Middlemarch: Book Three

Serial Reading Guide for Middlemarch: Book Three (chs. 23 – 33)
Page numbers are indicated for the Norton Critical Edition (2000).

Characters introduced in Book Two:
Camden Farebrother (AKA “the Vicar of St. Botoph’s”)
Mr. Tyke (“Rev. Walter Tyke,” a curate)
Adolf Naumann (Will’s friend)
Tantripp (Dorothea’s servant/attendant in Rome)

1. “The terms ‘rector,’ ‘vicar,’ and ‘parson’ all referred to a priest who held the benefice or living of a parish, an income derived from fees on Church lands and parish tithes and who, theoretically, performed sacramental and pastoral duties for his parishioners [those who lived and worked in the parish who were politically and economically dominated by landowner]. Too often, in practice, curates hired by incumbents did the lion’s share of the labor for little pay” (Blackwell Companion to Vic Lit and Culture 144). Note that Farebrother is not a curate (he is “the Vicar of St. Botolph’s), yet presents his own sermons and otherwise acts, humbly, like a hands-on clergyman.

2. Selected quotes regarding the clergy:

Ch 5: “Mr. Casaubon’s house was ready. It was not a parsonage, but a considerable mansion, with much land attached to it. The parsonage was inhabited by the curate, who did all the duty except preaching the morning sermon.” And from ch 9: “Mr. Tucker was the middle-aged curate, one of the ‘inferior clergy,’ who are usually not wanting in sons.”
Ch 6: “In less than an hour, Mrs. Cadwallader had circumvented Mrs. Carter and driven to Freshitt Hall, which was not far from her own parsonage, her husband being resident in Freshitt and keeping a curate in Tipton.”
Ch 16: “Whether Mr. Tyke should be appointed as salaried chaplain to the hospital.” And from ch 18: “On the other hand, there was Tyke, a man entirely given to his clerical office, who was simply curate at a chapel of ease in St. Peter’s parish, and had time for extra duty. Nobody had anything to say against Mr. Tyke, except that they could not bear him, and suspected him of cant.”

3. Spoiler-free selected genealogy tree, through Book Three:

Next – Middlemarch: Book Four (chs. 34 – 42) >

Middlemarch Main Page
Serial Reading Main Page

© Steven J. Venturino 2018