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 …


The Highest Form of Flattery

Ford Maddox Brown: The Last of England, 1852–1855

Like the nineteenth century, our own moment is one at which the expansion of museums and new technologies for the dissemination of images have combined to make the history of art-making seem open to view as never before. Elizabeth Prettejohn’s elegant new book reminds us that pastiche and ironic “appropriation” are not the only possible responses to that experience.