Travels with Eliot

In chapter fifteen of Middlemarch (1871–72), George Eliot writes about the germination of literary passion: ‘Most of us who turn to any subject we love remember some morning or evening hour when we got on a high stool to reach down an untried volume … as the first traceable beginning of our love.’ Rebecca Mead’s book on her own engagement with Middlemarch captures this experience of burgeoning intellectual desire: the rush of recognition a reader can feel upon first encountering a novel, and the enduring relevance a beloved book might offer as its contents transform through frequent readings.

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Published in April 2014 no. 360

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