The Most Gorgeous Lines in ‘Middlemarch’

middlemarchI just finished the epic project of reading Middlemarch. Somehow, after 785 paperback pages, I actually miss it. Obviously Middlemarch doesn’t need me to sing its praises, but it was even more beautiful than I expected. Perfectly plotted, minutely observed, rarely boring (except when everyone in town drones on about hospital plans for a whole chapter) … reading it will make your writing better. I had to stop myself from reading every few lines aloud to my partner.

Here, a few of my favorites to mark the occasion:

“It is always fatal to have music or poetry interrupted.”

“If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.”

“And certainly, the mistakes that we male and female mortals make when we have our own way might fairly raise some wonder that we are so fond of it.”

“Confound you handsome young fellows! You think of having it all your own way in the world. You don’t understand women. They don’t admire you half so much as you admire yourselves.”

“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 the earthquakes, but they probably see beyond each shock, and reflect that there are plenty more to come.”

“The troublesome ones in a family are usually either the wits or the idiots.”

“Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.”

“A prig is a fellow who is always making you a present of his opinions.”

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