Been sick as a dog the last few days -- nothing serious, some sort of body-aches/upper respiratory gizmo that had me bunked and moaning for about 40 hours, miserable and grumpy.
This has left me unable to do anything but read all weekend -- that's when I felt well enough to read -- I couldn't even write, which you know I'm sick if I can't make it to the computer for my daily three or four hours at the screen; all I did was read Middlemarch and sleep.
Yes! It's Middlemarch season again. This is such a fine book. Even when you're running a fever of 103 and hallucinating a bit (i kept hearing people singing and alarm bells going off yesterday) or maybe especially when you're hallucinating a bit, how do I know, but this time, my sixth or seventh time through the book, I'm seeing things I never did before -- well, for instance, I knew that "the web" was a huge metaphor Eliot was working with, but not until this time did I see how thoroughly it works. Everything anyone does in that book connects to and effects the actions of a dozen other characters, usually in ways those other characters *never* see or understand, and often with immense (and sometimes tragic) effects.
Way back when Bulstrode does not tell his "rich widow" that he's found Sarah Dunkirk, for instance, her long-lost daughter -- look what far-ranging effects that one action has, on not just Sarah, but on Will Ladislaw, her son, obviously; and on Casaubon and Dorothea's marriage, which, if Casaubon had not been supporting Will, as he was, would not have taken the turn it did; and on Lydgate, the trouble he gets into, which he would not have, had Bulstrode not been trying to hide his wicked ways; and on Dorothea, since if Will had not been around, why, she would not have fallen for his pretty eyes and impetous temper; and on Rosamund, since the destruction of Lydgate is her destruction as well, though she never knows or recognizes that.
None of them, except Will and Bulstrode, know anything about what happened with Sarah Dunkirk, and WIll knows very little; but it shapes all their lives. This, as we can tell from that last paragraph, is Eliot's point. We're an interactive web. You think your actions effect you alone? Well, they don't. And they don't stop effecting the world, maybe forever, and in ways you may never understand.
This is such a brilliant book. Why did they make me read The Scarlet Letter in high school, will someone tell me, when this was available?
1 hour ago