Over the last few days I’ve been at home because it’s been raining, and because I’ve been ill. Most of my hours were spent writing papers, but I managed to find some time two nights ago to read a little of Middlemarch. Although I’m keeping a separate pen and paper journal recording my various thoughts, I’ve opted for writing in-between thoughts instead of posting a single ‘polished’ review; otherwise, I’ll just lose my thread of thought because my reading habits are so erratic as of late. I’m still not accustomed to writing my thoughts before I’ve completed a book, so excuse me if I ramble a bit.
This is the third time I’ve attempted Middlemarch, and the previous times I wasn’t too enthralled. I suppose I was in a bad mood those last two times, because this time I came across the sudden realisation that George Eliot’s tone is quite humorous in this novel.
“He has got no good red blood in his body,” said Sir James.
“No, somebody put a drop under a magnifying glass and it was all semi-colons and parantheses.”
Don’t know why or how I missed it before, but suddenly Middlemarch, is as I had hoped: bearable. Much more than bearable, actually. Thus far, it encompasses everything I adore about Victorian literature. The characters are wonderful, the plot incredibly lush and sloth-like – sleepy and slow in pace, the setting evocative of a bygone era.
I like that the characters all the characters are detestable at first, but they are endearing anyway. Dorothea and Casaubon, for instance. Truth be told, I still haven’t much sympathy towards the latter, but in my mind, Dorothea Brooke has evolved from a pretentious, unreachable figure into a comically tragic, naive human being. I wonder, though, what Woolf meant by saying that it is “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people”. I suppose I shall soon find out.