Middlemarch Additional Summary

George Eliot


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Considered Eliot’s masterpiece, Middlemarch develops a complex web of relationships in a provincial community shortly before the 1832 Reform Bill. The author’s perspective from 1871 suggests that the hoped-for results from that legislation have not been achieved, just as the youthful hopes of her characters are not fully realized, perhaps for similar reasons lying with human limitations beyond correction by legislation.

Dorothea Brooke, a young heiress, is compared to Saint Theresa of Avila, whose “passionate, ideal nature demanded an epic life” and found it in reforming a religious order. For Dorothea, however, a “later-born” Theresa, philanthropic aspirations are “helped by no coherent social...

(The entire section is 837 words.)


(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Dorothea Brooke and her younger sister, Celia, are young women of good birth who live with their bachelor uncle at Tipton Grange near the town of Middlemarch. So serious is Dorothea’s cast of mind that she is reluctant to keep jewelry she had inherited from her dead mother, and she gives all of it to her sister except a ring and a bracelet.

At a dinner party where the middle-aged scholar Edward Casaubon and Sir James Chettam both vie for her attention, she is much more attracted to the serious-minded Casaubon. Casaubon must have had an inkling that his chances with Dorothea were good; for he seeks her out the next morning. Celia, who does not like his complexion or his moles, escapes to other interests.


(The entire section is 1583 words.)


(Novels for Students)


In the Prelude to Middlemarch, Eliot tells a story about Saint Teresa of Avila (1515–82), a...

(The entire section is 3888 words.)