If there’s one thing I can say about Middlemarch it’s that it is one looong book. Now, I am someone who read the chunkiest Harry Potter in two days, and all three Lord of the Rings in a week, but this one? Took me about a month. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, because I did, it just made me panic about getting all my books read by the course start date…

Not only is Middlemarch long, but there are a lot of characters. A lot. Some loveable, some nauseating, some dastardly… all distinct. I enjoyed that they were all quite different personalities, in different circumstances, but there is one minor issue I can’t quite get around. Some characters are just not quite believable. Eliot was great at writing men, I found all the male leads convincing and complex. The women in the novel (with, perhaps, the exception of Dorothea) were a little on the two-dimensional side. They seem to represent stereotypes of how women should have thought or behaved which I found surprising considering the gender of the author…

I think, in the back of my mind, I always expect 19th century literature to be a bit of a chore, with embedded narrators, awkward dialects and complex sentence structure (all aimed at making your brain hurt). This book, however, had none of the above. The narrator was consistent throughout, offering an ‘objective’ view of the townspeople and their shenanigans, all speech was clear and easy to understand, and excessive clauses were kept to a minimum. It was a good read, all in all. This is a book that I look forward to studying in my next module (AA316), but I’m glad I can now finally move onto some of my other set books… hopefully those won’t be quite so ‘epic’.


5 thoughts on “Middlemarch

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