Although not George Eliot's sole masterpiece, "Middlemarch," but also considered the greatest work of fiction in the English language by many critics. Mostly portraying life and people in the countryside of England in the 19th century, Eliot became prominent with her subtle observations about the human condition. She started writing "Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life" in 1869 and completed it in 1871, with the work published in eight installments. Ranking in many different "best 100 novels" lists and mesmerizing readers with its fluent style, the novel was also adapted as a TV series of the same name in 1994.
The story depicts life in an imaginary, English rural town called Middlemarch in the late 1820s. The social status of women, nature of marriage, idealism, relationships based on self-interest, religion, hypocrisy, political reforms and education issues in Victorian times are the most interesting subjects covered in the book, which is also rich in terms of characters. In addition to the main characters, Eliot also gave a place to people from every social class and their lives full of stress, resentment, happiness, satisfaction, love and sadness with her subtle and competent observations.
Eliot, whose real name was Ann Evans, said she wrote under a male pen name so that her works would be taken seriously. One of the greatest British writers of the Victorian era, poet, journalist and translator, Eliot said her purpose in writing was to tell the story of the lives of people who come from the "dusty streets" and "common green fields."