (both for it being the end and for getting what I wanted at the end of the book).

    I would not have read this book if I hadn't been involved in the 1001 Books to Read Before you Die challenge. And honestly, I'm dreading the next George Eliot I pick up, but at least I've armed myself with some knowledge and know how to approach it now. Bits at a time with plenty of action-filled books in between.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2009

    One of the best

    I love to read the classics but this is one of my favorites. If you find it a little slow at the beginning stick with it. The characters are so vivid and real you will be pulled into the story and identify with their experiences.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2008

    Amazing, Wonderful, Fantastic

    So amazing! It was fantastic! I would recomend it to anyone!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Wonderful read

    Amazing! The first couple hundred pages are rough, but in the end it's worth it. If you enjoy 19th century literature, this is a must-read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2005

    Not a fan of Eliot

    I looked forward to getting 'into' this rather long volume. Unfortunately, it was just too flowery for my preference. I passed it on to a friend who thoroughly enjoyed it and would give it 5 stars!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2002

    Everyone, everywhere.

    Middlemarch by George Eliot. Highly recommended. It seems that it's nearly impossible to talk about Middlemarch without mentioning its breadth and scope. The irony is that the entire novel takes place within the confines of this small community and within the sometimes-small minds of its various citizens. Although a vast number of characters populate Middlemarch and its environs, each who speaks has a distinctive voice, yet does not fall into being mere type only. The horse dealer sounds like a horse dealer¿but one with a particular background and perspective. The setting itself represents every type of town, suburb, village, or neighborhood where you'll find the complacent, the critical, the aspiring, the intellectual, the earthy, the wealthy, the poor, and the worker in between. As with many English novels, the setting, in this case Middlemarch, becomes as much a central character as any other, whether it's Dorothea or Lydgate. The tapestry Eliot weaves is complex; one character's actions can affect the lives of others he or she may rarely meet, while the unknown behavior and works of Bulstrode in his youth decades ago eventually touch nearly all. How the characters come together is sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle. Dorothy's interest in Casaubon, although a puzzle to her friends and family, is painted in broad strokes to the reader; her later interest in Will Ladislaw, grows somewhat more delicately if based in the same altruistic roots. Mary Garth and Fred Vincy have, in their way, come together in their childhoods; they are still struggling with mutually agreeable terms that will allow both to acknowledge the love and affection that are already there. Lydgate and Rosamond are both more of a puzzle and less of one¿a case of two opposed personalities with opposing views, opposing goals, and opposing personalities drawn together by that most capricious of matchmakers, proximity and circumstance, to form a union that will frustrate both and satisfy neither. Against the background of these four sometimes difficult relationships (Dorothea and Casaubon with its lack of love or eros, Dorothea and Will with the barriers set by Casaubon's will and that of the Middlemarch society who frown on Will and Dorothea's association with him, Fred and Mary with her imposed restrictions to set him on the correct course in life before she can make a commitment to him, and Lydgate and Rosamond with their diametrical oppositions) is the long, happy marriage of Nicholas Bulstrode and his Vincy wife Harriet. Unlike the others, there are no visible barriers to their happiness, and they are happy as a couple¿except for the events in Bulstrode's past that haunt him in the back of his mind and then at the front with the appearance of Raffles. The marriage survives the ensuing scandal, but the individuals¿Nicholas and Harriet¿become poor shadow of their former selves. It is in a town like Middlemarch that a woman like Dorothea will find it impossible to find approbation for her plans and Bulstrode will find the antagonism of those who have come to terms with their own worldly desires. It is in a town like Middlemarch that merely the raving words of a delirium tremens-afflicted Raffles can upset the respectable work of a respectable lifetime. The downfall of Bulstrode validates the town and its modernizing secular culture. Middlemarch is a novel of insight into personality, motivations, social behaviours, and history. In the end, even the happiest characters have failed at most if not all of their youthful aspirations and have become variations on the Middlemarch theme¿husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, day-to-day toilers rather than dreamers and achievers. Middlemarch is Everytown, where you will find an example or two of Every

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2014

    I have read a hundred pages and find the work to be very well wr

    I have read a hundred pages and find the work to be very well written and compelling. I know that I will
    continue to read the entire text and will enjoy doing so. 

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  • Posted August 12, 2014

    Amazing novel, absolutely terrible edition!! Do NOT purchase thi

    Amazing novel, absolutely terrible edition!! Do NOT purchase this B&N Series edition!!! I don't know the correct names of some of the characters because they're misspelled on every other page, not to mention the ridiculous number of typos. I should be getting paid to catch all of them! It's not 1-2; it's nearly every page! Customer Service is of no use either....I've been hung up on twice, and with a twinge of irony, the last one bid me "Farewell!" before hanging up. Sigh...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 15, 2014

    All I wanted to do was see the size of the print!  I had previou

    All I wanted to do was see the size of the print!  I had previously checked this out of the library and found the print quite small and tedious to read.  But Barnes and Noble made finding this out about impossible.And the Customer Service doesn't allow you to simply leave an email.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2014

    Stonepelt

    But your coming back now right?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Mosskit

    No someone took me to heal me...

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 97 Customer Reviews

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