Middlemarch, regarded as one of the finest novels in English literature, is a study of the interwoven lives of a fictional town, Middlemarch, at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution.
It juxtaposes morals and money, grand ambitions with petty jealousies, and pursuits of the mind with bodily needs. Its breadth is Dickensian, spanning attitudes to women, gambling, social reform, politics and evangelical religion.
The soul of Middlemarch belongs to Dorothea Brooke, the intellectually eager, spiritually sincere young woman who marries the much older Edward Casaubon, a vicar, forever at work on his never-to-be-finished theological omnibus, The Key to All Mythologies.
Along with Madame Bovary and Medea, Dorothea suffers one of the most dreadful marriages in literature.
This study of marriage as a partnership in hell is written with stunning modernity. Eliot not only crafts the disastrous marriage of Dorothea to Casaubon, but also pairs, as a comparison, Lydgate, a doctor, and his feather-headed, uncaring wife, Rosamund.
“George Eliot is the greatest writer in the English language, and Middlemarch is perhaps the greatest novel ever.”
"No Victorian novel approaches Middlemarch in its width of reference, its intellectual power, or the imperturbable spaciousness of its narrative."
--V. S. Pritchett
GEORGE ELIOT (1819-1880 was an English novelist, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She was born Mary Anne Evans, and adopted her male nom de plume so that her works would be taken seriously at a time when women were supposed to write only of “lighthearted” subjects. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Middlemarch, and Daniel Deronda, most of them set in provincial England and known for their observational wit, psychological insight and dramatic realism.