First published in 1861, The Mill on the Floss was a best-seller in its day. This classic novel explores the traditions and moral expectations of an English rural community. Maggie Tulliver is a girl of uncontrollable romantic ideals. But her brother, along with most of society, cannot accept her brashness and vitality. Narrator Jill Tanner gracefully unfolds this tragic tale of love and loss.
This novel has no great relevance to modern Americans, but you'd never guess it from Jill Tanner's narration. Here we get a lengthy, discursive account of the love between siblings Tom and Maggie, scions of a country miller in the mid-1800s, surrounding the story of how they dealt with many trials while growing into young adults, how they became estranged, and how they reconciled seconds before their tragic deaths. Tanner vividly animates the characters, making them seem familiar and worthy of our concern. She also makes apparent the charm, humor, grace, compassion, and subtlety in Eliot's work, which so often elude today's readers. Through Tanner, the virtues that captivated Eliot's contemporaries and still keep her books in print come into sharp focus.
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A beautiful, clear reading of a classic novel
- Chris Byrd