Samantha Ellis

Friend of Dorothea

The Road to Middlemarch: My Life with George Eliot


Granta Books 293pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

When Rebecca Mead first read Middlemarch, aged 17, she was dreaming of leaving her English seaside town for university and ‘identified completely’ with Dorothea, George Eliot’s 19-year-old heroine who ‘yearns for a more significant existence’. Now in her forties, living in New York and a staff writer for the New Yorker, Mead realises she is the same age as Casaubon, the desiccated pedant Dorothea marries. Like him she is sometimes ‘consumed by a sense of doors closing behind me, alternative lives unlived’ and to help herself out of this crisis, she resolves to examine her feelings about Middlemarch and its author.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'It would be nice to think that women will achieve equal pay in my lifetime, rather than to watch gloomily as stati… ,
    • In 1660, two of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant fled across the Atlantic to New England. But were… ,
    • Howard Jacobson's sixteenth novel is 'a love story of sorts, one characterised not by physical desire or even conta… ,
    • 'The sudden immersion in the new and unfamiliar can lead people to write with a rare lack of self-consciousness' P… ,
    • 'Pools bend the rules. Clothes slip off, skin glistens, consciousness heightens. A dreamlike scenario unfolds' Jam… ,
    • 'Although he surely didn’t know W H Auden’s theory that every high C proclaims human freedom and our capacity to tr… ,
    • RT : With beginning tomorrow, we've uncovered a 1997 article from the archive reviewing 'Golf Dream… ,