Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Middlemarch watch-along: episode 3

Oh dear, almost two weeks have passed since I posted my previous Middlemarch episode recap. That was not what I'd planned! But there was a conference for work and then a busy weekend with lots of family visits and suddenly it's Wednesday again....

A lot has happened in Middlemarch as well since the last time. Dorothea and Casoubon have returned from their honeymoon and are welcomed home by Celia and Mr. Brooke. Celia has some exciting news, she and Sir James are engaged! Now I know a trip to Rome usually took longer in the 19th century than it would today, but still, that was one fast engagement! Seems to run in the family.

Well, that was fast!

Dorothea and Casoubon have another row about Dorothea's wish to help him with his work. Soon afterwards, Casoubon gets a heart attack and his prospects seem bad. Mr. Brooke invites Ladislaw to work for him, even though Casoubon prefers not to have his 'wayward' nephew around. Dorothea doesn't seem to mind visits from the lively young Will however.


Rosamund and dr. Lydgate flirt openly at a party, which gets tongues wagging in town. Lydgate is warned by Mr. Bulstrode to stay away from Rosamund and he tries to do so. Rosamund is confused by his stand-offish behaviour, but a moment of insight (or weakness?) brings Lydgate to declare his love for Rosamund. The happy young couple marry soon and Lydgate buys a house in the fashionable part of town.

If I'd known having a wife would be so tiring...

Meanwhile, Fred has recoverd from his typhoid, just in time to go to the funeral of his uncle Featherstone and the reading of the will. This turns out to be a big disappointment for Fred, as he does not get anything. He is at a loss at how to go on with his life.

Just get a job already!

Quote of the week: 
Mr Hawley: 'Ladislaw's his name. Some foreigner I gather. He'll begin with a flourish about the rights of men and end up murdering some poor wench!'

Discussion question(s):
- I think Rosamund is genuinly fond of Lydgate, though very naive about who he is and what he wants from life. Do you think Rosamund's outburst was genuine or simply a clever device to get Lydgate to propose? 

Yes, Will, your ear is still there


  1. I'm actually glad you've missed a week! I'm visiting my parents right now and forgot to bring my copy along, and I was afraid I was going to get sooooooooo behind. But now I'll only be one ep behind and can totally catch up next week. So I didn't read more of this post than the first paragraph cuz I don't want spoilers :-)

    1. Hehe, we're all busy people, right? Hope you have a good family visit!

  2. Whew! I made it! Watched ep 3 before you posted about ep 4 :-D And it turns out that almost everything you talk about here was in my episode 2! Except Rosamund and Dr. Lydgate getting married and buying a house, and Fred's uncle dying and the reading of the will -- that's where my episode 3 opened, with those two events. How completely bizarre! My copy is even from BBC Video, so it's not like it's the American PBS Masterpiece Theater presentation or something. Like, I have the PBS cut of the JJ Field version of Northanger Abbey, and it's missing a couple of Catherine's dreams, most notably the "bathtub" one. Anyway, I'm eager to see what you have in episode 4, as I'm betting most of it is what I saw last night as episode 3.

    I wish Sir James got more screen time, as I'd like to see his character explored more.

    As for your discussion question, having seen farther on, I think Rosamund is fond of her idea of Lydgate, but that she really knows and understands him very little. She was determined not to marry a Middlemarch man, and so she did. I feel a bit sorry for Lydgate, as I think he's going to have more trouble with her than he expects.

    1. I still think it's weird. Your last episode must be like 10 minutes long or something...

      I don't know about Sir James. He's a decent man, but also kind of boring? The way he treats Dorothea after his marriage to Celia makes me think that maybe he still has some feelings for her?

      I think you're definitely right about Rosamund and Lydgate.