Monday, June 1, 2009

MIddlemay 5: The Dead Hand

Hi All! Progress reports, favorite passages?

18 comments:

Linda said...

Well, well, well... I'm just plunging into Book 5, did a lot of heavy-duty hammock time this past weekend. I'll be back later, and off to comment on Book 4.

Here's an intersting link for Eliot die-hards about her views on judiasm: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000%5C000%5C016%5C572uoajm.asp

Comps of The Chronicle. Happy Day! Peace, Linda

Gina Black said...

Struggling here. The replacement Kindle they sent wouldn't connect to the Mothership. I'm getting Kindle3 sometime today. :sigh: I *have* been reading on my iPod Touch but it's hard going, not sure if that's because of the small screen or the unending narrative, which loses me completely when she starts moralizing. Sometimes, when a pronoun suddenly appears which can only belong to the author, I have to endure the frustration of NOT being able to send my ereader flying at the wall. (I swear that is NOT what happened with Kindle1...really.)

I'm about two weeks behind. I will struggle to catch up. The characters are the glue which are holding me to this story, along with the occasional bit of pointed wit that has, on occasion, made me laugh out loud.

Jolie said...

Oh no! Am I the only one still on schedule? You can do it, guys!

It's odd; I didn't mark any standout passages as I was reading Book 5, but I definitely enjoyed it. I was so glad to see Dorothea finally free and starting to come back into her own, as she was before she got married. And it looks like she's going to continue on this mentally independent path in Book 6, which I just started.

Celia is entertaining as a married lady. She's never been a pushover, but her married status seems to have given her even more confidence. I like her scenes with Dorothea, what with the frankness of their conversations.

moonrat said...

yeah, i'm WAY behind. i didn't get to read anything at all last week because of BEA. i'm about 1/4 of the way through book 5--i'll try to catch up while taking it easy at work this week :)

glad to hear Celia comes back into things! i've missed her.

Sandra Gail Lambert said...

Ding, dong, the Causabon is dead!

So. I'm sure I have this all wrong but Bulstrode married an old rich widow and suppressed the widow's knowledge of her daughter who was Ladislaw's mother (?) and therefore Causobon's cousin (?)? I am so confused. Help.

And Dorothea and Rosamonde meet!

My favorite quote this week is Dorothea's longing "for objects who could be dear to her and to whom she could be dear. She longed for work which would be directly beneficent like the sunshine and the rain.

Jolie said...

Ditto Sandra's question about Bulstrode and Raffles. If anyone was able to divine their history from the conversations we've seen so far, please explain it to me! I was under the impression that there is still some information to be revealed before we understand the Bulstrode-Raffles-Ladislaw connection.

PurpleClover said...

I apologize but I'll have to play catch up at some point. I'm still on chapter 4 and I honestly don't see myself catching up to where you are at soon. I've had a rough couple days/weeks.

I will catch up eventually even if it's only to finish with you guys (I hope!).

If anyone decides to create an updated schedule for us stragglers, let me know!

Becky said...

I'm so thrilled that I am only one day late. :) I finished book five yesterday! By far, the breeziest book of the bunch. Though there were some boggy passages about politics and reforms. One funny (at least funny to me incident, and a clue that my brain wasn't functioning all that well) thing happened when I was reading, my mind read "political union" as "political unicorn." Of course, that jarred me for a second or two :)

Though that chapter could have used unicorns to liven up all the speech-making!

I was so happy to see Causabon kick the bucket!

I'd completely forgot about Celia and her marriage to James. And now there's a baby. But I liked getting back to this. I just love that she calls her sister Dodo. Very apt I think.

S
P
O
I
L
E
R

Cut and pasted from Sparksnotes about Raffles/Bulstrode

Nicholas Bulstrode - Nicholas Bulstrode is a wealthy Middlemarch banker. He is married to Walter Vincy's sister. Bulstrode professes to be a deeply religious Evangelical Protestant, but he has a dark past: he made his fortune as a pawnbroker selling stolen goods. He married Will Ladislaw's grandmother after her first husband died. Her daughter had run away years before, and she insisted that Bulstrode find her daughter before she re-married, because she wanted to leave her wealth to her only surviving child. Bulstrode located the daughter and her child, Will Ladislaw, but he kept her existence a secret. He bribed the man he hired to find her, John Raffles, to keep quiet. John Raffles blackmails him with this information. When Raffles becomes ill, Bulstrode cares for him. However, he disobeys Lydgate's medical advice, and Raffles dies as a result. When the scandal about his past and the circumstances of Raffles's death become known, Bulstrode leaves Middlemarch in shame. He purchases Stone Court from Joshua Rigg Featherstone.

John Raffles - John Raffles is an old business partner of Bulstrode. Bulstrode bribed him to keep the existence of the daughter and grandchild of his first wife secret. He comes back to blackmail Bulstrode. He is Joshua Rigg Featherstone's stepfather. He dies at Stone Court because Bulstrode interferes with Lydgate's medical treatment.

PurpleClover said...

By the way, anyone that wanted to join the JuJu Survivor Biggest Writer Write-a-thon, we are still posting intro's. It's June-July writing marathon for 42k words. Or as many as you want to do. :) So far we have around 20-25 people (authors and aspiring writers).

moonrat said...

ok!! I finished Book 5 on the train home tonight, and made a good dent in Book 6. I REALLY hope I'll be on track through the end now. I'm dying to start something light and fluffy.

I was wondering what had happened with Fred, and what he's been up to since his fever. Glad we looped back in.

I do wonder that Sir James doesn't feel more residual tension with Dorothea. He doesn't really seem to mind having her around at all.

Also, I desperately, desperately want Dorothea and Will to get together. I'm really persistently rooting for them.

How about this raffles and blackmail?

Jolie said...

moonrat, I think the James/Dorothea dynamic is still comfortable because he never did propose to her or express affection directly. She only found out about his feelings through other people, and he found out about her engagement to Casaubon through other people, so there was never any confrontation.

I dunno, I just can't imagine feeling uncomfortable around a guy who used to like me, but then loved and married my baby sister, as long as I had never liked him back.

I'm well into Book 6 now, and I can't decide which I feel more of for Rosamond: contempt or pity. I was right about her stubbornness in the wrong place being a problem for her and Lydgate.

sandralambert said...

Moonrat, I'm uncertain about Will and Dorothea. That quality they have between them from the very first of being able to talk comfortably and deeply is great, but really, Will's moral fibre is pretty flimsy - there's quite a gap between his words and his actions. Although, it seems to be improving in this next section what with the way he upholds his mother's honor.

And thanks Beckie for the Bulstrode info = although I haven't read it all because I don't want to know anything ahead.

Precie said...

An interesting link:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/jan/14/victorian-novels-evolution-altruism

A little tiny part of me always wanted Dorothea and Lydgate to get together. But that would probably be too much social responsibility for one couple to hold.

Linda said...

YAY! I'm all caught up. And wow, I loved THE DEAD HAND. Lots of great stuff, including the whole tension between apothecaries (pharmacists) and physicians. Surgeons also had their own guild - they separated from the barbers (yep). Anyway, as a pharmacist, the whole medical turf stuff with Lydgate fascinated.

My favorite passage was the entire chapter 52. When the Vicar travels to Mary on Fred's behalf. The Vicar is now officially my favorite character. The last two paragraphs had me sobbing into my salad - my kids were quite alarmed.

The story is closing on its conclusion... I will be sad to see these characters go... Peace, Linda

Linda said...

Becky, thanks for that fascinating fill on Bulestrode and Raffles. I missed a lot of that detail. And ty for the spoiler alert!

I also appreciate the title of this section - The Dead Hand. Reaching from the beyond to taint and stain the lives of those left behind. Cool. Peace, Linda

moonrat said...

Hey! I like the title interpretation. That hadn't occurred to me.

Jen A said...

Hmm. Seems I'm the only one posting who's super-duper behind. Just finished book 5 tonight, and I can promise that I won't have books 6, 7 and 8 done by Monday. Sad but true.

I think Sir James still has a bit of a crush on Dorothea, though he won't admit it to himself. Also very happy Dodo is alone again, though Casaubon is a tool for dictating who she CAN'T marry after his death without losing it all. Think it would circumvent that if she gave all the property to Ladislaw in some legally binding agreement and THEN married him? A little non-feminist, I admit, but true love would dictate that they'd have an equal relationship after the marriage and it would all be considered "theirs" instead of "his."

Rosamond is a brat. I am so irritated with her in every scene she's in. And Lydgate has his head up his butt, so that's annoying too. Very happy about Dodo giving the Lowick church to Mr. Farebrother, and still not sure what Mary Garth is going to do in the end. I like her so much, and I like Fred a lot too, but I'm a little sad for Farebrother who I like as well. Those three are my fave characters!

Bulstrode, while annoying because he's uptight, seems to honestly want to make up for past sins through clean living, and I feel just a *teensy* bit bad for him because of the Raffles situation, even though he brought it on himself.

moonrat said...

Jen, I TOTALLY agree with you about Sir James!! I think he still hasn't gotten over his crush on Dorothea--not that he's not happy with Celia, because they seem very happy and serene. But there's definitely some residual "ex"-type tension there. He's definitely overly sensitive and a little possessive about her.

heehee Jen, special for you: word vera: belateda