Middlemarch (1871-2) is perhaps the masterpiece of a writer who is now recognized as a major literary figure of the nineteenth century. Virginia Woolf hailed as 'one of the few English novels written for adult people' this magnificent work in which George Eliot paints a luminous and spacious landscape of life in a provincial town. With sure and subtle touch she draws together the links of the rural network: Dorothea, a modern St Teresa; Dr Lydgate, the young doctor defeated by self and circumstance; Rosamond, that masterly study in triviality and egoism, and the unprepossessing and doomed banker, Bulstrode. Indeed, in her analysis of human nature George Eliot achieved what Dr Leavis has called 'a Tolstoyan depth and reality'.
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