Middlemarch (Penguin Classics)
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George Eliot's Victorian masterpiece: a magnificent portrait of a provincial town and its inhabitants
George Eliot’s novel, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, explores a fictional nineteenth-century Midlands town in the midst of modern changes. The proposed Reform Bill promises political change; the building of railroads alters both the physical and cultural landscape; new scientific approaches to medicine incite public division; and scandal lurks behind respectability. The quiet drama of ordinary lives and flawed choices are played out in the complexly portrayed central characters of the novel—the idealistic Dorothea Brooke; the ambitious Dr. Lydgate; the spendthrift Fred Vincy; and the steadfast Mary Garth. The appearance of two outsiders further disrupts the town’s equilibrium—Will Ladislaw, the spirited nephew of Dorothea’s husband, the Rev. Edward Casaubon, and the sinister John Raffles, who threatens to expose the hidden past of one of the town’s elite. Middlemarch displays George Eliot’s clear-eyed yet humane understanding of characters caught up in the mysterious unfolding of self-knowledge. This Penguin Classics edition uses the second edition of 1874 and features an introduction and notes by Eliot-biographer Rosemary Ashton. In her introduction, Ashton discusses themes of social change in Middlemarch, and examines the novel as an imaginative embodiment of Eliot's humanist beliefs.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
it, would have made me act differently.’ The words came out like a cry: it was evident that they were the voice of some mental experience which lay not very far off. ‘Sit down,’ she added, placing herself on the nearest chair, and throwing off her bonnet and gloves, with an instinctive discarding of formality where a great question of destiny was concerned. ‘What you say now justifies my own view,’ said Lydgate. ‘I think it is one’s function as a medical man to hinder regrets of that sort as
more indifferent and impersonal to me than second marriage. It is no more to me than if you talked of women going fox-hunting: whether it is admirable in them or not, I shall not follow them. Pray let Mrs Cadwallader amuse herself on that subject as much as on any other.’ ‘My dear Mrs Casaubon,’ said Lady Chettam, in her stateliest way, ‘you do not, I hope, think there was any allusion to you in my mentioning Mrs Beevor. It was only an instance that occurred to me. She was step-daughter to Lord
to give up for to-day, and it will be as well. Here, take the things before you on the horse, Tom. They’ll see you coming, and they’ll turn back.’ ‘I’m glad I happened to be here at the right moment, Mr Garth,’ said Fred, as Tom rode away. ‘No knowing what might have happened if the cavalry had not come up in time.’ ‘Ay, ay, it was lucky,’ said Caleb, speaking rather absently, and looking towards the spot where he had been at work at the moment of interruption. ‘But – deuce take it – this is
successful career while staying aloof from the petty politics of Middlemarch. In an extraordinarily sustained piece of imaginative analysis, George Eliot shows him becoming compromised by a combination of external circumstances and personal weaknesses. Lydgate scorns to exercise tact in his dealings with his rivals, the established doctors and apothecaries of Middlemarch. Some of the best choric scenes in the novel present the medical establishment making fresh alliances in order to repel the
by living up an entry with a drab58 and six children for their establishment, but also those less marked vicissitudes which are constantly shifting the boundaries of social intercourse, and begetting new consciousness of interdependence. Some slipped a little down-ward, some got higher footing: people denied aspirates, gained wealth, and fastidious gentlemen stood for boroughs; some were caught in political currents, some in ecclesiastical, and perhaps found themselves surprisingly grouped in