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Introduction

George Eliot is the pen name for Mary Ann Evans, a prominent British intellectual, essayist, poet, and novelist who was primarily active during the middle of the nineteenth century.  She became a hugely influential figure in Victorian literary and intellectual circles while she was alive, and she is currently considered one of the most important writers of her period. 

Evans's novel, Middlemarch, remains a staple of Victorian studies curricula. Set in the 1830s, the story involves a group of people living in a fictional English province. It weaves together a number of different themes and plotlines to create a picture of a small town "social web."

Created by: Alexis Chadwick, Rebecca Mnuk, and Lindsay Darling

Topics for Discussion

Wills

In Middlemarch, wills represent the "dead hands" that reach out of the grave to affect the lives of the living. A will has the ability to give its beneficiary much more than money or property: it can also raise a character's social status or take it away; it can give someone a living or it can ruin them. The complications that arise from Featherstone's two wills change the lives of a number of people, and the strange clause in Casaubon's will that aims to prevent her from marrying Will Ladislaw ends up contributing to the realization of that very event.

Gender Roles

Gender roles play a significant role with respect to relationships throughout Middlemarch. For example, both Lydgate and Casaubon marry Rosamond and Dorothea respectively because they believe them to be the ideal wife. Both men think that the women completely support their career choices and will bend whichever way the men see suitable. The women also believe the men they marry to be the ideal husband and equal partner. However as time continues, both the men and women realize their significant other is not such an ideal after all. The gender roles in the book are not the typical roles men and women would normally play during this time period. Therefore, this could be an example of Eliot using the role of gender as she sees fit.

Banking
In Middlemarch, banking is a powerful tool often used for manipulation. Mr. Bulstrode, a wealthy banker, has the powerful access to the bank accounts of the citizens of Middlemarch. This places Mr. Bulstrode in the position to know everything about the borrowing or lending of money by the people. For example, when Featherstone accuses Fred of borrowing money for gambling debts, Mr. Bulstrode has the power to disprove or prove this rumor. Money is used to often manipulate the intricate web of people connected by finances. Moreover, religion is webbed into banking, as Mr. Bulstrode uses his access as a banker to force his Evangelical Christian ethics as well as his political agenda onto the people of Middlemarch.

Medicine

Medicine is a sign of the upward movement of social mobility and the value of independence in the novel. Lydgate, as an outsider, very much values his newfound independence as a doctor in Middlemarch and his power to make his own decisions over his patients. However, politics are again wrapped up within the theme of medicine and is used as a tool to manipulate an outsider such as Lydgate. Bulstrode's power over the intricate web of patients and people of Middlemarch, however, allows the hospital to be used as a tool for manipulation to have power over the politics of Middlemarch.

Education

Education takes a number of different thematic forms in Middlemarch. Dorothea confuses her love of knowledge with love for Casaubon, and her marriage is an educational endeavor. Lydgate's foreign medical training initially helps him in Middlemarch, but it also separates him from the people who have not had access to the same kind of schooling. Fred's college could have been his ticket to a gentleman's life, but his failure to pass his examinations leaves him in an uncomfortable place. Fred eventually finds a new education, however, under Caleb Garth's vocational tutoring. The novel aknowledges that there are many ways to pursue knowledge, and a variety of things worth knowing.


Questions for Discussion:

1.) How might things have turned out differently if Mary Garth had allowed Featherstone to open the box where his will was kept? Would she still have married Fred Vincy?

2.) Did Casaubon's will have any affect on Dorothea's choices, or her own sense of agency? How did her character change after she became a widow?

3.) There are several characters that want to be reformers, who are they and what are their reasons for wanting change? Consider the contradiction between each characters ideals and their realities.

4.) Why during this time period, would George Eliot write a book about provincial life in such detail? Why does she refer to the society as a "web"? Consider the roles of money, marriage, and secrets.

5.) Why does Lygate's marriage fail? Why does Dorothea's marriage fail? Why did Lydgate marry Rosamond? Why did Dorothea marry Casaubon?

6.) Why does money seem to be the most important thing in Middlemarch and why is it a burden? Which characters does it influence the most and in what way?

7.) While most novels have a hero or heroine, Middlemarch does not. Why do you think that is? Consider the "web" that is the metaphor for Middlemarch's society.

8.) While Rosamond is seen as manipulative and vain, the reader is made to sympothize with her. Why is this? Consider Rosamond's upbringing and the behavior of Lydgate.

The SOCIAL WEB

"'There is often something poisonous in the air of public rooms,' said Lydgate. 'Strong men can stand it, but it tells on people in proportion to the delicacy of their systems. It is often impossible to account for the precise moment of an attack --- or rather, to say why the strength gives way at a particular moment (703).'"

This telling piece of dialogue is spoken by the unfortunate Tertius Lydgate to the equally unlucky Mr Bulstrode, at a point in the novel in which both men have become trapped in a vicious scandal over Mr Raffle's possible murder. Though the novel is intentionally vague about the actual details of Raffles's death, Lydgate and Bulstrode were not able to come away from it with their hands clean. As rumors spread quickly throughout Middlemarch, they and their wives become victims of the social web as public opinion turns against them. The "poisonous air" that Lydgate references above is identified as the cause of Bulstrode's illness that keeps him locked away in his office. Though Lydgate addresses the issue as though it were a medical condition, the real poison is the dangerous gossip that becomes magnified as it spreads througout their social circle. In their weakened states, the social web is a lethal force for Lydgate and Bulstrode.


ROLES FOR WOMEN: Rosamond and Dorothea

"Rosamond's discontent in marriage was due to the conditions of marriage itself, to the demand for self-suppression and tolerance, and not to the nature of her husband; but the easy conception of an unreal Better had a sentimental charm which diverted her ennui (709)."

Though Rosamond and Dorothea are opposites in many ways, they both find themselves in situations in which they must edit themselves in order to play traditional roles as wives in rural England. From the outset, Dorothea is a very peculiar and nontraditional woman, but she always conducts herself gracefully.  Rosamond appears to be the perfect Victorian lady, but she is both willful and spoiled, and she does not bend to her husbands demands so easily as she might have seemed. Lydgate had expected Rosamond to be malleble enough to bend to the rigors of his lifestyle as a scientist, and he is shocked when he finds that his ever-graceful lady posseses a subdued forcefulness that is beyond his control. While other characters remark that Rosamond is the prime example of feminine perfection (sometimes to a fault), she is in many ways the exact opposite of a domestic angel. Money and status are of utmost importance to her, but without a job or a title she has no way of getting them on her own and must rely on her ability to control the people around her. The quotation above indicates that this makes her unsuited to the kind of married life in which her only vocation is to stand behind her husband and manage the household. The novel suggests that women in such situations must be willing to relinquish some of their own desires and adjust to the worlds that their husbands have created.

----------------

"As Lydgate rode away, he thought, 'This young creature has a heart large enough for the Virgin Mary. She evidently thinks nothing of her own future, and would pledge away half her income at once, as if she wanted nothing for herself but a chair to sit in from which she can look down with those clear eyes at the poor mortals who pray to her. She seems to have what I never saw in any woman before ---a fountain of friendship towards men — a man can make a friend of her (723).'"

Dorothea is sort of a strange woman in Middlemarch. While the men in Middlemarch see both she and Rosamond as desireable wives, Dorothea is much kinder, and more interested in understanding other people and herself.

In this quotation, Lydgate sees Dorothea as a saintly creature compared to his wife, and acknowledges that there is something very special about the ways that Dorothea is able to transcend traditional gender boundaries. Even though Dorothea posseses many of the characteristics of the ideal Victorian woman, she is also able to become a much more profound person by not indulging in frivolousness as Rosamond had done.


EDUCATION

"'My business is of many sorts, my boy,' said Mr Garth, smiling. 'A good deal of what I know can only come from experience: you can't learn it off as you learn things from a book (527).'"

This piece of advice is directed at Fred Vincy, after he has failed his university examinations and come to the conclusion that a trade like Caleb Garth's might be more fulfilling than a traditional gentleman's vocation. A B.A. would have qualified Fred to work as a clergyman, which is the career that his parents would have preferred for him. They saw his education as an investment in Fred's status in the community, and they considered anything less than a position in the church to be a waste of the money they paid towards Fred's education. Still, the university could not teach Fred to be mature or selfless, and he would clearly have been an inadequate religious leader.

Caleb Garth is completely self-educated, and through his own hard work on his farm and keen business sense he has been able to establish an honorable vocation for himself and steady support for his family. Fred is eventually able to redeem himself and win Mary Garth's heart knuckling down under Caleb's instruction and becoming a true adult through addressing his faults and learning to earn his keep through solid work.


WILLS

"Fred made no answer. He was too utterly depressed. Twenty-four hours ago he had thought that instead of needing to know what he should do, he should by this time know that he needed to do nothing: that he should hunt in pink, have a first-rate hunter, ride to cover on a fine hack, and be generally respected for doing so; moreover that he should be able at once to pay Mr Garth, and that Mary could no longer have any reason for not marrying him. And all this was to have come without study or inconvenience, purely by the favor of providence in the shape of an old gentleman's caprice. But now, at the end of twenty-four hours, all those firm expectations were upset (321)."

Fred Vincy, a dandy and an idler, had hoped that he would be able to inherit Featherstone's property. If he had, all the problems mentioned above would have been solved, and Fred would have been able to become a respectable person in Middlemarch without earning anything for himself.

However, the will that could have changed Fred's entire future is negated by a second will that bequeaths him nothing. Here, the novel takes a stap at the traditional English class system, by showing how good luck could have made Fred suddenly respectable, while bad luck leaves him ruined. Eventually, Fred is able to work his way back up by working for  the yeoman, Caleb Garth.

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Sir James, to Mr Brooke about Casaubon's will: "I say that he has unfairly compromised Dorothea. I say that there was never a meaner, more ungentlemanly action than this --{-}a codicil of this sort to a will which he made at the time of his marriage with the knowledge and reliance of her family --- a positive insult to Dorothea (455)!"

After Causabon dies, he writes a codicil into his will, which stipulate that his wife will lose her inheritance if she ever marries Causabon's cousin, Will Ladislaw. Ironically, the money should have been Will's to begin with, but the codicil prevents him from ever getting access to it. Also, the codicil unintentionally pushes Will and Dorothea closer together, because it points out that Dorothea and Will seem to have a connection to each other. This is one of several instances in Middlemarch where a will controls people's lives.

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Will, to Bulstrode: "It is important to me that I have no stain on my birth and connexions. And now I find that there is a stain which I can't help. My mother felt it, and tried to keep as clear of it as she could, and so will I. You shall keep your ill-gotten money (586)."

Here, Bulstrode has revealed the secret that Will is his step-grandson, and therefore has some claim on his money. Will refuses the money, because it is unclean: Bulstrode built himself up by working in a pawn-shop, and Will has too much integrity to accept money from a business he thinks is unsavory. Will's refusal hurts Bulstrode deeply.


REFORM

"'Things will ripen and grow as if it were a comet year,' said Will. 'The public temper will soon get to a cometary heat, now the question of Reform has set in (431).'"

A "comet year" is supposed to predict a period of drastic change, and there does seem to be lots of change afoot. England is just on the brink of having a real medical reform, and there seems to be a lot of potential for political reform as well. In the year 1831 (in which the novel is set), Lord John Russel's measure was passed and parliament was dissolved.


MEDICINE

"There was hardly ever so much unanimity among them as in the opinion that Lydgate was an arrogant young fellow, and yet ready for the sake of ultimately predominating to show a crawling subservience to Bulstrode (425)."

This quote refers to the Lydgate's failure to acknowledge the social web that connects the other doctors in Middlemarch. When Lydgate returns to England after going to medical school in France, he feels inspired to bring his home country up to date through medical reform.

During the 1830's (the period in which this novel is set), English medicine was based more on folklore than science, and was often very dangerous to the patients. There were basically three kinds of doctors: "bone cutters," who could amputate damaged limbs; "apothecaries," who could mix up a potion, and the more educated medical doctors. Those in the last category usually came from wealthy families and had university educations, but their approaches were often more philosophical than scientific and many of them were "arm chair doctors" who did not actually treat patients. In France, medical education was clinical rather than theoretical, and Lydgate thought that he could easily teach the English doctors about this newer and more effective way of learning how to treat patients.

However, Lydgate's dream for reform fails, partly because of the didactic tone he takes with the other doctors. They take offense to what they see as arrogance, and shut him out of their circle. Needless to say, they are not receptive to the ideas he had hoped to impart.

"The habits of Lydgate's profession, his home preoccupation with scientific subjects, seemed to her a morbid vampire's taste, his peculiar views of things which had never entered into the dialogue of courtship... (622)"

This citation refer's to Rosamond's thoughts. Rosamond is Lydgate's wife, who was born and raised in Middlemarch. Her attitude reflects that of many rural English people from the period: Lydgate's approach does not seem fascinating or miraculous, it seems sacrosanct. Lydgate does his work by studying cadavers, which still seemed disgusting to many people from that period. Rosamond's opinion alludes to a second challenge for anyone trying to introduce medical reform to England.

Social Web

               ----------------------------------Featherstone

               |                                    /            \

               |                                 /                \

               |             Lucy's Sister                     Caleb Garth's Sister   

               |

               |------ Joshua Rigg

                        |              \

                        |                \    

                        |                  \

                 Raffles             Bulstrode

             (Stepfather)  

Complete Character List

           

Dorothea Brooke 

Arthur Brooke

Celia Brooke

Nicholas Bulstrode

Harriet Bulstrode

Elinor Cadwallader

Humphrey Cadwallader

Edward Casaubon

Sir James Chettam

Mr. Dagley

Camden Farebrother

Mrs. Farebrother

Winifred Farebrother

Peter Farebrother

Caleb Garth

Mr. Bambridge

Susan Garth

Mary Garth

Will Ladislaw

Tertius Lydgate

Sir Godwin Lydgate

Captain Lydgate

Naumann

Miss Noble

Selina Plymdale

Ned Plymdale

John Raffles

Joshua Rigg Featherstone

Borthrop Trumbell

Walter Tyke

Rosamond Vincy

Fred Vincy

Walter Vincy

Lucy Vincy

Mr. Wrench

Portrait

Biography


Dates: November 22,1819 - December 22,1880
Hometown: South Farm, Arbury


Family and Childhood

Mary Ann Evans was born to Robert Evans and his second wife, Christiana Pearson. Evans had two half-siblings, Robert and Frances Evans, as well as a brother and a sister, Christiana and Isaac Evans. Most of Evans' family thought her a strange and introverted little girl compared to her pretty older sister, but Evans was her father's favorite and he supplied her with books from a very young age, which helped spark the restless pursuit of knowledge that would persist throughout her lifetime. Robert, who had much humbler origins than Evans' mother, was a self-taught businessman who is sometimes thought of as an inspiration for Caleb Garth from Middlemarch.

As a child, Evans attended several boarding schools where she excelled, breezing quickly through their curricula and becoming close with her teachers. She was known for dressing very 'severely' and at thirteen she was often mistaken for one of the instructors. In 1836, Evans's mother died, followed shortly by the death of her older sister. This tragic turn of events left Evans as mistress of the family property. She left school and returned to her childhood home, where she lived with her father for the next four years. During that period, Evans became more deeply involved in her personal academic pursuits. Using a tutor, she became fluent in German and Italian and began learning Greek and Latin. She also developed a strong interest in Christian philosophy and began a ambitious search for the historical facts of Christ's life.

Early Years as a Writer and Intellectual

In 1841, Robert Evans moved his daughter to a new house just outside of Coventry,where she found a new intellectual community that centered around two friends, Charles and Caroline Bray. The Brays introduced Evans to a new religious philosophy: they argued that the bible was an account of the "truth of feeling" rather than a historical document. This sparked a dramatic change in Evans' perception of religion. She renounced Evangelism and told her father that she would no longer go to church with him, which caused a rift in their close relationship. They later agreed on a compromise: Evans would go to church, but only physically - she would let her mind wander throughout the service. Both Evans and her father were happy with this solution.

Throughout the 1840's and 50's, Evans put her linguistic skills to use when she began translating foreign literature into English. She also started writing articles and reviews for periodicals, most notably the Westminster Review. In 1851, her friend, John Chapman, purchased the review and Evans' writings became a steady fixture in the paper for many years. She eventually became the magazine's assistant editor, though the position was unpaid. She remained the assistant editor for many years and eventually began to perform the majority of the editor's tasks by herself. The Westminster Review was one of the most esteemed publishers of literary reviews during the period, and it was rare for women to attain such a high position in such a respectable publication.

Scandal!

While Evans was working as assistant editor, she came into contact with a reviewer named George Henry Lewes. Lewes was several years older than Evans, and she initially found him extremely unattractive. As they go to know each other, they eventually developed a very close friendship that soon became a romance. This relationship would mar Evans's reputation and scandalize her readers, though it had little effect on her novels' popularity.

Lewes was still legally married when he and Evans met, but his marriage had begun to fall apart. His wife, Agnes, had given birth to several children by other men, but Lewes had allowed his name to go on their birth certificates. This made a legal divorce almost impossible. When Lewes fell in love with Evans, the two made no attempt to hide their relationship, and Evans began to refer to herself as Mrs. George Lewes even though they never legally married. Worried that the scandal might compromise her ability to publish, Evans chose a new pen name: George Eliot.

George Eliot the Novelist

Not only did Evans use her new pseudonym to separate her from the scandal, she also hoped that it would free her from the stereotypes associated with women writers from the period. In her essay, "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists," Evans criticized the superficiality of the subjects typically covered by women writers of the period. She believed that her fiction would be taken more seriously if readers though that it was written by a man.
Lewes was convinced that Evans had a unique talent for creating scenes and dialogue, and he encouraged her to write fiction. Her first novel, Scenes of Clerical Life, had originally been printed as a serial in Blackwood's Magazine, and when the three sections were combined into a book in 1858 it became the first of her novels to bear the name 'George Eliot,' in homage to her champion and significant other.
Her second novel, Adam Bede, was serialized from 1857 - 1858 before it was published in book format. The novel was Evans' first real success, selling 16,000 copies and earning her 1,705 pounds. The Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner followed in 1860 and 1861. Romola was published in 1863, and critics typically consider it the first novel in Evans' second phase, in which her writing is marked by an exploration her characters' complex interior states. It was followed by Felix Holt (1866), Middlemarch (1867) and Daniel Deronda (1876).

Later Years and Death

After Lewes died, Evans legally married for the first time in her life. Her new husband, John Cross, was an emotionally unstable man twenty years her junior. The marriage helped Evans patch up family relations that had been strained by the scandal with Lewes. In 1880, Evans (now Mary Ann Cross) died of a throat infection that had been complicated by an existing kidney condition.

Sources:

Grey, Beryl. "George Eliot and the Westminster Review." Victorian Periodicals Review, Vol. 33, No. 3 (212-224) The Johns Hopkins University Press (2000)._

McCormack, Kathleen. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 55: Victorian Prose Writers Before 1867. A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. Edited by William B. Thesing, University of South Carolina. The Gale Group, 1987. pp. 103-110.

Wiesenforth, Joseph. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 21: Victorian Novelists Before 1885. A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. Edited by Ira B. Nadel, University of British Columbia and William E. Fredeman, University of British Columbia. The Gale Group, 1983. pp. 145-170.

THE WESTMINSTER REVIEW

The Westminster Review was founded in 1823 as a radical philosophical publication until it was purchased by John Chapman, in 1851. Over the course of Chapman's involvement with the Review, he and Mary Ann Evans worked together to bring in a staff that ultimately included some of the most influential writers and philosophers from the period, who were on the cutting edge of scholarship in a variety of fields. The list included social philosopher John Stewart Mill, who was instrumental in developing social theory in England; physiologist and zoologist William Benjamin Carpenter; religious philosopher and social theorist George Holyoake; and the agnostic surgeon, biologist, and literary critic Thomas Huxley, among others. The breadth of material covered in the Westminster Review paints a fascinating portrait of the mid-century intellectual scene, as scholars came together to try to understand what things needed to be re-evaluated in the wake of evolutionary theory.

Mary Ann Evans was a frequent contributor to the Review from 1852 to 1859. The first ten issues to which she contributed were during her anonymous and unpaid editorship of the review. The next nine issues were her belletrist contributions written under her pen name. She became involved with Westminster Review after she established a professional connection with the owner, John Chapman after her 1846 publication in Coventry Herald of her translation of David Friedrich Strauss's Das Leben Jesu ('The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined'). Her translation was a 1500-page work which took her two years to complete. Evans later wrote a review of 'The Nemesis of Faith', calling it 'bad, but spectacular'. The book, however, was met with some public animosity and was publicly burned at Exeter College.

In 1855, Evans was made responsible for the Belles Lettres ('Fine Writing') section of the Review, which gave her a substantial presence in the publication since 16-38 pages of each issue were typically dedicated to that section alone. In January of 1857, Evans also published 'Worldliness and Other-Worldliness-the Poet Young.' In February of 1859, Chapman published 'Adam Bede' to which Evans denied authorship. In April of that year, Chapman published a review insinuating that it was written by a woman. This put a significant strain on their relationship.

Resources and Links

George Eliot: An Overview, by Victorianweb http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/eliot/middlemarch/thompson.html

Also by Victorianweb, "Fatal Marriages in Middlemarch" http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/eliot/middlemarch/thompson.html

Read George Eliot Online:http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/e#a90

"The Ethics of George Eliot's Works":  Nineteenth Criticism by Project Gutenberg:http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/1795

Analysis of Major Characters

Dorothea Brooke- Dorothea is the idealistic niece of Arthur Brooke. She is a kind-hearted, honest woman who longs to have a purpose in life. Her desires are to help the less fortunate and learn as much as she can. She acts on these desires when she plans to rebuild the ramshackle buildings on large estates and when she gives Lydgate money to help recover from his debt. The desire to learn becomes real for Dorothea when she marries Casaubon, a much older scholarly clergyman, against common advice. This demonstrates Dorothea's stubbornness and strong-willed personality as well as her submissiveness as she devotes herself entirely to the teachings of Casaubon. She marries Casaubon believing he will teach her and give her a purpose. However when Casaubon dies and his will states that she cannot marry his cousin Will Ladislaw, she feels betrayed by his assuming her to be unfaithful and untrustworthy. When Dorothea marries Will, knowing the act forfeits her inheritance from Casaubon, it demonstrates once again her essential goodness and piousness as well as her will to be independent.
.
Tertius Lydgate- Lydgate is a doctor who moves to Middlemarch with new ideas and practices of medicine. Although he comes from a wealthy family and has the option of becoming a wealthy doctor, his passion remains with helping those in need no matter the profit he may or may not receive and reforming medical practices. He symbolizes change coming to Middlemarch. When he meets Rosamond Vincy, he believes her to be the perfect woman. After marrying her, he realizes she is only concerned about expensive materialistic things and soon buries Lydgate in debt. The debt caused by Rosamond marks the beginning of Lydgate's downfall both financially and idealistically. He becomes torn between coddling Rosamond during their financial hardship and feeling hatred towards her for putting them into this situation. His idea of bring reform to medical practices becomes more and more like a dream rather than a realistic accomplishment.

Edward Casaubon- Casaubon is a scholarly clergyman who owns a very large estate outside of Middlemarch called Lowick. His sole ambition in life is to write the "Key to all Mythologies" which he is unable to finish before his death. He marries Dorothea believing she is submissive and that he can mold her to be the perfect, obedient wife. However, he mistakes her eagerness to learn and grow as an individual as her worshiping him and his life's work. Casaubon is supporting his second cousin out of duty rather than out of the goodness of his heart which is what Dorothea believes. As Dorothea and Will's relationship grows, Casaubon becomes extremely insecure and jealous. He writes a clause in his will stating that if Dorothea marries Will, she will not receive any of the inheritance from Casaubon.

Rosamond Vincy- Rosamond is a symbol for social mobility and the ability to change social status through conduct (who you know). Her father is a business man and was able to move the family up the social latter because of successful business. Her motivation in life is social advancement, which is why she marries Dr. Lydgate. She believes that he is rich and has aristocratic relatives. By marrying him, she will belong to the upper class. Rosamond is used to a lavish lifestyle and when Lydgate loses all of his money because of her excess spending on "nice things", she becomes manipulative in order to keep all of her possessions. Her dream of leaving Middlemarch and living expensively does not become a reality.

Fred Vincy- Fred is Rosamond's brother. Because he has lived life always having money, he does not know how to behave when he finds himself in debt. In order to come out of debt, Fred has Caleb co-sign on a debt that he promises to pay as soon as he inherits Stone Court from his uncle, Peter Featherstone. However, when Featherstone leaves him nothing, Caleb's family suffers because they cannot pay Fred's debt to which Caleb co-signed. Fred represents greed and the power money and wealth can have over a person who does not know how to control it. His issues with money and the growing debts that surround him ultimately put a strain on his relationship with Mary Garth.

                                                                                               

Image Gallery

George Eliot's Grave, London
By the time of her death, Evans had changed her name to Mary Ann Cross. She died of a throat infection in December of 1880.

First Edition title page of Middlemarch
Middlemarch is Eliot's most widely read novel today.

Nineteenth Century Illustration of the Cholera Epidemic
Middlemarch takes place in 1830, a year when the average age of death was only 38 years old because of disease and poor living conditions. The advent of modern medicine helped to lengthen and improve lives substantially between that year and 1871, when Middlemarch was written. 

Portrait of George Eliot, By Samuel Laurence
Mary Ann Evans developed her signature hairstyle while spending time with Charles and Caroline Bray. She was often described as having a uniquely beautiful appearance.