Middlemarch is an epic book, it is a wonderful book, and it is one of the first books I’ve read in a long time where I’m fairly certain that I’ll read it again. George Eliot is not only an amazing writer, but her insight into human nature is unbelievable.
It took me a long time to read this book, we moved and it is now the theme of the move for me in some ways, I’ll forever associate leaving Portland for a new place with Middlemarch. The book is about a small village in nineteenth century England and the people that populate it. You see Dorothea Brooke, so young at the beginning and even though not many years pass as we follow her journey, she has aged and learned by the end. Her faith in people and the goodness of people is amazing and how harsh she is on herself is relatable.
As Miss Brooke marries, finds out what marriage is and strives to do her duty, we follow her and those around her on the journey. At the same time there is intrigue with jealousy and difficulty. Eliot nails so many emotions and human experiences and understands how they manifest themselves it’s a profound look into the experience of two people, Miss Brooke and her opposite in so many ways, Rosamund Vincy.
And it is the every day life that is so telling about how these people relate to each other, the hierarchy in their village, and the way in which they work, or if they have enough money, don’t work. The book becomes about marriage and that relationship, we see two marriages that are completely different in both the expectations of those in them and the way in which the fortunes of the couples works out.
At some point, I’ll be making my way back to Middlemarch, to savor the writing, but also to find out what else I see in these women, these women that Eliot created and fascinate me.
We cannot be sure that any natures, however inflexible or peculiar, will resist this effect from a more massive being than their own. They may be taken by storm and for the moment converted, becoming part of the soul which enwraps them in the ardour of its movement. (p. 713)