Hey all! Things might be a little quiet on the blog front, but that’s because other aspects of life have demanded more attention than usual. I am starting a new job tomorrow for which I am quite excited, but nervous too. I had worked in my previous position for three and a half years, so it will take some time adjusting to the newness of it all.
I am still reading Middlemarch and expect that I will be reading it for some time to come. My edition is 766 pages and I am on page 253.
One of my favorite aspects of George Eliot’s writing is the way she seems intent on showing all sides of a situation, acquainting the reader with why each character behaves the way he or she does. It’s like Eliot divines what the reader’s conceptions of a particular character are and then says ‘oh ho, so you think you have this character pegged? Take another look, and see how hastily you have judged.’
Indeed, in the chapter I am about to read next, Chapter 29, Eliot starts with:
One morning, some weeks after her arrival at Lowick, Dorothea – but why always Dorothea? Was her point of view the only possible one with regard to this marriage? . . . Mr. Casaubon [Dorothea’s husband] had an intense consciousness within him, and was spiritually a-hungered like the rest of us.
Throughout most of the book thus far, Dorothea has appeared like a favorite among the author’s array of characters and Mr. Casaubon as a passive antagonist. However, Eliot’s writing reins in what may be some fondness for particular characters with passages like the one above.
There’s a kind of fairness of portrayal in Middlemarch that I don’t see often in novels, at least not to this level. And it is a fairness that doesn’t overlook flaws, or skip opportunities for satire or sharp humor. I don’t think Eliot is trying to make you ‘like’ all the characters or think that they are all good. She’s just making sure the reader understands them.
I haven’t studied George Eliot, so I don’t know her philosophies on writing: her writing may not be about ‘being fair’ or spreading understanding. It may be her way of entertainingly dissecting and illuminating the workings of people in society – how their feelings, motivations and worldviews ricochet off each other and turn into actions and decisions that affect other persons, in an ever-rippling chain.
Whatever it is, I like it and maybe my slower pace in reading reflects a subconscious desire to dwell in the world of Middlemarch for a while yet.
I’ve been planning to read Middlemarch this year for my own challenge to read 19 books older than myself. I had chosen to read it this month due to the Middlemarch Readalong hosted by Ana of Things Mean A Lot. The Readalong took place last week, so I’ve missed it unfortunately, but I’m glad I took it on now anyway. It’s been a good companion in my time of career transition.
5 responses to “Blog Update”
I’ve never read Eliot, although I’ve just added Middlemarch to the old reading list. I hope you enjoy it as you get further through it.
“It’s like Eliot divines what the reader’s conceptions of a particular character are and then says ‘oh ho, so you think you have this character pegged? Take another look, and see how hastily you have judged.’”
Yes, exactly! I loved that too 🙂
Congratulations on the job! I hope you have an easy transition! 🙂
I have just the finale to read and I will be all done with Middlemarch. I agree. I like how Eliot writes about each character.
Good luck on the new position.
Good luck with the new job. And I’m so impressed with all of you who are tackling Middlemarch, it scares me! 🙂