August 9, 2007

A.S. Byatt on Middlemarch

From The Guardian:
What do I think of Middlemarch? asked the great American poet Emily Dickinson. "What do I think of glory?" And Virginia Woolf called it "The magnificent book, which with all its imperfections, is one of the few English books written for grown-up people". Many of what Woolf thought were imperfections are in fact strengths. It is possible to argue that Middlemarch is the greatest English novel. (read the rest here)
The special features on the DVD set of Middlemarch include an excellent hour-long feature on the novel featuring interviews with a number of writers and critics including David Lodge, Terry Eagleton, and Byatt; a great moment is Byatt remarking that if she envies another novelist anything, she envies George Eliot the moment when she realizes what she can do with her web metaphor in Middlemarch. The occasion for this piece is the reissuing of Middlemarch along with Byatt's Possession in the Vintage Classics Twins series. I must say that though I am a fan of both novels, they seem an odd pairing.

(HT: Conversational Reading)

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