Thursday, March 02, 2006

Middlemarch reading

As mentioned, I'm about to embark on George Eliot's Middlemarch. Diana has already bravely agreed to accompany me on this journey. Anyone else?

Email me, or leave a comment below, if you're interested in joining us. Because it's nice to have a group of people to turn to for encouragement, questions, comments, clarifications, insight. This is an unstructured approach to get 'round to reading a "great book," to see what all the fuss is about. Read at your own pace!

(The text is available online; I picked up a bargain copy a while ago.)

If responses warrant, I'll set up a separate blog à la last year's Don Quixote project, where readers can post their thoughts, raise questions, link to background material, etc. Or else I'll just bombard you all with my own progress here.

Heck, does anyone even read this blog anymore? Now would be a good time to leave a comment: click on "comments" at the bottom of the post (Oh wait, it says "fish" — is that what confused you?) and type. (This includes you, Iwonka.) Let me know if:
A. I bore you, utterly and completely.
B. You have no interest whatsoever in reading Middlemarch for yourself but yearn for the vicarious thrill of my interpreting every sentence.
C. You wish I'd take my attempts at critical analysis elsewhere.
D. You've read Middlemarch and can't wait to see me make a fool of myself.
E. You love me, no matter what.

While I hope to finish Middlemarch before October, I do intend to give it a considered reading, pencil in hand (that is, I won't be rushing through it this weekend; this should take me well past the middle of March).

I have thus far read the prelude and two whole pages of Chapter One. So far, so good. I'm motivated. This book is now at the right time and place for me.

That Spanish woman who lived three hundred years ago, was certainly not the last of her kind. Many Theresas have been born who found for themselves no epic life wherein there was a constant unfolding of far-resonant action; perhaps only a life of mistakes, the offspring of a certain spiritual grandeur ill-matched with the meanness of opportunity; perhaps a tragic failure which found no sacred poet and sank unwept into oblivion. With dim lights and tangled circumstance they tried to shape their thought and deed in noble agreement; but after all, to common eyes their struggles seemed mere inconsistency and formlessness; for these later-born Theresas were helped by no coherent social faith and order which could perform the function of knowledge for the ardently willing soul. Their ardor alternated between a vague ideal and the common yearning of womanhood; so that the one was disapproved as extravagance, and the other condemned as a lapse.
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