George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871-72) is one of the classic novels of English literature and was admired by Virginia Woolf as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people.” The complex main plot and many subplots revolve around Dorothea Brooke, an ardent young woman, and her relationship to three men: Casaubon, a clergyman and scholar twice her age; Lydgate, an ambitious young doctor who shares Dorothea’s enthusiasm for reform but whose flaws compromise his ambitions; and Will Ladislaw, a young man of mysterious origins, romantic temperament, and artistic inclinations. A female Bildungsroman and a study of character and society in the realistic mode pioneered by Balzac, Middlemarch is also an historical novel that offers a panorama of English society in an era of social reform and political agitation. This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction and a rich selection of contextual materials, including contemporary reviews of the novel, other writings by George Eliot (essays, reviews, and criticism), and historical documents pertaining to medical reform, religious freedom, and the advent of the railroads.
A comprehensive introduction to Middlemarch, offering both general information and an original interpretation. It pays considerable attention to the intellectual and social context surrounding Middlemarch, and situates the work within nineteenth-century traditions of the novel in England and Europe. Karen Chase gives particular emphasis to the Woman Question in Middlemarch.
Middlemarch is the prime example of George Eliot's dictum that "interpretations are illimitable," and in this collection of new essays Middlemarch is re-examined as an open text responsive to gaps and fissures, and as resistant to authority as it is to other fixed notions of identity, idealism, and gender. What does the novel omit, and how do the omissions shape what is there? How shall we understand the materiality of the text? What problems does it pose to adaptation? The novel's plasticity becomes a basis for investigation into the multiple forms of expressiveness, and a consideration of how we might plot the patterns linguistically, ideologically, even cinematically. New spaces emerge within character, place, and narrative; what seemed absent or inaccessible assumes shape and definition; Middlemarch remains "Victorian" but it is a Victorianism understood through the dual perspectives of the 19th and 21st centuries. Scholars of George Eliot and students of Victorianism will be engaged by the wide-ranging scope of these essays, which nonetheless build on each other to form a coherent narrative of critical reflections. If there is something for everyone in Middlemarch, there is also something compelling about each of the essays in this collection.
First published in 1984. Although Middlemarch was extravagantly praised by Henry James, Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf, it is only in the last few decades that the novel has been widely recognised as George Eliot’s finest work, one of the greatest English novels, and one of the classic texts of nineteenth-century fiction. The intellectual, religious and aesthetic background to Middlemarch are fully examined, with particular attention paid to Eliot’s key doctrines of fellow-feeling and the humanistic economy of salvation. Professor McSweeney also provides fresh and thought-provoking discussions of the role of the omniscient narrator, and of character and characterisation. This title will be of interest to students of literature.
Author: Gail Rae
Publisher: Research & Education Assoc.
Release Date: 2015-04-24
Genre: Study Aids
REA's MAXnotes for George Eliot's Middlemarch MAXnotes offer a fresh look at masterpieces of literature, presented in a lively and interesting fashion. Written by literary experts who currently teach the subject, MAXnotes will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the work. MAXnotes are designed to stimulate independent thought about the literary work by raising various issues and thought-provoking ideas and questions. MAXnotes cover the essentials of what one should know about each work, including an overall summary, character lists, an explanation and discussion of the plot, the work's historical context, illustrations to convey the mood of the work, and a biography of the author. Each chapter is individually summarized and analyzed, and has study questions and answers.
The focus of the New Casebooks is on modern critical thinking and practice, with the volumes seeking to reflect both the controversy and the excitement of current criticism. Because much of this criticism is difficult and often employs an unfamiliar critical language, editors have been asked to give the reader as much help as they feel is appropriate, but without simplifying the essays or the issues they raise. 'Middlemarch', by common consent one of the most important novels in English, has always stimulated outstanding criticism. This volume presents a range of current ways of looking at 'Middlemarch'.