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Old 20th Apr 2007, 20:14   #16
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Join Date: 4 Apr 2007
Location: California, USA
Posts: 99
Default Re: George Eliot: Middlemarch

It is with great sadness that I have turned the last page of “Middlemarch”. What a beautiful, rich novel that is. I cannot even recall the last time a book drew me so completely in, the last time I so cared for the characters involved.

Ms. Eliot’s “Middlemarch” is a true masterpiece – everything a book should be. It is large in scope, with perfectly developed characters (both major and minor), written with much compassion and keen observations of the times and place, which they inhabited. It is witty and clever, full of subtle commentaries on provincial life in England, the role of women in society, morality, politics, the effects of industrialization on rural communities, and so much more.

In its core, however, Middlemarch is a book about a small town and its inhabitants. As any other town, Middlemarch is populated by all types of characters. Some are good and honorable; others have questionable pasts or motives. Some are shallow and bound by tradition and societal expectations; others are determined to break free and defy those same expectation. Thanks to Eliot’s intelligent and compassionate writing, however, we are allowed to feel the weaknesses of the good and the goodness in the wicked. As the author has so much sympathy for all of her characters, it is difficult for the reader not to sympathize as well.

The book is rich, multilayered, and thought provoking, yet it is very readable. Eliot possessed tremendous psychological insight into human nature and her characters in turn are so real, I kept thinking – I know a Rosamond, or Mrs. Cadwallader sounds just like my old neighbor. For the past several weeks I felt as though I was living in close proximity with those characters and cared deeply about what happened to them. I certainly look forward to re-reading the book and to getting even more out of it the second time around.

Every once in a while, we as readers are rewarded with a reading experience of the highest order and reminded what good literature is all about. Middlemarch was one such experience for me, and as I am not very well read in the classics, it now occupies the number one spot on my list of most loved novels of all time.

I only skimmed through the posts in this thread and though they were written a couple of years ago, I am left with the impression that people had only a lukewarm reaction to the book. I will go back and read them now to see what some of you disliked about the book. I welcome any comments from members who have read the book recently and not posted here yet.
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