On men and women – brilliant quotes from George Eliot’s Middlemarch

October 30, 2008 at 10:40 am | Posted in Books, City Library, Fiction, Reviews | Leave a comment

I have to admit that I gave up on reading Middlemarch when I realised that not one of the characters was destined for a happy ending, but I did enjoy George Eliot’s wit and her social consciousness.

For example, here’s the nice-but-dim Sir James wooing the locally renowned and slightly fearsome Dorothea Brooke:

“Sir James had no idea that he should ever like to put down the predominance of this handsome girl, in whose cleverness he delighted.  Why not?  A man’s mind – what there is of it – has always the advantage of being masculine – as the smallest birch tree is of a higher kind that the most soaring palm – and even his ignorance is of a sounder quality.”

And only a few pages later, Mr Brooke, her uncle, is nonplussed at her unwillingness to marry poor Sir James:

“In short, woman was a problem which, since Mr Brooke’s mind felt blank before it, could hardly be less complicated than the revolutions of an irregular solid.”

236 years after she wrote the book, George Eliot’s still winning new fans!

Reviewed by Melissa

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