I was looking over some background material to Middlemarch in my old pb copy of the novel and ran across a couple of points that I thought were interesting. Eliot started the novel in 1869 and the original plot was going to be based on the Featherstone-Vincy material. For some reason the novel just wouldn't work and she gave it up in despair in 1870. Then in November of that year she started writing a new story. "Miss Brooke" which took off. In 1871 she decided to combine the two plots giving us the spine of the multi-plot novel mentioned by HarryT above. Finally, in 1872 Middlemarch was complete.
Personally, I have always found the Brooke section the most interesting part of the novel primarily because of the wonderful portrait of Dorothea and her painful progress to self understanding.
Another interesting point made by David Carroll in the pb copy I mentioned is that in the MS of the novel Eliot quoted a line from Goethe's Faust at the beginning and the end of the story:
"Alas! our actions equally with our sufferings, clog the course of our lives".
She deleted this in the final printed form but Carroll says that it became her own motto. I think it conveys a sense of the painful nature of life clearly evident in much of the book which I believe focuses so much on the responsibility we bear for every choice we make and every vision we embrace.
Last edited by fantasyfan; 07-22-2012 at 02:43 PM.