Middlemarch: Book Four

Serial Reading Guide for Middlemarch: Book Four (chs. 34 – 42)
Page numbers are indicated for the Norton Critical Edition (2000).

1. Track the provocative use of the words “will” and “deed” (esp. at 232, 233, ch. 37).

2. Key passages: Note the “gossamer web” paragraph at 216 (ch.36), and consider the wonderful juxtaposition of science, observation, romantic attraction, and manipulation at 217-219 (ch. 36). Consider also the narrator’s attitude toward Mary Garth (esp. at 254, ch. 40).

3. Portentous lines: Dorothea’s “I have found it out” (244, ch. 39). “Who shall tell what may be the effect of writing?” (256, ch. 41). “In such a crisis as this, some women begin to hate” (265, ch. 42).

4. Consider Eliot’s “cliffhanger” endings to chapters 37 and 41. What will Casaubon do, and how soon will he do it? Who is Raffles and what is his involvement in Middlemarch?

5. Chapter 42’s carefully choreographed revelations of character—enjoy.

Next – Middlemarch: Book Five  (chs. 43 – 53) >

Middlemarch Main Page
Serial Reading Main Page

© Steven J. Venturino 2018