Monday, 25 July 2016

#EliotAlong Chapters 43- 56

This week, at the recommendation of so many people I finally watched Blackfish on Netflix and I cannot get it out of my head. Because of that I've been really heart - heavy for most of the week - I don't know how else to describe it because it's like the weight of sadness for the people and whales involved is literally pulling me down, despite which I would really recommend watching it, particularly if you're interested in Orcas or our relationships with animals at all.

All of which is to say that Middlemarch has been a really welcome distraction this week and oh my goodness, it's all going on!

There is a thing with this book where Eliot only gives a sentence or two to major events and I keep having to go back and check they've actually happened - it happened with Rosamund and Celia and their respective having/losing babies, and with Bulstrode's purchase of Stone Court. There were a couple of mentions of it and then he'd just bought it. I think I like this way of doing business - it definitely keeps the story moving along!

So firstly, Casaubon is dead, hoorah! Although I'm super mad at him for the stupid codicil in his will. I'm going to refer to him as the happiness preventer from now on! What a douche.

One of the things I'm enjoying most about Middlemarch is how Eliot gives each of her characters focus. Often in novels with lots of characters many of them can feel underdeveloped or slightly pointless, but here, although the novel definitely has its central characters each of the peripheral characters is also given their moment in the sun. This week I was impressed with Mr Farebrother. I'm so used to deviousness in novels lately that I fully expected him to do something horrible with the Mary/Fred thing, but so far at least, he hasn't, and I like that. I really love feeling like I can trust characters and in Middlemarch I trust the vast majority to be pretty much as they appear, with the exception of Mr Casaubon, who is no longer a problem, and Mr Raffles, who is just odious.

Speaking of whom, I'm intrigued to know just what it is that he has on Mr. Bulstrode, Obviously Bulstrode was trying to take advantage of an older lady for some reason, and I presume the lady wasn't Mrs Bulstrode since she seems very much alive and not all that old, but apparently his step-son is Sarah Ladislaw's child, so is that Will? And what, if anything, does Will know about it? I want to know! Well done Eliot, intrigue and mysteries at every turn this week!

And oh Dorothea! Although I still hate your name I feel so sorry for you! In so many ways Casaubon's death sets her free, but whether she'll allow herself freedom remains to be seen, and I'm sad for her that she's realised her feelings for Will only when they are denied her.

I have to say that I'm really seeing why people call this Eliot's masterpiece. It is so well woven together and there's so much in it; so much about politics and society and feminism and religion. I think I mentioned before that Eliot had sort of been lumped in with Hardy in my head (omg SO boring, can't stand him!) but reading this alongside The Road to Middlemarch there's really no comparison. What an interesting woman, and what excellent writing!

How have you found it this week? Link up your posts below!


  1. My notes for this section:

    I second that hooray for Casaubon. What an odious man with that promise he wanted Dorothea to make.

    I am also intrigued with Bulstrode, although I am still not sure what it is. At first I thought it had something to do with Dorothea? I never liked him much before, but this new twist mad him sympathetic to me.

    I am a little sad that Celia seems to have lost my interest now that she has no other goal in life but her baby. There was an independent spirit or likeability about her before she married....

    1. I totally agree about Celia. I love my kids as much as the next person, but you're allowed to retain your personality when you become a mother! I don't blame Dorothea for not wanting to stare at the baby all day every day!

      I've been reading a bit of this weeks chapters and found out more about the Bulstrode thing and it continues to be intriguing!

    2. "I've been reading a bit of this weeks chapters and found out more about the Bulstrode thing and it continues to be intriguing!"

      Good. I can't wait to find out more. I am about to close down for the evening and dig in. Just let me say, probably again, thank you for setting this up. I love reading this way!