Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dorothea's Lost Dog

"Dorothea Brooke has always irritated me; in fact, she makes my flesh creep. My allergy to this saintly, statuesque heroine, whom everyone else seems to adore, should disqualify me as a lover of Middlemarch, but I hope it won't: when I first read the novel as a junior in college, its greatness made me shiver, but I shivered at, and with, poor Casaubon, struggling with an intractable book and a hectoring wife, and I still do."

These are the opening lines from an essay by Nina Auerbach who is a Professor of Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. I caught this book, "Middlemarch in the Twenty-First Century", edited by Karen Chase as it was being cataloged in my library and took at peek at the essays, and the Auerbach one caught my eye. I want to read it all the way through, but I am afraid it will give too much of the book away (and I have lots to read yet). So I will check it out and read it later. I was quite surprised since Dorothea seems quite a beloved character. At first I was not too thrilled about her (case in point the dog she refused as a gift, which the essay does refer to), but she has grown on me since she married. Now she seems more human maybe. I was also surprised to hear Auerbach say poor Casaubon--so far I have not felt poor Casaubon at all! It is interesting to see such a completely different perspective.

In case you might be interested in this book, it was just published by Oxford University Press. Some of the essays include: "What's Not in Middlemarch", "Space, Movement, and Sexual Feeling in Middlemarch", "Dorothea's Lost Dog", and "A Conclusion in Which Almost Nothing is Concluded: Middlemarch's 'Finale'." Hmm.


Anonymous Diana said...

This sounds like a fascinating book! I wishlisted it, and broke down and ordered a copy of Middlemarch while I was at it (I'm currently reading a library book). I can tell that I'm going to have to revisit this book, as I'm sure I'm missing subtleties.

Thanks for pointing out this book!

12:29 PM  
Blogger Raehan said...

The dogs play an interesting role in the book. Eliot clearly had an affection for dogs.

I wasn't irritated by Dorothea at all, even though I saw her as a flawed character.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

Sounds wonderful! Thanks for bringing this book to our attention, Danielle!

We are all going to have lots to say about the inconclusive conclusion, I have no doubts.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Maxine said...

Hello, I am a devoted follower of your blog. I think this book sounds fascinating and have put it in my (150-plus-item) Amazon basket. I noticed on Amazon that Karen Chase, the editor, has also written a previous book herself about Middlemarch, also published by OUP, and five pounds cheaper. But I like the idea of reading a range of authors and perspectives in one book.

As ever, thank you all for a wonderful blog. I love it.

3:52 AM  
Blogger Ella said...

I'm dying to find this book - that last essay alone sounds perfect for me, since I've just finished and am now wondering what the point of the wrap-up chapter was.

11:03 AM  

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