Well, last week, I managed to write like 2,000 words on Middlemarch. I don’t think I have it in me today. Because I am done.
I finished the book. And now here is the thesis of my Middlemarch Ted talk: it’s not a good book. I mean, I don’t find it to be well written, with my criteria being that events and symbols are carefully woven together, done purposefully…or at least that it’s written with some style.
So. Middlemarch = bad. Here are my supporting points.
This Is a Jane-Austen-Style Soap Opera. (Yes, I Also Don’t Think Any of Jane Austen’s Books Are Good, Come at Me)
God, I’m so tired of hearing about who is interested or not interested in who and who might marry or not marry who.
The Parts That Aren’t Soap Opera Are Terribly Boring
But then we move away from the drama and we go, in great detail, into the realm of who’s voting for who in the consortium of doctors and what people are running for political office. These parts of the book are not only ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, but they aren’t tied in at all with the main plot—or just barely. I’m thinking back on quite a few scenes outside of the soap opera, and I’m realizing the book would have been no different if they were just completely left out.
There Are Very Few Fun Points of Analyzation for a Lit Lover
Believe me, I was trying to find things to talk about: themes, motifs, symbolism, flipping anything.
- I worked hard to see if I could tie curly hair to rebellion. (Conclusion: you sorta maybe can, with exceptions that make this tie-in unfulfilling.)
- I tried to come up with the use of double negatives to indicate pompousness. (Conclusion: not enough data.)
- I tried to use Lydgate and Rosamond as a sort of mirror image of Casaubon and Dorothea.(Conclusion: just enough support to be interesting; falls apart upon closer examination.)
It was after I tried endlessly to do what I do—to lit major some lit—I have concluded I am either bad at this or the book is bad at being a book.
I like the second one better.
So, unfortunately, this one has been tough. The subplot with Bulstrode toward the end was at least mildly interesting, and it would probably be worth talking about his intentions in disobeying the doctor’s orders when taking care of his enemy. Murder or no murder! Still a little soap opera-y, but refreshing in light of the will-they/won’t-they romance stuff that plagues the majority of the book. And those components make me simply too tired of the work to bother looking far into the maybe-murder here, so I regret to say you’ll need to find a more disciplined blogger than me to get that peek into motivations.
Next week, you can look forward to a few possibilities. I read Circe awhile back, and I just relistened in the car with my husband. What an incredible book. I may chat about that a bit.
Another possibility is to discuss Darkeness Visible, an autobiographical book written by the author of Sophie’s Choice. It was a quick read—I downed it in about three hours—but beautifully written, and it did a great job of explaining how, well, unexplainable clinical depression truly is.
And finally, as I’m back on my Pulitzer journey, I’m reading The Overstory, and I will certainly want to discuss elements of this book. The author has a gorgeous, poetic style, and while there’s a theme that really beats you over the head, that’s appreciated after Middlemarch, where it’s difficult to excavate anything to really pick apart from a literary perspective. Give me themes and motifs or give me death.
If anyone would like to hear about any of these books in particular, let me know. I’ll keep it in mind for next week.