George Eliot (1819–1880).
Middlemarch. A Study of Provincial Life.
Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1871-72.
Under the name “George Eliot,” Marian Evans published some of the most successful novels of the nineteenth century, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876). Exhibited is the first edition of Middlemarch, originally published serially in eight parts and here bound into two massive volumes. This epic novel centers on the lives of the unhappily married Dorothea Brookes, an idealistic and charitable young woman, and Edward Casaubon, a selfish middle-aged scholar whose magnum opus, The Key to All Mythologies, is doomed because he has no familiarity with German scholarship. Written with great insight into human nature and provincial life of the English Midlands, the book was an immediate success. It remains one of the most widely admired novels in the English language.