Category Archives: george eliot

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 […]

Middlemarch for Book Clubs: Update

I have started building the ‘Middlemarch for Book Clubs’ site I boldly promised to create in response to the whole ‘Middlemarch kills book clubs’ story that got so much linkage a week or so ago. Here is a list of the pages and subpages I’ve set up so far. Let me know if you think they […]

Madame Bovary II: The Doctors and Their Wives

It’s difficult to compare two books that are very, very good at what they do but that do very different things. Must such a comparison be evaluative, hierarchical? Of course not. Does it often end up that way? Of course. We’re only human! We like different things, for reasons that often say more about us than […]

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