Hear of Things So High and Strange
by Charlotte Reads Classics
There is nothing quite like rediscovering an old favourite. Middlemarch is a book I remember being bowled over by. I was expecting a dry, complicated read (as a teenager I was probably put off by the politics) but was captivated by the world and relationships Eliot created. Now, eight years later, I am returning to see how things have changed.
I finished the first book yesterday evening and am happy to report that though I may be different, Dorothea is as readable as ever. The first book is mainly about the sisters, although other characters are introduced towards the end. Thinking about Eliot writing as a man, I enjoyed finding her both cutting of silly women but supportive of the capabilities of others in turn. I think her world view is very sensible and think she’d probably be quite an inspiring woman to have met in the 1870s.
Seeing as the book covers all aspects of life before the First Reform Bill of 1832, it occurs to me that this is a historical event that I should read up on. Something for tomorrow’s post, perhaps.
It definitely makes you think twice about the narrator’s voice–do you imagine it’s a man or a woman? The gender issues raised by the book take on a whole other level of complexity when you think about that fact that Eliot was a woman writing under the guise of a man.
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the gender issue is interesting. I didn’t have that question in mind while reading the book. The next time I reread this book, I should look at the way it’s written by a woman pretending to be a male author.
I read Middlemarch earlier this year. I absolutely loved it.
I started re-reading Middlemarch earlier this month, but I realised that I didn’t have the time to read slowly and thin about it as I should. Thank you for confirming that I’m doing the right thing, waiting for the right moment.
I’m really enjoying it the second time around, as well. I *do* like Dorothea. I wondered at first, but no, I definitely do.
I realize it’s been over 2 decades since I read this. You’re right, looking more carefully at the Reform Bill would be neat.
I haven’t had this in mind while reading either. I’ve always know that Eliot was a woman (it’s always on bookish trivia lists, probably why) so I just take it for granted.
LOVE George Eliot. I’m reading The Mill on the Floss at the mo and loving it – Maggie Tulliver is such a good heroine! There’s definitely an autobiographical element to it too – frustrated clever young woman in small-minded rural England… Such a welcome antidote to the helpless, meek female characters so often present in Victorian literature.
It’s one of my all time favourites – I’ve read it about 8 times now and each time I find something new in it. The gender question is an interesting one. The other aspect that interests me is how she makes fun of her heroine.