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George Eliot's most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community.
Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past.
As their stories interweave, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as 'one of the few English novels written for adult people'. Middlemarch explores nearly all matters of concern to modern life, portraying an entire community and every class within it. Full of irony and suspense and even richer in character it shows how individual lives are shaped by and shape the community. Within Middlemarch, we find Eliot's ability to expand the audience's compassion and imagination.
George Eliot was one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. Her novels, largely set in provincial England, are well known for their realism and psychological insight. When Middlemarch was released Eliot was considered England's finest living novelist with many critics still regarding this novel as the finest in English.
A BAFTA winning adaptation of Middlemarch aired as a television series in 1994.
Narrator Biography
Maureen is an English actress and author best known for playing the role of Vicki in Doctor Who where she starred alongside the original Doctor, William Hartnell. She then went on to appear in The Legend of King Arthur, Casualty, The Duchess of Duke Street, Taggart, Cracker, A Touch of Frost, Heartbeat and Jonathan Creek. In 1985 she made a rare film appearance in the comedy She'll Be Wearing Pink Pyjamas opposite Julie Walters.
Maureen has also appeared in a number of stage productions, for example, The Relapse (Old Vic), The Merchant of Venice (Old Vic), The Archbishop's Ceiling (Bristol Old Vic) and Othello (Bristol Old Vic).
Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Auguste Dupin on 12-05-16

Beautiful reading

What made the experience of listening to Middlemarch the most enjoyable?

Middlemarch is a complex book with many characters and Maureen O'Brien does the impossible by giving each character a distinct and appropriate voice. I listened to it twice.

What did you like best about this story?

I love Victorian novels, but I had never before read Middlemarch which turns out to be the best of them all. Four stories about four (or five) marriages are intertwined around the background of political reform in early 18th century England. The characters are all people that grow more complex with each reading, so that we feel we could know what they would do when out of our sight.

What about Maureen O'Brien’s performance did you like?

She understands the characters very well, and narrates as if the story was coming from her heart and not being read.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Five weddings and a funeral.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 21-09-15

Hard to get started but rewarding when you do.

I loved it. This is a long book, give it time and you'll be rewarded. 200 years on things are fundamentally the same!

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Julie W. Capell on 28-08-13

Read for its humor & glimmers of female rebellion

I enjoyed the parts of this novel more than the whole of it. Taken altogether, this seemed like a story that could have been told in half the pages while still getting across the main points the author was making. The book principally documents the lives of several individuals, each of whom when young believes he or she is destined to do Great Things. Over the course of several hundred pages, the author shows how her protagonists, either through their own poor judgment or because of their place in the social web (dictated by the mores of Victorian society) end up living pretty unremarkable lives.

It is a testament to Eliot’s excellence as a writer that she manages to make these everyday lives interesting. She does this via a delightful cast of supporting characters and witty asides that skewer human nature generally. I found myself smiling frequently and underlining many wonderful passages throughout the book.

But what makes this book worth reading over a century after it was written is the way it shows the first glimmers of rebellion against the way women were brought up, particularly women of middle and upper-middle class status. None of the women in the book are allowed to fully utilize their abilities, particularly their minds, and are for the most part submissive to their fathers, brothers, and husbands. But this submission does not come easily, and each manages to slip out from under the oppression of her situation in her own way.

[I listened to this as an audio book performed by Maureen O'Brien. She did a very good job of giving the characters different voices, but I agree she made several of the women sound extremely childish, which was a bit annoying. Still, she was able to get a good deal of humor into the reading which I appreciated.]

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Edyta Niemyjska on 11-06-14

Great book

What about Maureen O'Brien’s performance did you like?

Maureen O'Brien is a great reader. Each character spoke in a slightly different way. The changes were detectable but not annoying.

Any additional comments?

Although when I started I did not like the characters very much, throughout the book I got used to them and once the book was finished I missed the characters and the spirit of the novel.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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