Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life
Professor Terrence Doody will lead our discussion of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, her novel of a middle-sized city in the middle of England in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is the great English novel not centered in London and great on the same scale Tolstoy’s War and Peace is great—a study of several families in a period of profound transition in a nation’s cultural life. The major characters—the romantic young woman Dorothea Brooke, the physician Tertius Lydgate, and the radical journalist Will Ladislaw—are important familiar types. The not-quite-minor characters, like the banker Bulstrode and the Reverend Mr. Farebrother, may be even better because they are not Dickensian comic caricatures but “real” people. Middlemarch is the kind of book that you cannot read fast enough or slow enough: you want all of it to last forever now! And those of you who are reading it for the first time have all of our envy.
Terrence Doody is a professor of English at Rice University, where he teaches courses in the modernist period, the novel and narrative theory, and contemporary literature. He is the author of Among Other Things: A Description of the Novel (Louisiana State University Press, 1998) and recipient of grants from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Professor Doody is an eight-time winner of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching.