Just In Time – Middlemarch is Finished


Middlemarch by George EliotLast week I thought I had a week and a half to read 350 pages of this very dense book. No, the book club meeting is tonight, not next week. So as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been reading Middlemarch. I was able to finish it at lunch today.

The last third helps make up for the slowness of the first half. I still think Eliot is too preachy in the first half. In the second half she let the characters do more of the proselytizing than the overlooking narrator. That worked better. It was easier to see how self-centered Rosamund actually is – the early third person description didn’t work nearly as well as when her thoughts are revealed later when they are broke.

Of course the biggest issue (which still plagues mankind today and probably always will) is lack of communication. If Causabon had spoken to his wife rather than listened to his own internal pride, he would have known Dorothea only thought of Will as a friend at the time. If she had deeper feelings, they were so deeply buried even she didn’t recognize them. He had not acted on his feelings, either, except the occasional manufactured meetings. The communication lack is true of most of the relationships except Fred and Mary’s. She told him what she expected from him and he tried to live up to it.

There is a line near the end of the book that sums up my feelings about it exactly. Dorothea has learned Will loves her and is waiting around her home trying to keep busy.

“…she found herself reading sentences twice over with an intense consciousness of many things, but not of any one thing contained in the text.”

I couldn’t concentrate on and understand so much of what Eliot was saying despite reading sections two and three times. But it finally came together by the last third, which I appreciated reading.