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Old 24th Jul 2004, 14:52   #11
John Self
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerkass
First, I find all of the sections in which Eliot stops to explain, "This is how things were back then," to be quite helpful, although I wonder if those sections would have bored her audience at the time. ... It's hard not to suspect that Eliot might have included these sections with an eye toward future generations of readers.
No doubt; but isn't it also the case that Middlemarch is an historical novel, published in 1871 but set around 1830 (and so actually pre-Victorian)? It's tempting for us - I certainly do - to presume that anything written more than 100 years ago must have been describing the society of that time, and finer distinctions of a few decades here and there become lost. So Eliot could also have been telling her late 19th century readers what things were like in the early 19th century. It's interesting to think that, for example, if Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day (published in the 1980s but set in the 1940s) or Patrick McGrath's Asylum (published in the 1990s but set in the 1950s) are still being read in the early 22nd century, readers of that time will probably think of them as contemporary novels of their time.

I say all this is a Middlemarch ignoramus and am open to accusations of damn-foolery.
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Old 24th Jul 2004, 18:12   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self
No doubt; but isn't it also the case that Middlemarch is an historical novel, published in 1871 but set around 1830 (and so actually pre-Victorian)? It's tempting for us - I certainly do - to presume that anything written more than 100 years ago must have been describing the society of that time, and finer distinctions of a few decades here and there become lost. So Eliot could also have been telling her late 19th century readers what things were like in the early 19th century.
Can't say I've noticed any particular reference to a date, but I'm quite willing to believe that I've made exactly the mistaken presumption you describe. Your description makes perfect sense, in fact.

Perhaps that lengthy 'Foreword' thingy might have come in handy...
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Old 28th Jul 2004, 0:26   #13
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That lenghty 'Foreword' thingy always seems like a good idea when approaching a classic, but invariably ends up spoiling the ending. So i always read them at the end.
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Old 15th Aug 2004, 16:17   #14
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Still ploughing through Middlemarch, and, with less than 100 pages to go, I think I safely can declare that Eliot might have spared a few hundred less pages on this one, as I much as I am (or at least had been, before I started opening every reading session with a despairing check of the amount of pages left to read before I could move on to something else in life) enjoying it.
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Old 16th Aug 2004, 10:10   #15
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That's two or three weeks now. Keep plugging away, it does end sometime.
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Old 20th Apr 2007, 19:14   #16
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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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Old 23rd Apr 2007, 18:23   #17
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Default Re: George Eliot: Middlemarch

And the news is that Andrew Davies is going to adapt Middlemarch (again but much shorter) for a film version by Sam Mendes. I am unconvinced that it is possible to render the story any justice in such a format: what do you think?
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Old 23rd Apr 2007, 18:44   #18
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Default Re: George Eliot: Middlemarch

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And the news is that Andrew Davies is going to adapt Middlemarch (again but much shorter) for a film version by Sam Mendes. I am unconvinced that it is possible to render the story any justice in such a format: what do you think?
Col, I agree. I haven't seen the Masterpiece Theater adaptation and I am not sure I would want to see it or the new film.

I am generally not one to see movies based on books if I've read the book and liked it. I think that would apply even more so to Middlemarch. The book is so rich and complex that naturally a lot of the minior characters and events would have to be dropped to make it into a reasonable lenght film. To me, however, it was all those minor characters and dialog that made the book so special.

In all honesty, I don't even understand why anyone would want to make a book of that caliber into a feature film. The idea is lost on me. I don't believe it would work.
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Old 23rd Apr 2007, 19:44   #19
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Default Re: George Eliot: Middlemarch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colyngbourne View Post
And the news is that Andrew Davies is going to adapt Middlemarch (again but much shorter) for a film version by Sam Mendes. I am unconvinced that it is possible to render the story any justice in such a format: what do you think?
I think it is a very bad idea. The BBC version wasn't too bad, but anything shorter seems like a recipie for disaster.
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Old 23rd Apr 2007, 20:27   #20
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Default Re: George Eliot: Middlemarch

I like the 1994 BBC Middlemarch very much - at six hours, fifteen minutes, they had an appropriate amount to time to tell the story of so many characters as fully as they needed to.
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