The Mill on the Floss

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The Mill on the Floss

by George Eliot
Introduction by Margot Livesey

Random House Publishing Group | November 13, 2001 | Trade Paperback |

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One of George Eliot''s best-loved works, The Mill on the Floss is a brilliant portrait of the bonds of provincial life as seen through the eyes of the free-spirited Maggie Tulliver, who is torn between a code of moral responsibility and her hunger for self-fulfillment. Rebellious by nature, she causes friction both among the townspeople of St. Ogg''s and in her own family, particularly with her brother, Tom. Maggie''s passionate nature makes her a beloved heroine, but it is also her undoing.

The Mill on the Floss is a luminous exploration of human relationships and of a heroine who critics say closely resembles Eliot herself.

Format: Trade Paperback

Published: November 13, 2001

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 037575783X

ISBN - 13: 9780375757839

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– More About This Product –

The Mill on the Floss

by George Eliot
Introduction by Margot Livesey

Format: Trade Paperback

Published: November 13, 2001

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 037575783X

ISBN - 13: 9780375757839

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 Outside Dorlcote Mill A wide plain, where the broadening Floss hurries on between its green banks to the sea, and the loving tide, rushing to meet it, checks its passage with an impetuous embrace. On this mighty tide the black ships—laden with the fresh-scented fir-planks, with rounded sacks of oil-bearing seed, or with the dark glitter of coal—are borne along to the town of St. Ogg’s, which shows its aged, fluted red roofs and the broad gables of its wharves between the low wooded hill and the river brink, tinging the water with a soft purple hue under the transient glance of this February sun. Far away on each hand stretch the rich pastures, and the patches of dark earth, made ready for the seed of broad-leaved green crops, or touched already with the tint of the tender-bladed autumn-sown corn. There is a remnant still of the last year’s golden clusters of beehive ricks rising at intervals beyond the hedgerows; and everywhere the hedgerows are studded with trees: the distant ships seem to be lifting their masts and stretching their red-brown sails close among the branches of the spreading ash. Just by the red-roofed town the tributary Ripple flows with a lively current into the Floss. How lovely the little river is, with its dark, changing wavelets! It seems to me like a living companion while I wander along the bank and listen to its low placid voice, as to the voice of one who is deaf and loving. I remember those large dipping willows. I
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From the Publisher

One of George Eliot''s best-loved works, The Mill on the Floss is a brilliant portrait of the bonds of provincial life as seen through the eyes of the free-spirited Maggie Tulliver, who is torn between a code of moral responsibility and her hunger for self-fulfillment. Rebellious by nature, she causes friction both among the townspeople of St. Ogg''s and in her own family, particularly with her brother, Tom. Maggie''s passionate nature makes her a beloved heroine, but it is also her undoing.

The Mill on the Floss is a luminous exploration of human relationships and of a heroine who critics say closely resembles Eliot herself.

From the Jacket

One of George Eliot''s best-loved works, The Mill on the Floss is a brilliant portrait of the bonds of provincial life as seen through the eyes of the free-spirited Maggie Tulliver, who is torn between a code of moral responsibility and her hunger for self-fulfillment. Rebellious by nature, she causes friction both among the townspeople of St. Ogg''s and in her own family, particularly with her brother, Tom. Maggie''s passionate nature makes her a beloved heroine, but it is also her undoing.
The Mill on the Floss is a luminous exploration of human relationships and of a heroine who critics say closely resembles Eliot herself.

About the Author

Margot Livesey, a native of Scotland, is the author of Eva Moves the Furniture, The Missing World, and Criminals. She lives in Massachusetts and London.

Editorial Reviews

"As one comes back to [Eliot''s] books after years of absence they pour out, even against our expectations, the same store of energy and heat, so that we want more than anything to idle in the warmth."
--Virginia Woolf

Bookclub Guide

1. In the first scene in the novel, Maggie is set in opposition to her surroundings, her family, and the notion of what it means to be a Victorian woman. Examine the last four pages of the Chapter II of Book First. How is this juxtaposition highlighted, and through what means? What role does the narrator's voice play in this introduction to our heroine?

Mrs. Tulliver is portrayed as a stagnant and passive woman. Examine her unraveling in Book Third, Chapter II, as her material possessions are taken away from her. What does this say about her identity and its relationship to the material things in her life? How does this relate back to the ideals about women presented in the beginning of the novel?

The contrast between fantasy and reality is a theme that permeates the entire novel. Examine the passage in Book Fourth, Chapter I which contrasts the ruins of castles along the Rhine with the "angular skeletons of villages on the Rhone." How is reality portrayed here and in contrast, what is its relationship with fantasy? Is one an escape from the other or are they mere opposites? What does this passage suggest about the human need for fantasy? Is fantasy an escape or is it portrayed as oppressive?

How does this contrast between reality and fantasy or nostalgia relate to Maggie? In Chapter III of the same section above, Maggie laments the lack of fantasy and nostalgia in her own life and her desire for the "secret of life" (the paragraph that begins with "Maggie's sense of loneliness…") What answers does this passage offer to this question? Does Maggie accept them?

Compare Maggie and her dialogues with Philip to the Maggie during her romance with Stephen. How does the change in her mirror the turn of events in the novel? How and why do the two men affect her in such different ways? Is it merely their own personalities affecting Maggie, or is it something more internal in Maggie that the two men merely bring out in her?

Examine Maggie's relationship with Lucy. The contrast between the two women are clear from the beginning of the novel. How does this contrast shift throughout the novel? How does Maggie's opinion of Lucy change? How does the world that Maggie inhibits differ from Lucy's world?

Representations of "home" vary from chapter to chapter throughout the book. Compare and contrast the multiple allusions to "home" and "nurture" and how they affect the various characters. For example, consider the passage at the end of Chapter III in Book Fifth, where "desire" is juxtaposed with "home" What does "home" represent for Maggie and how does her attitude toward it shift throughout the novel? (Consider the passage towards the end of the novel where Maggie exclaims "I wish I could make myself a world outside it, as men do.")

Examine Maggie's relationship with Tom. What does their conversations throughout Book Fifth suggest about gender? How does her relationship with Tom affect Maggie and her outlook?

Consider the ending of the novel. Why do you suppose the last chapter is titled "Final Rescue" even though the novel ends with Maggie and Tom's tragic death? What does this suggest about the novel's purpose? Looking back, how does this ending justify or explain Maggie's journey throughout the novel?

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