Nicholas Dames

Nov 25, 2022

On George Eliot's "Middlemarch"

A Discussion with Nicholas Dames

New Books Network 2022

By the time we reach middle age, our lives have taken certain paths. Sometimes these paths are close to what we imagined in our youth. But more often, they’re dramatically different. We come to realize that there are larger, invisible forces that tend to have just as much a say, or more, in how our lives go as we do. In her 1871 novel Middlemarch, the English writer George Eliot explored this experience of ‘middleness’—a time halfway between what has already happened, and what has yet to happen. A time when we feel more sharply our own limitations. Nicholas Dames is Theodore Kahan Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He is the author of Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, 1810-1870, and The Physiology of the Novel: Reading, Neural Science, and the Form of Victorian Fiction. See more information on our website,

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