Dorothea is bright, beautiful and rebellious and has married the wrong man. Lydgate is the ambitious new doctor in town and has married the wrong woman. Both of them long to make a positive difference in the world. But their stories do not proceed as expected and both they, and the other inhabitants of Middlemarch, must struggle to reconcile themselves to their fates and find their places in the world.
Middlemarch contains all of life: the rich and the poor, the conventional and the radical, literature and science, politics and romance. Eliot's novel is a stunningly compelling insight into the human struggle to find contentment.
1. Discuss the relationship between religious and secular, spiritual and worldly, in the novel. Is it conflicted or not? Why?
2. What is Eliot's view of ambition in its different forms-social, intellectual, political? How is this evident in the novel?
3. In her introduction, A. S. Byatt contends that Eliot...
--V. S. Pritchett