Widely regarded as one of the greatest novels in the English language and perhaps the greatest of the great Victorian fictions, George Eliot’s 1871 novel Middlemarch is a study of a large cast of characters, and their achievements and misfortunes, in a fictional rural town in central England.
Two of the main characters are 19-year-old Dorothea Brooke who had the kind of beauty that looks even better in plain clothes, as Eliot wrote, and Dr. Tertius Lydgate, one of those rare people who decide early what they want to do with their lives. More than 40% of critics in a BBC poll included Middlemarch on their list of 25 great British novels. A novel of great characters, it’s an even greater novel of ideas and ideals, wrote one critic.
Contributor: Monica Starkman from University of Michigan Medical School