Well - I am about two thirds of the way through my rereading of Middlemarch
. I always wonder if I will enjoy a novel as much the second (or third time around) because sometimes it seems like a certain story really hits home to me more due to my age, or life experience at the time I read it rather than because of the merits of the story itself. So I am happy to report that I am enjoying Middlemarch even more this time. It is a novel that really gains in depth.
Of course the actual end date of the read for Knit the Classics
was June 30th but we seem to have a few stragglers like me who were determined to finish the novel anyway. Middlemarch is a slow read at first while Eliot lays out all the characters and their situation and personalities, and it is a very long book so we probably should have allowed more time for it. But it was our first read & we are learning as we go. We have set aside two months for Wives and Daughters
- and some of our readers have already finished it! Hopefully this will give everyone time for a lively discussion.
I finally got my DVD copy of the Middlemarch miniseries
which came out in the mid nineties. I decided to watch it concurrently with my reading so over the weekend I watched the first three episodes. For the most part I really liked the casting in this one - everyone seemed very well suited for the roles, especially Dorothea, Fred, Mr. Brooke, Lydgate and Will Ladislaw (even though he was a blond in the book). I've noticed that Eliot tends to make her "deeper" characters dark haired (Dorothea, Lydgate, Mary) and her more shallow characters blond (Rosamund, Fred, Ladislaw). In fact the one casting mistake in the movie was the Rosamund character - she wasn't blond enough. Eliot continually refers to Rosamund's infantile blondness which I took to mean that super almost white blond hair that babies often have. This visual trait of Rosamund's is really important to the plot of the novel because it determines how others view her - as innocent, rare and pure - which allows Rosamund to operate in a very manipulative manner, taking advantage of people's suppositions about her character.
Overall I really like the miniseries adaptation of the novel. Many of the scenes use the exact dialogue from the book. Of course the narrative "voice over" that gives the novel so much depth is really missed in the movie itself. It could have been easily possible to include something like that (as they did in the movie of The Age of Innocence
). Once scene which I thought was mishandled was the part where Rosamund manipulates Lydgate into marrying her. She was too straightforward and not fragile enough in the movie. I also thought that it was a wrong choice to make Rosamund respond so sexually to Lydgate. In the book, the Rosamund-Lydgate marriage is a mirror to that of Dorothea-Casaubon. Rosamund should have been more cold and unresponsive to her husband's passion. She wouldn't have wanted him to muss her hair or her dress. She was all about external appearances. I think Rosamund can be compared to the May character in The Age of Innocence
. Both used other people's perception of them as innocents in order to manipulate them to get what they wanted. Neither of those women loved their husbands (or anyone else) except in relationship to what their husbands gave them or did for them. Quite the same way that Casaubon can only perceive Dorothea through his own selfish and narrow focus. (*After I wrote this and was providing links I noticed the first reviewer called The Age of Innocence "the American Middlemarch" which I think is an apt description.)
Well - that's my KAL update for now. I've gotten about 8 repeats done of the box lace pattern on my shawl - only 18 more to go. I also have my first knitting class tonight & I will (hopefully) get started on the Leaf Lace Shawl from Fiber Trends
. I excited and also really nervous. I will have to battle traffic to get up there in time and that always makes me feel stressed. But I guess that is what I have to do if I am going to come out of my knitting closet and actually knit with other knitters!
Thanks to everyone who expressed concern about my daughter. She is doing really well now. We are just crossing our fingers and hoping it doesn't happen again.