Introduction and Notes by Doreen Roberts, Rutherford College, University of Kent at Canterbury. Middlemarch is a complex tale of idealism, disillusion, profligacy, loyalty and frustrated love. This penetrating analysis of the life of an English provincial town during the time of social unrest prior to the Reform Bill of 1832 is told through the lives of Dorothea Brooke and Dr Tertius Lydgate and includes a host of other paradigm characters who illuminate the condition of English life in the mid-nineteenth century. Henry James described Middlemarch as a ‘treasurehouse of detail’ while Virginia Woolf famously endorsed George Eliot’s masterpiece as ‘one of the few English novels written for grown-up people.
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