Ruth Bernard Yeazell is Chace Family Professor of ­English at Yale. Her books include Art of the Everyday: Dutch Painting and the Realist Novel and Fictions of Modesty: Women and Courtship in the English Novel. (April 2014)


Growing Up with Middlemarch

George Eliot; chalk drawing by Sir Frederic William Burton, 1865

My Life in Middlemarch

by Rebecca Mead
What did Virginia Woolf mean by calling George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871–1872) “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people”? Like many of Woolf’s most telling critical remarks, it is tossed off without elaboration, as if both the character of Eliot’s “magnificent book” and the judgment on the rest …