Friday, April 10, 2009

Middlemarch. George Eliot.(2)

1871-1872. New York: Book-of the Month Club, 1992. (2)

10-second review: A novel of provincial life in England and the blasted hopes of two idealists as a result of marriage, Dorothea Brooke and Dr. Lydgate.

Sample quotes:

“Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.” p. 11. ………. “The really delightful marriage must be that where your husband was a sort of father and could teach you even Hebrew, if you wished it.” p. 12. [Dorothea before she married Casubon.] ………. Casaubon: “My mind is something like the ghost of an ancient wandering about the world and trying mentally to construct it as it used to be, in spite of ruin and confusing changes.” p. 19. [Casubon’s research.]

Mrs. Cadwallader: “For this marriage to Casaubon is as good as going to a nunnery.” p. 58. ………. Mrs. Cadwallader: “I wish her joy of her hair shirt.” p. 61. ………. “Mark my words: in a year from this time that girl will hate him; she looks up to him as an oracle now, and by-and-by she will be at the other extreme.” p. 89.

“We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time….” p. 62. ………. “…certainly, the mistakes that we male and female animals make when we have our own way might fairly raise some wonder that we are so fond of it.” p. 72. ………. “Mr. Lydgate had the medical accomplishment of looking perfectly grave whatever nonsense was talked to him….” p. 90.

“…correct English is the slang of prigs who write history and essays and the strongest slang of all is the slang of poets.” p. 98. ………. “I am not magnanimous enough to like people who speak to me without seeming to see me.” p. 112. ………. “Mr. Bulstrode had also a deferential bending attitude in listening, and an apparently fixed attentiveness in his eyes which made these persons who thought themselves worth hearing infer that he was seeking the utmost improvement from their discourse.” p. 119.

“For in the multitude of middle-aged men who go about their vocations in a daily course determined for them much in the same way as the tie of their cravats, there is always a good number who once meant to shape their own deeds and alter the world a little and the story of their coming to be shapen after the average and fit to be picked by the gross, is hardly ever told even in their consciousness; for perhaps their ardor in generous unpaid toil cooled as imperceptibly as the ardor of other youthful loves.” p. 140.

Comment: Well, from these quotes you have had a taste of the flavor of Eliot’s language, her biting humor and the setting of one disastrous marriage-to-be. Read the novel. It’s good. RayS.

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