My Life in Middlemarch: A Memoir by Rebecca Mead
Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot's Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch. The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people," offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not.
In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that deftly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot's masterpiece--the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure--and brings them into our world. Offering both a fascinating reading of Eliot's biography and an exploration of the way aspects of Mead's life uncannily echo that of Eliot herself, My Life in Middlemarch is for every ardent lover of literature who cares about why we read books, and how they read us.
Clearly, this book was a pleasure for Mead to write--it's personal, intimate, yet rigorously researched--and it seems to have deepened her relationship with the novel she loves so much. Her passion proves infectious for the reader as well, and My Life in Middlemarch will surely encourage readers to discover Eliot's masterpiece for the first time -- what an enviable experience -- or, like Mead, to regard it as a lifelong and steadfast companion. -USA Today
Fans of this Victorian mainstay -- or, really, any book lover in a passionate long-term relationship with a novel -- will find Mead's research and analysis deeply gratifying. And if you haven't ever read Middlemarch, Mead's lucid writing will send you straight to the bookstore... A-. -Entertainment Weekly
Anyone who believes that books have the power to shape lives and that 'our own lives can teach us how to read a book' will respond with fascination and delight to Mead's evolving appreciation of the richness and relevance of Eliot's masterwork. -Priscilla Gilman, O Magazine
Part memoir, part biography, part literary appreciation, My Life in Middlemarch is pure pleasure. -NPR
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group