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George Eliots Middlemarch (1871-72) is one of the classic novels of English literature and was admired by Virginia Woolf as one of the few English novels written for grown-up people. The complex main plot and many subplots revolve around Dorothea Brooke, an ardent young woman, and her relationship to three men: Casaubon, a clergyman and scholar twice her age; Lydgate, an ambitious young doctor who shares Dorotheas enthusiasm for reform but whose flaws compromise his ambitions; and Will Ladislaw, a young man of mysterious origins, romantic temperament, and artistic inclinations. A female Bildungsroman and a study of character and society in the realistic mode pioneered by Balzac, Middlemarch is also an historical novel that offers a panorama of English society in an era of social reform and political agitation.
This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction and a rich selection of contextual materials, including contemporary reviews of the novel, other writings by George Eliot (essays, reviews, and criticism), and historical documents pertaining to medical reform, religious freedom, and the advent of the railroads.