The Best of the Best – Quotes from Middlemarch

Middlemarch by George Eliot

So, I read this book because it appears on so many “read before you die” book lists. I get why now, because it’s beautifully written and is a great book about those times in England and provincial life in general..but it just went on and on…and on and on. Basically, good and bad things happen to good and bad people. There’s money drama, love drama, class drama. It just take over 900 pages to get through all the drama.

But I’ve compiled my favorite quotes from this novel for all of you to enjoy. No need to read the entire novel, unless of course you’d like to check it of your reading bucket list. Plus, it’s free for your Kindle.

Women were expected to have weak opinions; but the great safeguard of society and of domestic life was, that opinions were not acted on. Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.

Souls have complexions too: what will suit one will not suit another.

My mind is something like the ghost of an ancient, wandering about the world and trying mentally to construct it as it used to be, in spite of ruin and confusing changes.

Her whole soul was possessed by the fact that a fuller life was opening before her: she was a neophyte about to enter on a higher grade of initiation.

We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time; keep back the tears and look a little pale about the lips, and in answer to inquiries say, “Oh, nothing!” Pride helps us; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our own hurts–not to hurt others.

Confound you handsome young fellows! you think of having it all your own way in the world. You don’t under stand women. They don’t admire you half so much as you admire yourselves.

“I suppose a woman is never in love with any one she has always known– ever since she can remember; as a man often is. It is always some new fellow who strikes a girl.”

Each lived in a world of which the other knew nothing.

There are characters which are continually creating collisions and nodes for themselves in dramas which nobody is prepared to act with them. Their susceptibilities will clash against objects that remain innocently quiet.

Mortals are easily tempted to pinch the life out of their neighbor’s buzzing glory, and think that such killing is no murder.

“Yes, I shall take my own time–you needn’t offer me yours,” said Peter.

There were intervals in which she could sit perfectly still, enjoying the outer stillness and the subdued light.

People were so ridiculous with their illusions, carrying their fool’s caps unawares, thinking their own lies opaque while everybody else’s were transparent, making themselves exceptions to everything, as if when all the world looked yellow under a lamp they alone were rosy.

Young people are usually blind to everything but their own wishes, and seldom imagine how much those wishes cost others.

Shallow natures dream of an easy sway over the emotions of others, trusting implicitly in their own petty magic to turn the deepest streams, and confident, by pretty gestures and remarks, of making the thing that is not as though it were.

Unhappily her mind slipped off it for a whole hour; and at the end she found herself reading sentences twice over with an intense consciousness of many things, but not of any one thing contained in the text. This was hopeless.

The rain was dashing against the window-panes as if an angry spirit were within it, and behind it was the great swoop of the wind; it was one of those moments in which both the busy and the idle pause with a certain awe.

All through their girlhood she had felt that she could act on her sister by a word judiciously placed–by opening a little window for the daylight of her own understanding to enter among the strange colored lamps by which Dodo habitually saw.

“Ay, ay; you want to coax me into thinking him a fine match.” “No, indeed, father. I don’t love him because he is a fine match.” “What for, then?” “Oh, dear, because I have always loved him. I should never like scolding any one else so well; and that is a point to be thought of in a husband.”

Some set out, like Crusaders of old, with a glorious equipment of hope and enthusiasm and get broken by the way, wanting patience with each other and the world.

Where women love each other, men learn to smother their mutual dislike.

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