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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating!
I cried bitter tears on finishing this classic! Beautifully written with acutely observed characters. Overall it was a powerful and emotional trip through the life and loves of a passionate, complex and intelligent woman.
Repressed feelings, social ostracism, family feuds, kinship, pomp, pride, spirit, materialism, forgiveness, sibling love, sexual love, morality,...
Published on 20 Aug 2005

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long time to get into it
I'd forgotten that this book takes so long before things start to move. Now I know why I hated it at school.Other re-read classics have been really enjoyable.
Published 11 months ago by walker


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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating!, 20 Aug 2005
By A Customer
I cried bitter tears on finishing this classic! Beautifully written with acutely observed characters. Overall it was a powerful and emotional trip through the life and loves of a passionate, complex and intelligent woman.
Repressed feelings, social ostracism, family feuds, kinship, pomp, pride, spirit, materialism, forgiveness, sibling love, sexual love, morality, independence, dependence and, ultimately, gutwrenching tragedy. Loved it.
That about sums it up really!!
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could give seven stars, 21 Aug 2005
By A Customer
RUN, do not walk, to bookshop or library and soak yourself in this glorious treat. Eliot is both bracing and ineffably comforting. All of humanity is here, beautifully observed, but best of all are the meticulous and kind descriptions of Maggie Tulliver's childhood, her rebellions and reactions, and the staring incomprehension of the much duller adults by whom she's surrounded. No-one conveys childhood boredom and bewilderment so well as Eliot does here. As the jaws of society close on Maggie, there's a dullish Dickensian plot abotu family ruin and suitors, but it hardly matters - what matters is the dazzling characterisation, the rolling Miltonic majesty of the prose. This is a nice edition with a good clear typeface.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of great beauty, depth & a superb literary classic!, 7 Aug 2005
Powerful and moving, "The Mill on the Floss" is considered to be George Eliot's most autobiographical novel. Along with "Middlemarch" it is my favorite. Set in early 19th century England - St. Ogg's, Lincolnshire to be exact - this is the tale of gifted, free-spirited Maggie Tulliver and her selfish, spoiled brother, Tom, who were born and raised at Dorlcote Mill on the River Floss. Eliot's portrayal of sibling relationships is terribly poignant and plays a major part in the novel, as does the longstanding rivalry between two local families - the Tullivers and the Wakems.
From earliest childhood Maggie worships her brother Tom, and longs to win his approval, and that of her parents. However, her fierce intelligence and strong streak of independence bring her into constant conflict with her family. She finds, in literature, the kindness and love she longs for in life. "...everybody in the world seemed so hard and unkind to Maggie: there was no indulgence, no fondness, such as she imagined when she fashioned the world afresh in her own thoughts. In books there were people who were always agreeable or tender, and delighted to do things that made one happy, and who did not show their kindness by finding fault. The world outside the books was not a happy one Maggie felt. If life had no love in it, what else was there for Maggie?" Her nature, complex, passionate, sensuous, noble, intellectualized, and spiritualized, is of great importance to this novel, as is the pathos of her relationship with Tom.
Maggie's early years are brilliantly and unsentimentally portrayed from a child's perspective. The author structures a sequence of childhood's phases, which might appear, at first, to be random vignettes, but constitute an excellent psychological basis on which to build a character and motivation. Eliot once stated "my stories always grow out of my psychological conception of the dramatis personae." Thus, the author chronicles Maggie's life as she grows from a precocious little girl to a strikingly attractive young woman, tall with full lips, and a "crown" of jet black hair. Her lack of social pretension makes her even more charming and likeable. As she matures her conflicts with her brother, her family, even with her community, increase significantly. She, herself, feels torn between what is considered her "moral responsibility" and her search for self-fulfillment. Ultimately, she demonstrates honor and courage in the face of the disapproval of a narrow, tradition-bound society.
Parallel to, and intertwined with, Maggie's story, is that of families Tullivur and Wakem. After Tullivur loses his mill and social respectability through bankruptcy, (a loss precipitated by a rash lawsuit he undertook), Wakem purchases it all. Mr. Tullivur agrees to stay on as manager. At first he seems resigned to his misfortune. However, within the space of a few pages he is swearing vengeance on the new owner and cursing him. He actually summons Tom to inscribe his curse on Wakem in the family Bible, and makes his son swear to uphold it. The feud becomes violent when Wakem, in the role of proprietor, appropriately corrects Tullivur's management of the mill. Of course the criticism is taken as an insult, and shortly afterward, upon meeting his boss on the road, Tullivur horsewhips him in "a frenzy of triumphant vengeance." Tom sees this uncontrolled outbreak of madness as the result of long repressed hatred. Mr. Tullivur never repents his beating of Wakem. His injured pride and sense of righteous indignation, justify him in his own mind. This lack of forgiveness is also demonstrated by Tom for his sister. In direct contrast, Maggie couples love with forgiveness.
As she reaches adulthood, Maggie finds herself torn between her relationships with three extremely different men: her proud, stubborn brother, Tom; Philip Wakem, a beloved friend who is also the son of her family's worst enemy; and a charismatic but unacceptable suitor. When Tom is thrown suddenly into the role of adult, after his father's death, he becomes obsessed with acquiring social status and power. He attempts to arrange a socially advantageous marriage for Maggie, and when she refuses, he severs ties with her.
I won't spoil your read with any further discussion of the novel's details, especially the dramatic conclusion. George Eliot's writes with a keen sense of humor, especially when addressing the grotesque in the human character. Her narrative has great depth, as insight to character and social observations are more important to Eliot than pace and action. "The Mill On The Floss" is deeply romantic - a work of great beauty and a literary classic. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
"The Mill On The Floss" is based partially on Eliot's, (born Mary Ann Evans), own experiences with her family and her brother Isaac, who was three years older than she. Eliot's father, like Mr. Tulliver, was a businessman who had married a woman from a higher social class. His wife's sisters were rich, ultra-respectable, and self-satisfied. These maternal aunts provided the character models for the aunts in the novel. Like Maggie, Eliot was extremely intelligent, energetic, imaginative and unconventional. She did not fit traditional models of feminine beauty or behavior, causing her family a great deal of consternation. Eliot lived with a man who she had not married - a daring enterprise in Victorian England. By the time this novel was published, she had gained considerable notoriety as an "immoral woman."
In this edition writer and critic A. S. Byatt provides full explanatory notes and an Introduction further relating "Mill On The Floss" to George Eliot's own life and times.
JANA
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eliot is superb as always! I'd give it 10 stars if I could, 2 Oct 2007
By 
Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is Eliot's somewhat autobiographical novel, and tells the story of Maggie Tulliver and her brother Tom. The story takes place in the village of St. Ogg, and at the Mill on The Floss that's been in the Tulliver family for generations. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Eliot depicted the sibling relationship between Maggie and Tom with all of those ups and downs that we all have experienced with our siblings, and culminating in the final finish of the story that thoroughly blew me away. I think I just sat for a good ten minutes just saying Oh Wow over and over again, and then felt the need to seek out my brothers and give them both a big hug.

The joy of reading this novel or any other by Eliot is her gorgeous prose and brilliant characterizations, even with the minor characters. Just be warned, this is not an action packed, sit on the edge of your seat, can't put it down until it's finished type of novel. This is a story to savor and enjoy the multi-faceted characters and the author's glorious prose like a fine red wine or a box of chocolates (or both). If you are looking for high action and adventure, this is not the book for you. Highly recommended for any lover of 19th century English literature, not as dark and brooding as Hardy can be, but the prose is just as lovely, if not better.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "It's not right to sacrifice everything to other people's unreasonable feelings.", 7 July 2008
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Mill on the Floss (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
The Mill on the Floss, published in 1860, traces the turmoil in the life of Maggie Tulliver, a young woman who has a streak of independence but who also feels close to her father and her brother and believes that she must always honor their feelings and wishes. Maggie's father is the owner of the Dorlcote Mill on the Floss River, a failing business drawing him into increasing debt to his relatives and creditors. Her brother Tom, with no interest in the mill, is encouraged to learn other skills which may suit him for a higher level of society. When the mill fails and is sold at auction to Lawyer Wakem, the Tullivers become social outcasts, at the mercy of creditors and dependent on their extended family.

Philip Wakem, son of Lawyer Wakem, is a hunchback who has been a school friend of Tom Tulliver and a special friend of Maggie, who treats him kindly and appreciates his intelligence and thoughtfulness. When the mill is sold to Wakem, Tom and Mr. Tulliver end all contact with the Wakem family, and though Maggie continues to see Philip privately, Tom eventually forces her to choose between the family and Philip. Another relationship with Stephen Guest, who has been courting her cousin Lucy, unleashes Maggie's passions and leads to a dramatic conclusion.

Throughout the novel George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans) explores the many kinds of love in Maggie's life--her devoted love of her father, her dependence on and love for her brother, her intellectual and kindly love for Philip, and her passionate love of Stephen Guest. Creating a fully drawn character in Maggie, Eliot shows a full picture of a young woman of 1860, trying to be independent, trying to live according to society's strictures, and trying to be true to her own feelings, despite pressures from family and society. Eliot, who herself made the scandalous choice to live openly with a married man for twenty-six years, was thoroughly familiar with these issues herself, and her depictions of such themes as family loyalty and the social conventions and limitations of class carry the ring of truth.

Psychologically astute in the exploration of themes as they affect Maggie, Eliot amplifies these themes through imagery from nature, legend, and even religion. Often melodramatic in plot, the novel remains realistic, even autobiographical, in its attention to character. Though it is not as fully developed as her later novel Middlemarch, Mill on the Floss is still a well developed, thoughtful novel which goes far beyond the pulp fiction being serialized in newspapers and magazines during that time. Mary Whipple
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning end, 2 Aug 2007
By 
David Armes - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Mill on the Floss (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Don't read the introduction or any preface to this book if you do not know the story, that is, until you have read Eliot's tale!

All but the 'only child' will recognise the sibling rivalry in this book, as relevant today as when it was written. Often I found myself thinking of my 21st Century brothers whilst reading about 19th Century farmers' wives (!!!) Lots of seemingly modern 'self esteem' issues are developed and honed perfectly.

Eliot takes us through the life of the Tulliver family but does not let you get too comfortable with predicting the plot and imagining how the tale will develop. There are some real surprises in this book, not least, in my opinion the ending.

The end to this story is stunning, in so much as you don't have the time or the build up to see it coming.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tear-jerker, 12 July 2011
By 
R. L. Johnstone (Iceland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Mill on the Floss (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
I was bowled over by Middlemarch, then read Daniel Deronda and couldn't wait to start this, so my expectations were high. I did find the first book a bit of a let down (but only because I was expecting Middlemarch), but was soon deeply into it. I had never seen any tv or film of this, so the end caught be by surprise and I found myself bawling at Milan Malpensa, surrounded by hundreds of people. Not by best moment!

I still think Middlemarch is better, because it delves into the political transformations of the recent history (40 years before she wrote it), but the Mill on the Floss is a deeply moving read. No spoilers from me, but READ THIS. And then read everything else she ever wrote! She's got Dicken's sense of class relationships and experiences; Austin's understanding of persons and a wicked, original and unique sense of humour.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic novel about a young woman's education or lack of it, 2 April 2011
By 
Alun Williams "mathematician manqué" (Peterborough,England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I have never read any George Eliot novels before, and have to confess to coming to this book expecting not to like it much. This is a very carefully constructed novel - a Bildungsroman (well nearly) set in the early 19th century. Heroine Maggie Tulliver is the daughter of a rather foolish, but prosperous mill-owner and his even more foolish though good-natured wife, whose sisters and their husbands are important secondary characters in the novel. Mr Tulliver dotes on his dark haired child who shares his hot temper, while his wife is sadly puzzled by her daughter. Maggie craves the love and approval of her less intellectual but much more practical brother Tom but her impetuous nature causes frequent clashes between them. The key incident in the novel, divided into seven "books", is a family disaster which effectively marks the end of childhood for Tom and Maggie at the start of book 3. It was at this point that I really began to enjoy the novel: I had found the description of Tom and Maggie's childhood dull - I think mainly due to the author's rather ironic tone, which made it hard for me to enter into the feelings of Tom and Maggie - at that point I was comparing George Eliot very unfavourably with one of my favourite female writers, Rumer Godden, who excelled in portraying the joys and troubles of childhood.
I found the second two thirds of the book much more satisfying - a tragicomic succession of disasters befall the Tullivers, which the author uses to point up the strengths and weaknesses of the provincial society of the period, but Maggie becomes more interesting as she turns first to asceticism and then to love, first with the son of her family's worst enemy, who is the only person who takes her intellect seriously, and finally with a new and even more dangerous man.
This edition has been edited by A.S. Byatt and she has done an excellent job: her notes are very interesting and she has gone back to the manuscript to restore some of the vitality and originality of George Eliot's writing, which it seems may have been toned down to please the taste of her publisher.
Although this novel has its faults I will certainly look forward to reading some of the author's other works now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eliot is superb as always! I'd give it 10 stars if I could, 6 Oct 2007
By 
Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is Eliot's somewhat autobiographical novel, and tells the story of Maggie Tulliver and her brother Tom. The story takes place in the village of St. Ogg, and at the Mill on The Floss that's been in the Tulliver family for generations. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Eliot depicted the sibling relationship between Maggie and Tom with all of those ups and downs that we all have experienced with our siblings, and culminating in the final finish of the story that thoroughly blew me away. I think I just sat for a good ten minutes just saying Oh Wow over and over again, and then felt the need to seek out my brothers and give them both a big hug.

The joy of reading this novel or any other by Eliot is her gorgeous prose and brilliant characterizations, even with the minor characters. Just be warned, this is not an action packed, sit on the edge of your seat, can't put it down until it's finished type of novel. This is a story to savor and enjoy the multi-faceted characters and the author's glorious prose like a fine red wine or a box of chocolates (or both). If you are looking for high action and adventure, this is not the book for you. Highly recommended for any lover of 19th century English literature, not as dark and brooding as Hardy can be, but the prose is just as lovely, if not better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eliot is superb as always! I would give this 10 stars if I could, 6 Oct 2007
By 
Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Mill on the Floss (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
This is Eliot's semi autobiographical novel, and tells the story of Maggie Tulliver and her brother Tom. The story takes place in the village of St. Ogg, and at the Mill on The Floss that's been in the Tulliver family for generations. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Eliot depicted the sibling relationship between Maggie and Tom with all of those ups and downs that we all have experienced with our siblings, and culminating in the final finish of the story that thoroughly blew me away. I think I just sat for a good ten minutes just saying Oh Wow over and over again, and then felt the need to seek out my brothers and give them both a big hug.

The joy of reading this novel or any other by Eliot is her gorgeous prose and brilliant characterizations, even with the minor characters. Just be warned, this is not an action packed, sit on the edge of your seat, can't put it down until it's finished type of novel. This is a story to savor and enjoy the multi-faceted characters and the author's glorious prose like a fine red wine or a box of chocolates (or both). If you are looking for high action and adventure, this is not the book for you. Highly recommended for any lover of 19th century English literature, not as dark and brooding as Hardy can be, but the prose is just as lovely, if not better.
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The Mill on the Floss (Wordsworth Classics)
The Mill on the Floss (Wordsworth Classics) by George Eliot (Paperback - 7 Oct 1993)
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