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.
papa? – I think it would be better to write to him.’ She blushed and looked at him as the garden flowers look at us when we walk forth happily among them in the transcendent evening light: is there not a soul beyond utterance, half-nymph, half-child, in those delicate petals which glow and breathe about the centres of deep colour? He touched her ear and a little bit of neck under it with his lips, and they sat quite still for many minutes which flowed by them like a small gurgling brook with the
public details urged upon him; but he spoke more cheerfully than usual, when Dorothea asked about his fatigue, and added with that air of formal effort which never forsook him even when he spoke without his waistcoat and cravat – ‘I have had the gratification of meeting my former acquaintance, Dr Spanning, to-day, and of being praised by one who is himself a worthy recipient of praise. He spoke very handsomely of my late tractate on the Egyptian Mysteries, – using, in fact, terms which it would
shall want help by-and-by. And Alfred must go off to the engineering – I’ve made up my mind to that.’ He fell into meditation and finger rhetoric again for a little while, and then continued: – ‘I shall make Brooke have new agreements with the tenants, and I shall draw up a rotation of crops. And I’ll lay a wager we can get fine bricks out of the clay at Bott’s corner. I must look into that: it would cheapen the repairs. It’s a fine bit of work, Susan! A man without a family would be glad to do
supposes you will never think well of him again.’ ‘I have been disappointed in Fred,’ said Mrs Garth, with decision. ‘But I shall be ready to think well of him again when he gives me good reason to do so.’ At this point Mary went out of the room, taking Letty with her. ‘Oh, we must forgive young people when they’re sorry,’ said Caleb, watching Mary close the door. ‘And as you say, Mr Farebrother, there was the very devil in that old man. Now Mary’s gone out, I must tell you a thing – it’s only
varying experiments of Time, has not dwelt, at least briefly, on the life of Saint Theresa,1 has not smiled with some gentleness at the thought of the little girl walking forth one morning hand-in-hand with her still smaller brother, to go and seek martyrdom in the country of the Moors? Out they toddled from rugged Avila, wide-eyed and helpless-looking as two fawns, but with human hearts, already beating to a national idea; until domestic reality met them in the shape of uncles, and turned them