For ‘classic Victorian novel’ book reading groups: it’s time to revisit ‘Middlemarch’

Middlemarch by George EliotLast night, I put down my well-thumbed copy of that classic, that almost archetypal Victorian novel, Middlemarch by George Eliot.  Though some may have others as their favourite Victorian novelist, and Dickens, Trollope and even Henry James must run her close, Eliot has a quality of writing that sets her apart.  Going even further, I believe Middlemarch is the best of her novels.  And yet it was only twenty years ago I first read this story of English provincial life at a time when Reform was the political battlefield, rival theories of evolution divided the people and the railways were cutting swathes through the countryside (and the cities): a period Eliot knew from personal experiences she could draw on as she wrote her book in the early 1870s. Read more ...