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.

19 comments:

Danielle said...

Hmm. I have Middlemarch sitting on my bookshelf...and I am trying to figure out what classic to read next...

Gaelicgrl said...

I don't think I'll join you but I'll read about your journey.

I spent so many years reading classics that my attention is now upon nonfiction and more recent fiction. At least, I think it is. Until tomorrow, at least :-)

patricia said...

Oh I love you, no matter what!

Your posts are always thoughtful, entertaining, witty, engaging... need I go on?

However, you will have to march on with Middlemarch without me; I'm still struggling with Bleak House, for heaven's sake! And dipping into some delicious Auster, too. But I will read and enjoy your Middlemarch madness.

Middlemarch is one of my mother's favourite novels, and she has often recommended I read it. I trust my mother's judgement, and yours. In time, I will read it.

rachel said...

Isabella! I'm with you! I'll read it too! Why the hell not?!? (besides the feact that I have a novel to REWRITE! Feh!)

I've read it, of course, and have long considered it one of the key novels that made me what I am today (don't ask me to list the others -- that would require thought!). I would be interested to see how it holds up, after a decade away. More than a decade. Jebus I'm old!

Oh, and I'm definitely E). But with a smattering of D), because, well, you know. I mock because I love.

Diana said...

Oh, E, and you know it.

Thanks for the online link! I had my own copy rattling around for about five years. I must have finally gotten tired of it mocking me because it's nowhere to be found. Then I reserved a copy at my library. All they have to do is transport it from the downtown library to the branch one (FIVE miles away!) and I know it was at the downtown one because I was just there several weeks ago and I visited it to make sure (sometimes what's in the computer isn't always on the shelf, you know). It's been over a week and they still have not done this.

I also have tapes of this book but God knows where my Walkman is.

I'll start with the online one. :)

sfp said...

Middlemarch is a fantastic novel and you two are going to love it!

Raehan said...

I read you. I love your posts.

I would love to read Middlemarch with you, even though I have Anna Karenina on my nightstand.

Let me try to find my copy of Middlemarch.

Suzanne said...

Since it's becoming apparent that I am never again going to finish another book in my lifetime, I'll live vicariously through you once more.

Ella said...

Isabella, I'd love to join in on the Middlemarch quest! I have a great copy that's just crying out to be read.

And I read your site every day! I hope I'll be able to write reviews half as good as yours when my kid is three, wearing ruffled pink pants and asking me to read the dictionary to him.

Kimberly said...

I'm still reading and enjoying your blog. I haven't had much energy for commenting recently; sorry.

I'd love to join you, Diana, et al reading Middlemarch, but I'm not sure how well the thoughtful reading of a classic will fit with starting a new job in the next month. I may have to read at my own pace beginning in May.

Isabella said...

Oh, my. Of course, I didn't mean to chastise any of you lovely people, who comment here when inspired to do so. I meant the others (you know who you are).

But, oh, goody. I think a Middlemarch blog is in order. I'm working to meet a deadline today, but details and emails to follow, sometime this weekend, probably.

piksea said...

I can't believe that this is the first time I've been to your site. I see links to you on many of my daily book blogs. I'll definitely be back.

I've only heard wonderful things about Middlemarch. I tried to read it a couple of years ago, but never really got started. I think I own a copy now. I'll have to go pull it and try to read along with you.

rachel said...

I'm pointing my folks in your direction. Not sure if any will actually join us, however. BUT I think we all need to watch the BBC version after we're through! Because it's excellent, and because Rufus Sewell is very very hot as Will Ladislaw (he seems to get typecast as a villian in everything else he's in...)

Also, I would like to apologise in advance for being a smartypants and a hog. I will try to curb my tendency to both, but when I inevitably fail... sorry. I try.

iwonka said...

you mean you meant to chastise me? who loves and reads you no matter what?

martha said...

I'm in, once I finish The Great Fire ( Shirley Hazzard), which should be in a couple of days.

martha said...

Oh, and also, E. I love you no matter what.

Lazy cow said...

I enjoy your blog, probably vistit weekly. Your book reviews are wonderfully written.
I read Middlemarch last year and it's one of my favourite novels. I'm planning on reading more Eliot this year if possible. Will be interested in hearing what you think of it.

kimbofo said...

Ok. I've thought about whether I should read this for two days now. I even dreamt about it last night. So please count me in. I've just ordered a secondhand copy online for 10p (!!) so I should be able to start reading by this time next week. (Though progress might be slow - what with full time job, my own book club and all the other time-consuming tasks that fill my life.)

© 2003-2007 M-mv said...

Middlemarch ranks as one of my top ten books one must read. Period. I hope you'll love it, too.

As for whether or not anyone reads your blog, I do, and I appreciate the sidebar nod, too.

Best regards,

MFS