Middlemarch: A Book Someone Recommended to Me That I Love (Classic Remarks)

Classic Remarks


Classic Remarks is a meme hosted here at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.


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What classic do you read—and love—because it was recommended to you?

Star Divider

I first read George Eliot’s Middlemarch on the recommendation of a college professor. At the time, I had never read anything written by Eliot and really had no idea who she was–even though I loved reading Victorian novels. She was just one of those names I heard all the time, but never looked into. However, I liked this professor and trusted his recommendations, so I picked up Middlemarch to see what it was all about. I would be blown away by its vision and its power.

Middlemarch is one of those books that deftly ties together the fates of a large handful of individuals, illustrating how the rich and the poor, the old and the young are are all tied together in one rural community. The main characters are arguably Dorothea Brooke–an idealistic young woman who throws herself away in a loveless marriage, believing her husband will give her the power to do good that society denies her as a woman–and Dr. Lydgate, Dorothea’s mirror–an idealistic young doctor who finds his values being eroded away by a small-minded wife and society. However, the scope of the book encompasses a large range of characters, showing how their actions create ripple effects throughout the community. The book becomes an extended commentary on the nature of love, the role of the individual in society and in family life, and the social pressures that shape those individuals.

Middlemarch is a large book, and its size can be intimidating. However, Eliot’s astute sense of character, her ability to balance the stories of a large cast, and her keen social observations all make it worth picking up. She is a master of the Victorian novel–and one not to be overlooked.

22 thoughts on “Middlemarch: A Book Someone Recommended to Me That I Love (Classic Remarks)

  1. Amber says:

    Middlemarch is one of those books I think about rereading because I read it in college under duress and feel like I may have a better experience now. I think that intimidating size you mentioned is one of the things putting me off picking it up again. 😛 Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!


    • Krysta says:

      Yes! I keep thinking I should reread it, but I feel like I could knock five books off my TBR list instead of reading it! But I do want to return to it again one day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mphtheatregirl says:

    I also was recommended classics- by my dad.

    He was the only who recommended “Tale of Two Cities”, “Great Expectations”, and “Don Quixote”. Loved them all

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Charles Dickens is one my favorite authors. However, I have never been able to make it all the way through Don Quixote. I’ll have to try again one day!


      • mphtheatregirl says:

        A lot of these classics- I had a deadline. Meaning I read them in between semesters when I was still in college.

        I don’t know what came first: reading Don Quixote or watching Man of La Mancha (the musical of Don Quixote). I did Don Quixote as a project for a college Spanish class


        • Krysta says:

          I was supposed to read all of Don Quixote in Spanish for a class, but I didn’t have the time, so I just read the beginning and the end. Oops!


          • mphtheatregirl says:

            I really hate required reading- all because you are forced to read books not at your own speed, but the teachers


            • Krysta says:

              I think the real problem is that most students are typically taking a bunch of classes, and some teachers assign work as if students only have THEIR class to worry about. But I think it comes from a good place. They just want to get through their curriculum in the time allotted to them.


              • mphtheatregirl says:

                That is why required reading can be difficult. I was always more of a student in high school/college.

                At Fletcher- we would be taking the same classes all year long. As opposed to Gardner Webb- when we switched classes in the middle of the year.


  3. BookerTalk says:

    My absolute most favourite classic. I’ve read it now about six times and still find something new each time I read it. Eliot’s narrative has so many themes its astonishing – interconnectedness of every human being, science, ambition, loyalty – I could go on and on…..


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