George Eliot's seventh and perhaps most famous novel almost didn't get written! It took birth as a short novella titled Miss Brooke but she was unhappy with its progress and finally in despair, she decided to put it aside for a couple of years. Meanwhile, personal problems intervened and when she took up the project again, it was with a renewed sense of creativity.
Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life first appeared as an eight-part serial novel in 1871-72. In 1874, it was finally compiled into a full length novel and attained instant fame and success. Planned and executed on an epic scale, it is a monumental work that brings together many streams, plot ideas, characters, social and economic concepts and the author's deep concern for the issues of the day. Women's status, the industrial revolution, the disappearance of rural England and the rise of the newly rich and brash middle class, politics, sexual mores, morality, religion and marriage were some of the many viewpoints explored in this very significant work.