Middlemarch is focused on marriage; the fantasies, the expectations, the disappointments and the trials which come from all of these facets of the institution. The story has a large cast of characters and their lives eventually meld together in the village of Middlemarch. George Elliott weaves the story into the political wrangling on the Reform vote of the day (giving more men the right to vote). For me, this was a distraction, but not so heavy that it spoiled the story. Eliot’s writing is elegant with a wise understanding of human nature. At times her ideas were complex enough to give me pause in following her meaning, but I enjoy a little deep thinking in a story. The banker Bulstrode committed an evil in his younger day which becomes exposed in his old age in the winding up chapters, but the details of the sin were not clear.
The BBC has a 7 hour miniseries of the story that I watched years ago but I didn’t remember much about it. I watched it again after finishing the book and felt enjoyably satisfied with the portrayal of the story and characters. I was hoping my Bulstrode confusion would be cleared up in the miniseries but it wasn’t laid out any better than the book. I need to read that chapter again and try to get some understanding of what happened. This is my 4th George Eliot: Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, and Silas Marner. I have enjoyed them all and look forward to Daniel Doranda.