Author(s): George Eliot
Considered one the masterpieces of realist fiction, George Eliot's novel, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, explores a fictional nineteenth-century Midlands town in the midst of modern changes. 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," the magnificent book which with all its imperfections is one of the few English novels written for grown-up people. Virginia Woolf The most profound, wise and absorbing of English novels . . . and, above all, truthful and forgiving about human behaviour. Hermione Lee "No Victorian novel approaches"Middlemarch"in its width of reference, its intellectual power, or the imperturbable spaciousness of its narrative...I doubt if any Victorian novelist has as much to teach the modern novelists as George Eliot...No writer has ever represented the ambiguities of moral choice so fully." V. S. Pritchett "Middlemarchis probably the greatest English novel." Julian Barnes "It is possible to argue that Middlemarch is the greatest English novel." A. S. Byatt "Certainly the greatest [English] novel." Martin Amis "
George Eliot (b. Mary Ann Evans Cross) was born on November 22, 1819 at Arbury Farm, Warwickshire, England. She received an ordinary education and, upon leaving school at the age of sixteen, embarked on a program of independent study to further her intellectual growth. The death of her father in 1849 left her with a small legacy and the freedom to pursue her literary inclinations. In 1851, she became the assistant editor of the Westminster Review, a position she held for three years. Her first book, Scenes of a Clerical Life (1858), was followed by Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), and Middlemarch (1872). On May 6, 1880, she married John Cross, a friend of long standing, and after a brief illness she died on December 22 of that year, in London. Rebecca Mead is a staff writer at the New Yorker. She is the author of One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding and My Life in Middlemarch, a widely acclaimed memoir about how Middlemarch has shaped her life.