Growing up as a bookish, ambitious young woman in England, Rebecca Mead found Middlemarch life-changing: the vitality of its characters, the wisdom of its prose, and the evocation of a "provincial life" that echoed one she knew. She also made a lifelong friend in the remarkable George Eliot, a woman who triumphed in the Victorian literary establishment, all the while writing highly unusual fiction - and, not incidentally, living in sin with a married man.
Middlemarch is a book about a young woman coming into her own. Mead's memoir, My Life in Middlemarch, is, too: Mead leads us through the novel and points to its contemporary relevance, all the while sharing her own, parallel journey. My Life in Middlemarch is a terrific companion piece for anyone who knows and loves the novel. But it stands on its own: as a personal story, or as an introduction to the book Virginia Woolf called "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people."
Join Rebecca and me as we discuss George Eliot, Dorothea Brooke, what the novel can teach us today, plus life, love, and, yes, sex in Middlemarch. To ask a question click the Discuss button at the end of this post.