hosted by Bex at An Armchair by the Sea
Last week one of those Facebook Memories popped up for me, and I had to laugh. It was from 2012, and guess what book I was reading? Then, this morning, it happened again! It seems that in July 2009 I was posting about Middlemarch on Facebook. I wonder what page I was on?
No matter how many times I read Middlemarch, I am newly enthralled with every reading.
This time around I am writing more in the margins, especially since I am now way ahead of the read along schedule. I honestly can't stop reading.
Chapter 15 properly introduces the overarching metaphor of the web. In constructing Middlemarch as a panoramic narrative, Eliot pays attention to numerous intersecting lives and fortunes, introducing multiple characters, each with their own subplot. But there are parallels; questions of love and marriage, and finding the perfect mate; questions of work and vocation, finding the work that will fulfill the worker and contribute something to the larger world. Here is the narrator speaking directly to the reader about her purpose:
I at least have so much to do in unravelling certain human lots, and seeing how they were woven and interwoven, that all the light I can command must be concentrated on this particular web, and not dispersed over that tempting range of relevancies called the universe.But of course, the reader will have noticed, Middlemarch is compelling in part because it is universal, Eliot seems to be able to see directly into the human heart, and she does so with compassion and humor.
So: poor Tertius Lydgate! He has come to Middlemarch to do important work and to escape the distractions of London and London society! Ha! He has walked directly into the web of the most adorable spider in Middlemarch. Rosamund Vincy has one purpose: to capture husband who is somewhat above her circle of admirers in Middlemarch, and in walks Tertius Lydgate, nephew to a Baronet! He is exactly what Rosamund thinks she wants. And Lydgate sees in Rosamund a rest from the cares of the world, a adorable and adoring beauty who will soothe him at the end of a long day.
Did anyone else think that Lydgate and Dorothea would have been remarkably well-suited?
I know, I know: you're all team Will!
Dorothea is paying dearly for her bad decision in accepting Mr. Casaubon's marriage proposal. He's ghastly! She's married to a mummy and living in a mausoleum.
Casaubon is beastly. He is devastatingly selfish, and doesn't know it. He is punishing, harsh, vindictive, and has no soul. It is so painful to contemplate Dorothea's future life as his partner. At times I get frustrated with Dorothea's self-abnegating, sacrificial approach to life with Casaubon. She is beginning to understand who and what Casaubon is, but she's still willing to sacrifice her every pleasure and every joy to his "work". But she's beginning to resent him for it: how can she not?
I hope other readers are getting as much pleasure out of Middlemarch as I am. I'm eager to hear what you're thinking!