It is hard to ‘review’ George Eliot’s Middlemarch. At nearly 800 pages it cannot really be compressed or distilled into easy parts. In fact, it’s great strength is that it is a profoundly inconvenient novel to modern readers. It took me a full 450 pages to see how the two basic halves of her story- town and country- would come together in any fashion other than proximity. That is not to say the book wanders or dithers (as I am prone to think most Dicken’s novels do), rather it takes time to consider- vis-a-vis a plethora of memorable characters- the full sweep of parochial England poised on the edge of The Reform Bill. Moreover, Eliot’s prose is adroitly self-conscious: she is ironic with out being bitter or compromising a basic sympathy towards humanity. She affords her self the time and space to both consider the ramifications of human choice on other humans but also gently check, glosses, and reproofs her characters. I could go on, and perhaps later will, but really it is hard to say anything other than it is the quintessential Victorian Novel.