George Eliot’s Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is a novel which was started by her in the year 1869. The novel is set in the period of 1830-1832 in the Midlands town of Middlemarch, a fictitious town described by the author. The plot of the book is diversified and it casts several characters. The novel was kept aside by Eliot for a while due to the illness of the son of her companion, Thomton Lewes. Eliot again started off the next year and compiled several stories to bind them together to complete the work as a whole. The novel was first published in 1874 and received huge attention from people.
Themes such as the nature of marriage, hypocrisy and religion, women’s status, education, political reforms, self-interest and idealism have been highlighted in different parts of the novel in a very effective way by the author. Also, there are some comical characters which have been portrayed in the novel. But despite this fact, Middlemarch is truly a work of realism. The voices of different people and characters in the book speak about the different issues in the society. Each event that has been described by Eliot in the novel relates to something that has been happening or is presently taking place and leaves behind morale for the reader. The pace at which the novel progresses ahead is quite leisurely. The tone in which the character appear to speak is very educational with a sense of authority on some occasions. The best thing about the book is the broad canvas upon which the book has been excellently executed.
The novel has been extremely popular among readers since the time when it was first published. The writing, characterization, the complete compilation of stories and the flow which has been maintained by Eliot, makes Middlemarch a masterpiece of work in English fiction. Middlemarch is certainly a book worth including in the list of top 10 books everyone should read.