Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Middlemarch - George Eliot

Date of Reading: 18/10/2007
Author: George Eliot
Subtitle: A Study of Provincial Life
Publisher: Collier Books
Place: New York
Year: 1962

         Most of the Indian Universities include this in their curriculum, but mine is an exempted one. This is lucky as we have enough worries without this horribly boring book adding to the burden. Well, that's the case of all Eliot's works. They look downright dry but if you can finish it, then the aura will never leave. I still remember even the character names, which is unusual. And the dying scene of Casaubon, with Dorothea running towards the garden ready to give the promise, lingers in the mind too.
          Middlemarch is a province in Britain and the life of its people is the theme of the novel (as you can imagine 'people' here applies only to the upper class gentry). 
         Mr. Brook is an unmarried gentleman and his two nieces -- Dorothea and Celia -- lives with him. Book opens with a description of Dorothea, about her simple, puritanic and high religious nature. Sir Chettam, their neighbour has his eyes on her as a prospective wife, but she marries Casaubon, a clergy man of wealth and high knowledge who is old enough to be her father. Chettam later marries Celia.
         Lydgate is the doctor in the town and he marries Rosamond Vincy, the mayor's daughter against her father's objections. Soon his bride's extravaganza makes him bankrupt. Fred, Rosamond's brother is in love with Mary Garth, the estate manager's daughter; but she won't have a good-for-nothing fellow like Fred. In order to win her consent he begins to work for her father and makes some money. They marry and have three sons   in the course of the novel.
          After an year of not-so-pleasant marriage life Casaubon dies leaving his wealth to Dorothea with the strange condition that she should not marry his cousin Will Ladislaw. At this point there comes a man called Raffles and he blackmails Bulstrode, Vincy's brother-in-law. His first wife was Ladislaw's grandmother who had a daughter -- Sarrah -- in the first marriage. Their wealth was amassed through crimes and on finding this Sarrah leaves home and marries Will's father. Bulstrode keeps her dwelling place a secret, inherits his wife's money and comes to Middlemarch after her death.
          Now Raffles stirs the past again and the word spreads; Will won't take any part of that evil wealth. So when Raffles dies everyone thinks Bulstrode has something to do with it and he is forced to flee from Middlemarch with his wife. 
         Dorothea comes to the rescue of Lydgate and pays off his debts. He dies at the age of fifty leaving behind four children; Rosamond marries another wealthy physician. And for Dorothea, she marries Will Ladislaw disregarding the condition in the will  and consequently loses her position as the heiress. They move to London and at the end of the novel they have a son.


1 comment:

  1. I guess, too many characters complicate the reading part. But, loved conservative Dorothea's character :)
    That was a nice n honest review.


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