George Elliot's Middlemarch

Ref: C2345380

George Eliot's most ambitious work has been hailed by more than one critic and fellow writer as 'probably the greatest novel in the English language'. Whether you agree or not, there is plenty here to consider - a multi-stranded narrative, characters from all walks of life, a skilful interweaving of real historical events, and above all Eliot's wise, erudite and compassionate overview. It's well worth seven weeks of your time, and some lively discussion is expected.

Course aim

This course provides an opportunity to share the experience of reading George Eliot's novel 'Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial LIfe', both as literature and as social history.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers
  • It will be assumed that you have read the novel, or seen the BBC adaptation from 1994.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Give a broad outline of the narrative of 'Middlemarch' and the way in which Eliot has interconnected its various strands.
  • Explain some of the context of the novel in Eliot's own life.
  • Choose a short passage from the novel which seems to you to show why 'Middlemarch' has been so admired, and analyse its content and style.
  • Discuss some of the social and political history contextualised in the novel.
  • Compare 'Middlemarch' with other novels you have read, Victorian or otherwise, and give your opinion as to its inclusion on the school currriculum (as advocated by Michael Gove).

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Any edition of the novel is fine, though if buying secondhand you could look out for the Norton Critical Edition. There is good biography of Eliot by Kathryn Hughes.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

George Elliot's Middlemarch


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