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This was my first George Eliot book, and I was drawn to read it by Charlotte Bronte's foreward to Jane Eyre, where she recommends George Eliot as an influence on her writing. I found this 19th century novel suprisingly readable and enjoyable. The descriptions are sometimes a bit long-winded, and the book is slow to get going, but the conversations are well-written, witty and believable and the characters are well drawn. Our heroine is a rather self-centred young girl from a working class but well-to-do family. The story follows her relationships with each of her family members and with two local young men, neither of which are, for various reasons, suitable for her. The story is written almost entirely from her point of view and, once it gets going, carries you along at a suprisingly fast pace. I have now read two of George Eliot's books, this one and Daniel Deronda and I must say the biggest downside is that they seem to come to a rather abrupt ending, almost as if the author ran out of ideas, or was forced to reduce the length by her publishers, however this does not detract from the skill of the writer and the fascinating 19th century world that she opens up for us.
This is the first George Eliot book that I've read and the only reason I even bothered to pick it up was because it was in the Classics section of our library. You find all sorts of hidden gems in their and this was no acception. George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Anne, who took on the use of a male name like a lot female authors did in the Victorian era was well known for setting her novels in the rural countryside. She wrote a great amount of work including poetry and has had a good deal of her novels being translated for other countries to enjoy. The Mill on the Floss does not appear to be one of these despite the fact that it is mentioned in an Agatha Christie novel and has had a TV adaption made. Maggie Tulliver clearly adores her brother although he doesn't always reciprocate the feelings. This is not the only strong relationship we see her in as her attentions are turned towards her cousins fiance. Who unfortunately also feels the same way. The book deals with all kinds of other problems concerning the loss of the Tullivers business and the likelihood of living in poverty along with the natural clashes between the male and dominant characters. When her love persuades her to sail off with him in a boat her reputation is ruined and only disaster can occur in the next coming years of her life. One which everyone seems to regret. This is a very good insight into the different classes which existed in the 1820s. George Eliot has given such an obvious view as to how the rich lived it is easy to decide who you should sympathise with. Whilst Maggie and her older brother live in a nice estate, other members of the family must reside in poorer establishments yet seem to be able to make the most out of what they have been given. One thing I like about this book is how descriptive it is. In a lot of modern novels the details of people and places are only given a few lines whilst in The Mill on the Floss you can clearly see the wealthiness of characters when mentioning the clothes they wear. Or the areas of the countryside, the woods nearby with a worn out bridge and river. The characters themselves are easy to determine as to what their personalities are like. Maggie Tulliver, though clever is a very spoilt girl who craves affections from those around her. When she requires some attention or is scoulded (in her opinion unfairly) Maggie resorts to anything to be the centre of all that is going on. Sometimes however, this does have a reverse effect. Her brother Tom is scornful of her, possibly down to the fact that she does know a great deal more than him and is continually praised and admired for this talent. This book brings to life some of the troubles which poorer or wealthy people might have had to face up to. It's interesting to see how Eliot has portrayed the land they live in and how different it is from modern day times. There is a lot about social etiquette and how to behave with certain people, some of which you wouldn't believe to be acceptable. Overall this is a book which at first I was unsure as to whether I would enjoy it or not. It has quite a slow beginning and does not really get moving until well into the 200 page section. Other than that it provides a good deal of sentimental values and about strong family ties. It did take me a while to get through but I do think that it was worth it in the end as it finishes with an unexpected spin. This does have a feminine feel about it but that doesn't mean that it includes only romance. I think if you do like the classics then this is something you could enjoy. You can buy this book from Amazon for £1.99 but I am unaware that many book shops still sell it.
I remember once reading a comment written by George Eliot, in which she said that she always hoped for books in which the less pretty, dark haired girl triumphed rather than the elfin blondes. The Mill on The Floss is the tale of the dark girl triumphant - for the man prefers her to her pretty blond cousin. It is also a tale of homour and courage in the face of social disapproval, and finally the fate of the heroine is not a happy one. The plot then - the section of the book deals with the heroine's early life - her adoration for her older brother, her parent's pretentions and errors. Her father's foolishness leads the family into abject poeverty. We see snippets of other family members and local people - not as much detail as you get in Middlemarch, but certainly enough to provide richness. Maggie Tulliver falls in love with her coursn's btrothed, and finds that he returns her feelings. He persuades her to go off with him in a boat and attempts an elopemtn. for the sake of her cousin, who she loves dearly, Maggie returns. The community in which she lives is quick to judge her - assuming that she has slept with Stephen and that he has rejected her. It is obvious that had they run off and married, it would have been excused. Conventions must be followed. hre the parallels with Eliot's own experiences are obvious. Maggie is rejected by her brother and finds herself friendless. She has her own sens of honour in tact, but little else remains to her. When the river floods, she is able to save her brother, and briefly they are friends again before fate overtakes them. George Eliot herself was an unconventional figure - not a beautiful woman, and one who lived with a man who she had not married - a daring enterprise in Victorian England. There are traces of Eliot's own life to be found in the Mill on the Floss - no doubt her own expereinces of socieal judgment and personal isolation have impacted on the characte r of dark haired Maggie Tulliver. As ever with Eliot's work, The Mill on the Floss is rich with insight into a whole society, centered around the lives of the Tulliver family. Richly described scenes and characters bring alive an England of the past, and make comprehensible attitudes that would seem very out of place in this day and age. The modern age is not without its hypocrasises, and by better understanding the past we may make sounder judgements about our own biases.
As one of my set texts for a degree unit in Victorian Literature, I was meant to read The Mill On The Floss. I like to keep up with my reading and I like to do well with my work. I didn't enjoy the novel at all, although I had enjoyed previous Victorain Literature I had read. It's very much about the oppression of Maggie as a female and her eventual death...it is considered to be the first true realist novel. It did not appeal to me at all though. Some elements were far too serious and much of the story felt far too miserable for my liking....it's nice to have a _little_ humour, even if it is only comic relief.
The Mill on the Floss is a great read by George Eliot. Written in the nineteenth century, it nevertheless has many useful parallels to twenty-first century life. Basically it is a novel about a girl called Maggie, who, impulsive even as a child, elopes with her cousin's fiance. The story is based very much around Maggie's thoughts and feelings and she is a heroine who you really begin to care for, unlike her narrow-minded brother Tom. The Mill on the Floss is a well-written and paced story which moves the reader through a variety of emotions, ranging from amusement, which then culminates in the poignanncy of the tragic ending. George Eliot utilises the imagery of the river to great effect throughout the novel and we see Maggie reflected in its turbulent and often dangereous currents. Overall, this is a book that is well worth reading, although long, it is so well paced that you don't really notice the length and it does main tain the reader's interest throughout.