George Eliot's Middlemarch - first 7 weeks
George Eliot's Middlemarch (1872) is arguably the greatest novel written in English, and without doubt the greatest novel written by a woman. It provides a trenchant account of a young woman's coming of age in Victorian England; searing representations of four marriages, both successful and less so; an analysis of scientific research and the nature of the medical practice in England in the 19C; and a study of the political and social effects of the Great Reform Bill of 1832. As Virginia Woolf said, "Middlemarch is the only novel ever written for grown-ups." And Frank Kermode concurred, "No writer has ever represented the ambiguities of moral choice so fully."
We will read this 700 page novel in weekly installments, c. 100 pages per week. Core book: any copy of Middlemarch you like.
George Eliot, Middlemarch (Norton Critical Edition, ed. Bert Hornbeck); Gillian Beer, George Eliot ; Kathryn Hughes, George Eliot - The Last Victorian (biography)