Middlemarch Readalong: Holler Time!

We have another nine days to go before the official end of Part One but I thought I’d holler and ask how everyone’s doing!

I’m up to about 60 pages right now and can’t help but feel a little sorry for Dorothea. I do love how Eliot manages to make her both likable and unlikable at the same time.

I also remembered that it was Zadie Smith’s essay on Middlemarch in Changing My Mind that convinced me that I need to read this! I’ll probably revisit that essay later on.

What made you want to read Middlemarch? I’d love to know!

By the way, when Casaubon says:

But I have discerned in you an elevation of thought and a capability of devotedness, which I had hitherto not conceived to be compatible either with the early bloom of youth or with those graces of sex that may be said at once to win and to confer distinction when combined, as they notably are in you, with the mental qualities above indicated.

What does he mean by “those graces of sex?” Is he referring to Dorothea’s beauty? What a prosy!

(Also, Causabon causes Word to put the wiggly red line underneath it, signaling a potential wrong spelling, but Casaubon doesn’t! Go figure!)

A bit of trivia to end with: Eliot started writing late in her life, and published Adam Bede only when she was 40. I kind of love that.

21 thoughts on “Middlemarch Readalong: Holler Time!

  1. *waves* Eliot started writing late in life because she took care of an ill, aged parent, her father, who was a minister. She published a lovely little book called Scenes of Clerical Life, I believe. Casaubon, what a dry-up stick of a man … I won’t say more. This is a wonderful book and it meant the world to me when I read it in my twenties. I think you’re going to love it.


    • Hi, Miss B! So good to see you in this neck of the woods!

      thanks for sharing that bit about Eliot. Makes me admire her more!

      I guess what I meant was that it’s so, so good to find authors who don’t give a whit about the whole “young genius” archetype and bloom in their own good time!

      “Age doesn’t necessarily bring anything with it, save itself” to quote Maggie Nelson but when it DOES, there’s such a bounty to be unearthed, it feels to me. The breadth and depth of experience comes through in the writing I think.


      • They’re lovely woods! 😉 I read an article once that many women writers, especially before 1960, tended to do their writing after their children were grown. In Evans’s/Eliot’s case, it came after she’d fulfilled her obligation to her father. One of my favourite Canadian writers, Margaret Laurence, did so, after children and a divorce, actually. Have you read her novel, The Diviners, it’s one of my favourites. You’d really like it.


  2. Holler-back!

    Well…I can’t say for certain what page I am up to, (my e-copy doesn’t come any frills – which apparently what page numbers fall into (!)

    Dorathea (Dodo — which is the most awesome-sauce nickname ever) has decided to marry that cold-fish Casaubon — WHHHYYYYYYYYYY???
    He is so AWFUL.
    I am desperately hoping a knight-in-shining shall swoop off with her before the dirty deed is done. (*fingers-crossed*)

    And I have just met Mrs Cadwallader (why are not ALL rector wives this amazing??)

    ‘Such a wife might awaken you some fine morning with a new scheme for the application of her income which would interfere with political economy and the keeping of saddlehorses: a man would naturally think twice before he risked himself in such fellowship.’
    ‘Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.’
    Mr. Brooke wondered, and felt that women were an inexhaustible subject of study, since even he at his age was not in a perfect state of scientific prediction about them. Here was a fellow like Chettam with no chance at all.
    “Oh, Mrs. Cadwallader, I don’t think it can be nice to marry a man with a great soul.”
    “Well, my dear, take warning. You know the look of one now; when the next comes and wants to marry you, don’t you accept him.”
    “I’m sure I never should.”
    “No; one such in a family is enough.


    Valancy: gobbling it up like gingerbread… 🙂


    • Hahaha! I KNOW exactly what you mean about Mrs. Cadwallader! I wouldn’t be surprised if she EXPLODES with energy one of these days! 😛

      And lol–the e-books do make the page seem like a frill, don’t they? 😀

      so glad to have you reading along Miss Valancy!


    • Ah, the foolish Dorothea has picked up her Casaubon cross: was there ever a heroine more willing/wanting/yearning for self-sacrifice? I wanted to slap her and say, “Pick up that cross-stitch, Dodo … not THAT cross.” As for romance heroine potential: can you imagine what kind of love scenes Eliot would have to write for these two?


      • She is so foolishly full of martyrdom and the higher calling of servanthood and sacrifice- I admit to rolling my eyes more than once (or 20 times!)

        Also – love scenes? ha! TOTALLY reminds me of When Harry Met Sally – you know the bit where they’re in the diner?

        Harry Burns: Shel? Sheldon? No, no, you did not have great sex with Sheldon.
        Sally Albright: I did too.
        Harry Burns: No you didn’t. A Sheldon can do your income taxes, if you need a root canal, Sheldon’s your man… but humpin’ and pumpin’ is not Sheldon’s strong suit. It’s the name. ‘Do it to me Sheldon, you’re an animal Sheldon, ride me big Shel-don.’ Doesn’t work.’

        I feel that it would pretty much be the same about Casaubon…

        (totally hi-jacking Juhi’s space – sorry! )

        Liked by 1 person

        • LOL! Bang on target, Miss Valancy!

          She IS so full of martyrdom, isn’t she? I do like it though how Eliot makes it so clear why she is this way though, don’t you?

          And hi-jack away! that was my whole intention with this readalong–to read and discuss to our heart’s content!


      • Lol, I love that. Pick up the cross-stitch rather than the cross, Dodo!

        And a love-scene between these two would make the altar on which Dorothea has placed Casaubon come crashing down, I think. . . she doesn’t refer to passion directly but all that yearning for learning is passion, all right! I’ll find out soon enough!


  3. Pingback: MiddlemarchReadalong: The Quotes Edition | Nooks & Crannies - ’cus they’re perfect for a book lover

  4. I read Middlemarch a number of years ago – it’s really excellent. I think there was a readalong that inspired me to read it though I finished reading it well after the end of the readalong. Enjoy the book!

    Oh also that quote of Casaubon reminded me of the mini-series adaptation. My friend and I howled over Casaubon’s delivery of the line “This visit – may I say – has been more than pleasant.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Juhi, I am kind of behind the curve on the #Marchalong! I started reading it weeks ago, then set it aside for other things, and now I’ve forgotten what I’ve read, LOL. So I’m going back to the beginning. But I’ll be ready with thoughts and a post by the 29th! 🙂


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