My Life in Middlemarch

My Life in Middlemarch

Book - 2014
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Rebecca Mead was a young woman in a coastal town of England when she first read George Eliot's Middlemarch . After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs and then marriage and family, Rebecca Mead reread Middlemarch . The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people," offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not.
     In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads the reader into the life that her favorite book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that perfectly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot's novel and brings them into the world. Offering both a fascinating reading of Eliot's biography and an uncanny portrait of the ways in which Mead's life echoes that of the author herself, My Life in Middlemarch is a book for who wonders about the power of literature to shape our lives.

Publisher: Toronto, Ontario :, Bond Street Books,, [2014].
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780385676861
Characteristics: 293 pages ;,23 cm


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Feb 18, 2018

This book is about George Eliot and her masterpiece as much as it is about the author's personal life. It is a journey through time and space. We read about Rebecca Mead's experiences as a child, a teenager, and an adult woman, married with children, in the different places where she lived. We also read about Eliot and her life, the experiences that led her to write "Middlemarch" and to write it in that particular way. The writer, a journalist and not a novelist, describes how the different re-readings of the novel helped her to understand her own life and to form the values that inform that life. What I found interesting was that "Middlemarch" revealed to her different aspects and new insights every time she read it, in various stages of her life. It is a cliche that great books are such because they help understand and discover ourselves with each new reading, but in this case I must say that it is true - at least for the writer. I also liked that Mead actually visited the places where Eliot lived and wrote. I have just come back from a trip to England that included Nuneaton and Griff House, so the book resonated even more with me because of this shared experience. Overall it is a good book, written from a personal point of view that of course cannot be shared by every single reader. It is informative and well researched, and I really hope that it will inspire its readers to read (or re-read) "Middlemarch."

Jun 05, 2017

An outstanding book that balanced different themes with extraordinary deftness: 1.) A history of George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans); an introduction to what many people consider the greatest of 19th Century English novels; a weaving of Middlemarch's themes with the author's own life, creating a unique and engaging memoir. Wonderful writing.

introspective life analysis and literary analysis all tied up into one easy to absorb package. I read this in audio - it was long, but worth it. I have not read any George Elliot, and enjoyed the read all the same.
Rose in PR

Oct 27, 2014

a beautifully written meditation on the impact a book can make throughout one's life. The author weaves a three part braid of her own story, that of George Eliot, and the fictional Dorothea as she reflects on all three in relation to each other, and as separate entities. I have to own this!

Sep 13, 2014

I found this an interesting take on books which one reads again and again and the involvement one feels with the author and the characters.

Mar 28, 2014

As a lifelong bookaholic, this book made me start thinking about those books which have impacted the most on my life. The author, for example, has found herself re-reading Middlemarch by George Eliot, over and over again throughout different eras of her lifetime and finding new meaning or impact each time. In my own case, there are several books and authors I've re-read many times - the Brontes, Austen, P.G. Wodehouse (when I need a laugh so badly I can taste it!), Salinger, etc. But if I had to pick one book that I've read so many times it's nearly thread-bare, it would be Colette's "My Mother's House", one of the most beautiful tributes to family and love I've ever come across.

Mar 07, 2014

Mead uses George Eliot?s book Middlemarch to consider the lives of its characters, particularly Dorothea Brooke?s, in light of her own and that of George Eliot. It?s an interesting proposition to take your favorite book and look at its influence on your life.

Parts of it were wonderful, but the digressions into other of Eliot's work made me feel the author didn't have enough to say about Middlemarch and was stretching her subject. But, it could just be me. [I've not read all Eliot?s books.] Definitely worth reading if you loved Middlemarch.


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Oct 12, 2018

Reading is sometimes thought of as a form of escapism, and it's a common turn of phrase to speak of getting lost in a book. But a book can also be where one finds oneself; and when a reader is grasped and held by a book, reading does not feel like an escape from life so much as it feels like an urgent, crucial dimension of life itself. There are books that seem to comprehend us just as much as we understand them, or even more. There are books that grow with the reader as the reader grows,like a graft to a tree.
This kind of book becomes part of our own experience, and part of our own endurance. It might lead us back to the library in midlife, looking for something that eluded us before.

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