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579 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1860
“She was silent for a few moments, with her eyes fixed on the ground; then she drew a deep breath, and said, looking up at him with solemn sadness—
“O it is difficult—life is very difficult! It seems right to me sometimes that we should follow our strongest feeling—but then, such feelings continually come across the ties that all our former life has made for us—the ties that have made others dependent on us—and would have cut them in two. If life were quite easy and simple, as it might have been in paradise, and we could always see that one being first towards whom… I mean, if life did not make duties for us before love comes, love would be a sign that two people ought to belong to each other. But I see—I feel it is not so now: there are things we must renounce in life; some of us must resign love. Many things are difficult and dark to me; but I see one thing quite clearly—that I must not, cannot, seek my own happiness by sacrificing others. Love is natural; but surely pity and faithfulness and memory are natural too. And they would live in me still, and punish me if I did not obey them. I should be haunted by the suffering I had caused. Our love would be poisoned. Don’t urge me; help me—help me, because I love you.”
"Una mujer demasiado lista es como una oveja con el rabo largo: no por eso vale más."Pero la parte central me aburrió un tanto, y, aunque mejora hacia el final, solo alcanza en contadas ocasiones el nivel de los primeros capítulos.
"Desde la cuna fue una niña sana, hermosa, gordita y boba, en definitiva, el orgullo de su familia,"
Maggie loved to linger in the great spaces of the mill, and often came out with her black hair powdered to a soft whiteness that made her dark eyes flash out with new fire. The resolute din, the unresting motion of the great stones, gi^nng her a dim delicious awe as at the presence of an uncontrollable force—the meal for ever pouring, pouring—the fine white powder softening all surfaces, and making the very spider-nets look like a faery lace-work—the sweet pure scent of the meal—all helped to make Maggie feel that the mill was a little world apart from her outside everyday life. The spiders were especially a subject of speculation with her. She wondered if they had any relations outside the mill, for in that ease there must be a painful difficulty in their family intercourse—a fat and floury spider, accustomed to take his fly well dusted with meal, must suffer a little at a cousin's table where the fly was au naturel,^ and the lady-spiders must be mutually shocked at each other's appearance.Another application of skillful wit:
It was not everybody who could afford to cry so much about their neighbors who had left them nothing; but Mrs. Pullet had married a gentleman farmer, and had leisure and money to carry her crying and everything else to the highest pitch of respectability.The unforgettable, but highly complex characters:
But until every good man is brave, we must expect to find many good women timid, too timid even to believe in the correctness of their own best promptings when these would place them in a minority. And the men at St. Ogg’s were not all brave by any means; some of them were even fond of scandal, and to an extent that might have given their conversation an effeminate character if it had not been distinguished by masculine jokes and by an occasional shrug of the shoulders at the mutual hatred of women. It was a general feeling of the masculine mind at St. Ogg’s that women were not to be interfered with in their treatment of each other.Pay no heed to the stars. There's Marian (Mary Ann) Evans, and then there's everyone else. The only meaning that four-and-a-half signifies is that I do not feel this to be as masterful as Middlemarch, an achievement few novels and even fewer established classics accomplish.
Childhood has no forebodings, but then, it is soothed by no memories of outlived sorrow.I have a sister, or rather I have a tie to this world that I will not break. If nothing else, I have her, and when I no longer have her, I do not know what I will do, but those are not thoughts that need be dwelt upon today. It is because of her that I have those "memories of outlived sorrow", and as such this portrayal of siblinghood that only Evans could create cut me to the quick. Not as deep as it could, however, for with my own kindred I share the solidarity of gender, a bond that eases the translation of one's pain from one to the other and back again. I might not be as forthright a feminist as I am today had I a brother in place of a sister.
You thank God for nothing but your own virtues; you think they are great enough to win you everything else. You have not even a vision of feelings by the side of which your shining virtues are mere darkness!You could call this a romance, a tragedy, a bildungsroman of highest order, but as with Middlemarch Evans writes life in all its entanglements, every lazy dichotomy of good and evil skeined forth in veins that mix and match in that stringent mess humanity has made of life in an effort to live. It is a heartbeat that equates knowing with feeling and seeks to raise both to the utmost, a rare genius that does not excuse its oppression by way of its omniscience. Here is high society, here is high knowledge, here is the patriarchy laid bare with a keen and empathetic glance that transcribed in ink an effort to convey her insight to others, and if there are those who say 'twas a shame the author lived in the times she did, forbear. It's a shame that for all the respect accorded to her in the echelons of literature, for all the phenomenal works she composed in earnest, for all the readers she has inspired ever on, here and there and everywhere she is brought into existence through the letters of her pen name. Marian Evans is her name; you do her no respect by calling her otherwise.
Many things are difficult and dark to me, but I see one thing quite clearly: that I must not, cannot, seek my own happiness by sacrificing others.For all the gorgeous resonance this novel called forth, for all the strength and endurance of its anti-gaslighting measures that should be heralded in every tale of love involving a woman and/or others with less power in their inherent lot in life, I did not give it five stars because of the ending.However, whatever the anathema accredited to spoilers, it is a poor piece of work indeed which may be utterly ruined by the single turn of plot. As here we have the very opposite, (indeed, I would be amazed if Evans were even capable of turning out a poor piece of work), my quibble is a personal one, and should not affect your eagerness to read this in the slightest. And eager you should be; you'll never look at soap operas in fiction, or or romantic relations in real life, or women, or yourself, the same way again.
I am not resigned; I am not sure that life is long enough to learn that lesson.