What started out as a difficult read ended up becoming one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time. At almost 700 pages, Middlemarch is a humongous book. But the patience and ploughing through was completely worth it. I wrote a separate blog on why Middlemarch left such a deep mark on me.
There’s a lot on the page, and there’s a lot in between the lines. The story is plain and simple. It’s about failure, about not reaching one’s goal. Eliot’s writing is what gives the book and story so much weight and thought – about the complexity inside the simplicity.
Here are 11 quotes from the book covering life and all of it’s confusing, complex aspects.
1. Souls have complexions too: what will suit one will not suit another.
On the detours of life:
2. They are not always too grossly deceived; for Sinbad himself may have fallen by good luck on a true description, and wrong reasoning sometimes lands poor mortals in right conclusions: starting a long way off the true point, and proceeding by loops and zig-zags, we now and then arrive just where we ought to be.
On patience, growth, and other people:
3. They may seem idle and weak because they are growing. We should be very patient with each other, I think.
On new people:
4. One can begin so many things with a new person! – even begin to be a better man.
One kindness, love, and the confusion between:
5. And to me it is one of the most odious thing in a girl’s life, that there must always be some supposition of falling in love coming between her and any man who is kind to her, and to whom she is grateful.
On knowing about art:
6. Art is an old language with a great many artificial affected styles, and sometimes the chief pleasure one gets out of knowing them is the mere sense of knowing.
On love and consequence:
7. That is nonsense, Fred. Men outlive their love, but they don’t outlive the consequences of their recklessness.
On youth and pain:
8. If youth is the season of hope, it is often so only in the sense that our elders are hopeful about us; for no age is so apt as youth to think its emotions, partings, and resolves are the last of their kind. Each crisis seems final, simply because it is new. We are told that the oldest inhabitants in Peru do not cease to be agitated by earthquakes, but they probably see beyond each shock, and reflect that there are plenty more to come.
9. You must be sure of two things: you must love your work, and not be always looking over the edge of it, wanting your play to begin. And the other is, you must not be ashamed of your work, and think it would be more honorable to you to be doing something else.
10. It always remains true that if we had been greater, circumstances would have been less strong against us.
11. They were wasting these last moments together in wretched silence.
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