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.
(Mary Garth and Fred Vincy)
“No, indeed, father. I don’t love him because he is a fine match.”
“What for, then?”
“Oh, dear, because I have always loved him. I should never like scolding any one else so well; and that is a point to be thought of in a husband.”
-George Eliot, Middlemarch, ch. LXXXVI
Mary and Caleb Garth discussing Fred Vincy. George Eliot you are the best. The very best.
-Will Ladislaw, the original Hipster. From George Eliot’s Middlemarch. Ladislaw and Werther would make a helluva pair. And yes. How perfect is Rufus Sewell as Ladislaw. I feel like the Oxford dude contingent is fully 63% Ladislaw. (The remainder is 17% Tertius Lydgate, 10% Causubon, 5% Sir James Chettam, 4% Fred Vincy, and 1% Mr. Brooke)
— George Eliot, Middlemarch, Chapter 15. W/r/t Tertius Lydgate but applicable to most men in their mid-twenties…aka the oldest 1% on tumblr
— George Eliot, Middlemarch, ch. VI (p. 57-8 in the Oxford World Classic paperback). In all seriousness, I may disagree with Eliot to some degree but this is still basically true for Brits. At least the upper middle class type that one encounters in the Oxford-West London-Home Counties-Cotswold-Lake District orbit. Perhaps because that type of Brit still reads George Eliot.
Anonymous asked: You are the reason people have fantasies about librarians while spending inordinate amounts of time in the stacks.
If a person is stuck in the stacks fantasizing about librarians, I’m assuming it’s because they can’t find their book and need help real...
It takes an ocean not to break.
“Poetry must resemble prose, and both must accept the vocabulary of their time.”— William Butler Yeats on modern poetry in a rare 1936 BBC recording.