The Personalist Project

Accessed on August 09, 2020 - 8:05:59


Katie van Schaijik, Jul 04, 2016

Many years ago I read and loved George Eliot's Middlemarch. I've picked it up a few times since without being able to get far into it. It's too long and slow. The internet (plus deteriorating eyesight) has changed my reading habits, rendering me less capable of enjoying the Victorian style. Recently, though, I downloaded the audio version, and am now reveling anew in the range and depth of her insight into the human psyche and the distinctive modernism of her vision. (I don't mean modernist in the sense of the modernist heresy. No doubt she was guilty of that too, but I mean rather that her mind and perspective were sharply attuned to the concerns of the modern world.) I hadn't remembered, for instance, that at least three of the major characters are inveterate narcissists.

And here she captures succinctly a dysfunctional, co-dependent mode of relating, implicitly contrasted with authentic love:

It was another or rather full kind of companionship that Dorothea hungered for. And the hunger had grown from the perpetual effort of her married life. She was always trying to be what her husband wished, and never able to repose on his delight in what she was.