Saturday, April 19, 2014

Middlemarch: A Note On Coming To The End Of Chapter 52, Book 5


I just finished Ch 52, and am roaring like a tortoise toward the end of Book 5. The heights of the novel remain for me, so far, matters Casaubonian and his Mrs., though of necessity that particular focus has changed. He's dead.

I wonder if there will be a falling off of psychological intensity with that shift in focus.

I'm still struck by all the explicit asexuality, and wonder about sexuality's implicit place in the novel. I look forward to reading Rebecca Mead's book about reading and rereading Mm as she grows older and as her relation to the world accordingly changes. Apparently, I've only read the Kindle sample portion of it, she argues for plenty of implicit sex in the novel. I don't want to read any more of her book, natch, till I finish Mm myself. I'm sensing peripheral intimations of sexuality, like Dodo's horse back riding, which she finds so *invigorating,* but they're way more incidental than purposeful, it seems.

I'm keeping in mind a professor friend's comment about Mm extolling the Christian virtues like self sacrifice for good, forgiveness and such as its strong theme. I'm not seeing that and am seeing, rather, the need for a balance between doing good, rather than do gooding, and a healthy portion of self interest.

So even when Farebrother self-effacingly pleads Fred Vincy's case to Mary Garth, a wonderful, penetratingly intelligent and moving scene rooted in laudable self sacrifice, there's a measure of self interest in their exchange, I'd argue, which saves it from irritating piety and conforms more to Eliot's thematic ideal of balance as opposed to inhuman, life denying self sacrifice.

At least so far in my reading it does.

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