Middlemarch, Again


Well, I’m trying to read Middlemarch again, by which I mean Grace and I are watching the 1994 BBC2 adaptation. It’s very unsettling to watch a young Rufus Sewell as Ladislaw and realize that he looks exactly like a handsome Peter Lorre, but I do like to feel as if I’m making progress, and nothing makes me feel like I’m making progress more than trying to read the same book every year and only making it through the same forty pages I did the year before.

Whenever I read a Victorian-era novel I like to mentally assign myself the most difficult man in the book as my husband, and ask myself how I would make him happy; with Middlemarch I rank all the characters in accordance with how good they would be at making Causabon, an old goth piece of French toast and my favorite man in the world, happy. So far none of them have met my exacting standards. (It is SO EASY to make him happy!!! Never ask him about a book and every time he tells you he’s started another pamphlet, praise him to the skies!!! Then also submit comments on his last pamphlet on the Etruscan Mysteries under various pseudonyms so he thinks that people are really getting invested in his pamphlets! GOD, Dorothea, either do it right or don’t marry an old man at all!)

CAUSABON: I think all books are based on the same triangle, or whatever, so I’m dedicating my life to finding triangles in books

CORRECT ANSWER: this is amazing, you’re doing amazing, I will hold your hair back as you circle things that might be triangles in old scrolls for the rest of your life, which cannot be more than another twenty pages, going so far as to draw triangles into old copies of Boethius to help bolster your theory

INCORRECT ANSWER: Why don’t you write a book, why can’t I circle triangles with you, did anyone say anything about your latest Why Triangles Undergird Civilization letter to the editor of Aged Cranks Quarterly?

SOME OLD GUY: If you do not plan on marrying Rosamond you should consider being slightly less ostentatious when you flirt with her, so as not to raise her expectations

LYDGATE: fuck you, I’m not marrying anyone until I’ve discovered what atoms are, but in the meantime I’m going to flirt with her ten times as hard

ME, FROM MY COUCH: I cannot fucking wait for this girl to ruin your life over some furniture

LADISLAW: I speak German and I’m here to tell you that Germans invented German to talk about how your husband is an idiot

DOROTHEA: You fucking idiot. You piece of shit. how come you didn’t tell me you can’t read German. im so embarrassed I could scream. how am I supposed to hold my head up when I go to town? “there goes Dorothea, whose husband can’t even speak German,” they’ll say. my god you must really hate me

HUSBANDBOT FIVE THOUS-O-TRON: I speak Esperanto and I am here to tell you that your husband is an idiot also

DOROTHEA: then we will be married in six to eight years, I will marry anyone who speaks a language my husband doesn’t and warns me that he’s secretly stupid. Thank you.

I look forward to seeing you all here next year when I finally read far enough to find out who Jimmy Riggs is, thank you for your time.