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Middlemarch | Study Guide

George Eliot

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Middlemarch | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Spring 1829

    Dorothea and Celia divide their mother's jewelry on the six-month anniversary of her death.

    Chapter 1
  • Autumn 1829

    Dorothea and Casaubon become engaged.

    Chapter 5
  • Spring 1830

    Lydgate and Rosamund become engaged.

    Chapter 31
  • May 1830

    Peter Featherstone dies; Will Ladislaw comes back to Middlemarch.

    Chapter 33
  • March 1831

    Lydgate is newly married, and he is professionally ostracized by his fellow medical men.

    Chapter 42
  • Spring 1831

    Casaubon dies; Dorothea is disinherited if she marries Ladislaw. Lowick living goes to Farebrother.

    Chapter 48
  • June 1831

    Dorothea returns home and meets with Ladislaw. Mr. Garth takes Fred Vincy on as an apprentice.

    Chapter 54
  • August 1831

    Will meets Raffles and learns more about his mother. Bulstrode offers Will money, which he refuses.

    Chapter 60
  • March/April 1832

    Bulstrode loans Lydgate money, then kills Raffles. Dorothea supports Lydgate.

    Chapter 67
  • May 1832

    Dorothea and Will become engaged.

    Chapter 83
  • Summer 1832

    Mary and Fred become engaged.

    Chapter 86

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Prelude and Book 1, Chapters 1–3 A third-person omniscient narrator introduces two of Middlemarch's major themes—the definition of a hero and the probl... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 4–6 Dorothea and Celia are coming back from Sir James's estate in Freshitt, where they have been inspecting the new cottag... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 7–10 As Casaubon courts Dorothea, he wonders at his own lack of enthusiasm. At first he thinks Dorothea's deficiencies may ... Read More
Book 1, Chapters 11–12 The next two chapters are flashbacks, occurring before Dorothea's engagement. Chapter 11 begins by connecting Dr. Lydg... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 13–15 In a conference with Lydgate in his office at the bank, Bulstrode gives him the superintendence of the new fever hospi... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 16–18 The subject of the chaplaincy is a hot topic of conversation at the Vincys when Lydgate comes to dine. He begins to re... Read More
Book 2, Chapters 19–22 Will Ladislaw and his German artist friend Naumann, with whom he is studying painting, see Dorothea in the Vatican mus... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 23–26 The narrator relates that the Vincys live "in an easy profuse way," and the elder children are spoiled. Although the G... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 27–29 The narrator begins this chapter with a metaphor that symbolizes an important theme running through the novel: a pier ... Read More
Book 3, Chapters 30–33 Casaubon recovers from his heart attack. When Dorothea speaks to Lydgate in private, he says that Casaubon could sudde... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 34–36 Peter Featherstone's funeral is a major event, since the old man left details and explicit instructions for a huge sen... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 37–39 Will is in the neighborhood and makes an excuse to visit Dorothea by taking his sketchbook to Lowick. When it begins t... Read More
Book 4, Chapters 40–42 Caleb Garth is asked to take over the management of Mr. Brooke's and Sir James's estates, and the Garth family is over... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 43–45 Dorothea visits Lydgate to ask about her husband's condition. She finds Mrs. Lydgate at home with a guest—Ladislaw, wh... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 46–50 The Reform Bill of 1831 is being debated in Middlemarch, and Ladislaw encourages Brooke to wait to run for office beca... Read More
Book 5, Chapters 51–53 Ladislaw is upset that Brooke has stopped inviting him to the Grange and surmises that he is being viewed with some su... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 54–57 Three months after Casaubon's death, and despite the protests of the Chettams and Mrs. Cadwallader, Dorothea returns t... Read More
Book 6, Chapters 58–62 A pregnant Rosamund is so enamored of her husband's empty-headed cousin, Captain Lydgate, who has come for a visit, th... Read More
Book 7, Chapters 63–65 Mr. Farebrother learns from Mr. Toller, one of Lydgate's rivals, that Lydgate is deeply in debt. He wants to offer Lyd... Read More
Book 7, Chapters 66–68 As Lydgate waits for the horse trader at the Green Dragon, he notices the billiard room. Soon he is playing, becoming ... Read More
Book 7, Chapters 69–71 Mr. Garth visits Bulstrode at the bank for two reasons. First, he tells him that he has found a sick stranger on the r... Read More
Book 8, Chapters 72–75 Dorothea speaks to her family about what they can do to clear Lydgate's name. Mr. Farebrother says that he can imagine... Read More
Book 8, Chapters 76–79 Dorothea asks Lydgate to Lowick to discuss the management of the fever hospital now that Bulstrode is leaving town. He... Read More
Book 8, Chapters 80–83 Dorothea gives way to her grief, suffering a literal dark night of the soul. The next day she resolves to put her own ... Read More
Book 8, Chapters 84–86 and Finale The Chettams and Cadwalladers have gathered at Freshitt and are expecting Mr. Brooke. After they discuss the Reform Bi... Read More
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