Making masterful use of a counter pointed plot, Eliot presents the stories of a number of denizens of a small English town on the eve of the Reform Bill of 1832. The main characters, Dorothea Brooke and Tertius Lydgate, each long for exceptional lives but are powerfully constrained by their own unrealistic expectations as well as conservative society. The novel is notable for its deep psychological insight and sophisticated character portraits.
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What an amazing novel! The last line says it all, but you have to weave through a dizzying array of characters and plots to get there. I read this in college, enjoyed it, and have always carried the professor's advice to read it again in middle age. Now, I have dutifully and gratefully completed by final college assignment almost thirty years later. Many will say the book is too long or boring, but we who have read it can see that they just don't get it.
While I appreciate that this download was free, there are far too many typos. George Eliot would be irritated.
One of the best Victorian novels
Yes, it's long and it contains references to English Reform Bills and the like which Americans may find obscure, but "Middlemarch" is rich in wonderful characters, wisdom, wit and beautifully written prose. As with all great novels, you become very attached to the characters, who, despite how different their lives are from our modern lives, are so full of human folly and nobility that you don't want your acquaintance with them to end. A masterpiece.