Middlemarch: Book Two

Serial Reading Guide for Middlemarch: Book Two (chs. 13 – 22)
Page numbers are indicated for the Norton Critical Edition (2000).

Characters introduced in Book One:
Dorothea Brooke (Dodo)
Celia Brooke (Kitty)
Mr. Brooke (lives at Tipton Grange)
Tertius Lydgate
Sir James Chettam (the baronet)
Rev. Edward Casaubon (lives at Lowick)
Will Ladislaw (Casaubon’s cousin. Casaubon’s aunt is Ladislaw’s mother)
Mr. (Rev.) Cadwallader (Humphrey)
Mrs. Elinor Cadwallader
Nicholas Bulstrode
Mrs. Harriet Bulstrode (Mr. Vincy’s sister)
Mr. Vincy (Walter)
Mrs. Lucy Vincy (her sister was Featherstone’s second wife)
Fred Vincy
Rosamond Vincy (Rosy)
Peter Featherstone (lives at Stone Court) (Fred and Rosamond’s uncle). Featherstone’s second wife was Mrs. Vincy’s sister. Featherstone’s first wife was the sister of one of Mary Garth’s parents.
Mrs. Jane Waule (Featherstone’s sister)
Mary Garth

1. Notice how metaphors of the web, weaving, and interconnectedness develop in book two, particularly in chapter 15.

2. Consider how scientific metaphors also help reflect the novel’s themes.

3. Consider these other major themes that are either developing or being introduced: the importance of perspective (both visual and emotional), intentions versus results, circumstances versus fate (or providence), education, reform (personal as well as political), the nature of knowledge, an individual’s relation to history, and the role and effect of art.

4. Dorothea’s storyline does not pick up until chapter 19, but when it does, hang on to your hat. Some of the most poignant and insightful prose ever written emerges in the second half of book two.

Next – Middlemarch: Book Three (chs. 23 – 33) >

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© Steven J. Venturino 2018