Category Archives: george eliot

#1book140 Q & A: Stephen Burt and I Talk Middlemarch

Thanks to the folks at #1book140 for including me in their 2-month Middlemarch read-along, for setting up a Q&A with me and Stephen Burt, and then for preparing this Storify of it! We both really enjoyed going back and forth about this great novel, as I hope you can tell. I am capable of going on at much […]

June Updates: a New Open Letters Monthly and a Fun Q&A!

First of all, the June issue of Open Letters Monthly is up! I won’t itemize all of its contents, because I hope you’ll come over and have a look for yourself. But I will mention that it is the first issue in a while to include something by every editor. We’re pretty proud about that. My own […]

Open Letters Monthly: The February 2014 Issue!

It’s up! Go read it! In case you need more detailed encouragement, here are some highlights: One of my favourite contributors, Joanna Scutts, is back with a wonderful piece on Joe Sacco’s The Great War, which is a remarkable-sounding panoramic drawing of the first day of the Battle of the Somme inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry: […]

Why Do I Like George Eliot So Very Much? My Top Ten Reasons!

A wise man once told me that the introduction to my long-imagined book should represent “the passionate peroration you’d deliver verbally about ‘Why George Eliot?’ if it came up in intelligent company.” After drawing up my inventory of everything I’ve written about George Eliot over the years, I started to feel a bit overwhelmed by […]

Writing About George Eliot: An Inventory

A week or so ago I noted that among my remaining summer projects was thinking through “what kind of larger project could emerge from the essays I’ve been writing on George Eliot”: “Do they, could they, add up to something larger, perhaps some kind of cross-over book project?” is the question — and if so, […]

Middlemarch for Book Clubs: the beta launch

Just over a year ago, I got somewhat exercised over a news story claiming that Middlemarch is the kiss of death for book clubs. My annoyance was exacerbated by the number of links it got from other sources, which added up to quite the anti-Middlemarch buzz for a while. My first response was a post on this […]

Middlemarch for Book Clubs: Preview #1 – Choosing an Edition

I’ve been working industriously on my Middlemarch for Book Clubs website. I hope to have a “beta” version of the whole site ready to make public by the end of June, but I thought it would be helpful for me to get some feedback on a couple of pages sooner rather than later. One reason is […]

“Not Fitted to Stand Alone”: Deborah Weisgall, The World Before Her

I had a deeply and perhaps irrationally ambivalent response to Debora Weisgall’s The World Before Her. I think that on its own terms, it’s quite a good novel. It’s atmospheric, interesting, and thought-provoking, especially about the pressure marriage puts on identity: like so many characters in Middlemarch, Weisgall’s protagonists are struggling in relationships with partners who don’t […]

The Stage Swarmed with Maggies: Helen Edmundson’s The Mill on the Floss

Last night I attended the Dalhousie Theatre production of The Mill on the Floss that I mentioned here: I was invited to give a short talk to the “Patrons” on opening night. As I explained to the attendees, I wasn’t there as an expert on Helen Edmundson’s adaptation, though I had read through most of it in […]

Ahdaf Soueif: “We all seem to have given up – for the moment – on fiction”

Ahdaf Soueif had a thought-provoking essay in the Guardian recently about fiction and activism in general, and the effect of the Egyptian revolution on Egyptian novelists in particular:  In Egypt, in the decade of slow, simmering discontent before the revolution, novelists produced texts of critique, of dystopia, of nightmare. Now, we all seem to have given up – for […]

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Summer Reading 2014

Rohan:
1. Julie James, It Happened One Wedding
2. Dorothy Dunnett, King Hereafter
3. Miriam Toews, All My Puny Sorrows
4. Elizabeth George, Just One Evil Act
5. Dorothy Dunnett, Niccolo Rising
In progress: Ferrante, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

Maddie:
1. Judy Blume, Forever
2. Rob Thomas, Veronica Mars, an original mystery
3. John Green, Paper Towns
4. Judy Blume, Then Again Maybe I Won't
In progress: Dessen, Dreamland

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