Charlotte Reads Classics

Slowly, slowly, she sipped a sentence.

Tag: Reading Middlemarch

The Lives of Readers

Scenes which make vital changes in our neighbours’ lot are but the background of our own, yet, like a particular aspect of the fields and trees, they become associated for us with the epochs of our own history, and make a part of that unity which lies in the selection of our keenest consciousness.

 

I came across this, my favourite Middlemarch quotes, and wanted to share it with you today. I think it can say a lot about not just our individual lives, but about our experiences as readers.

Just a little post, as there is cinnamon and orange baking away in the oven. Hope everyone’s Christmas plans are going smoothly.

 

Slow Paths, Scenic Route

With just one day off before Christmas Day, things are getting pretty manic. I am still reading Middlemarch, albeit incredibly slowly, but I am enjoying savouring these small dips in and out of the tangled lives of this provincial town. A great touch has been reading Lydgate’s visits to various important members of the community whilst on my own daily journeys. These are quiet moments, away from  busy modern life, a lifeline to a bit of peace.

Not that the lives of the characters in Middlemarch were necessarily peaceful, of course. I had planned to write a beginner’s guide to the reform bill of 1832, although finding the time has been impossible. Ever so briefly, the bill was the turning point in gaining equality in politics and had been a long time coming – ever since the French Revolution. Here are some things that happened because of it:

  • People able to vote almost doubled
  • Power of voting given to those lower in social/economic classes (but still only the rich middle classes)
  • Members of Parliament were redistributed to correspond to the population

Reading very briefly into this means I’ll be keeping an eye out for the rising middle classes in Middlemarch. And hopefully the political part will make more sense. I really enjoyed all your comments about the male/female narrator and George Eliot, they are certainly fuel for thought.

Up tomorrow – a new discovery I’ve very high hopes for…

Hear of Things So High and Strange

15

Mrs James Guthrie by Frederic Lord Leighton

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.