A few weeks ago, our Twitter book club, 1book140, voted to keep reading George Eliot’s Middlemarch for a second month. On Wednesday evening, May 21st, we’ll host a live @1book140 chat with Rebecca Mead, author of My Life in Middlemarch—who knows as well as anyone how richly rewarding the classic novel can be.
Mead, a staff writer at The New Yorker, has been enchanted with Eliot—and with Middlemarch, specifically—since her late teens. (She grew up in a coastal British town, and instantly recognized Dorothea Brooke’s provincial surroundings, as well as her longing for a more glamorous existence.) Her unconventional but widely praised biography blends elements of literary criticism and memoir, paying specific attention to her own experience of re-reading the novel many times. For Mead, Middlemarch is a literary treasure and personal touchstone—and she’s the perfect person to take @1book140 questions about the book, Eliot’s life and times, and what it means to commit to a long work.
How to Participate in the Twitter Q&A
On Wednesday, May 21st, between 7 and 8 p.m. EST, Mead (@RebeccaMead_NYC) will respond to questions posted to our hashtag, #1book140. We’ll collect her answers and publish them to TheAtlantic.com after the event.
If you can't join us Wednesday night, add your questions in the comments section below. We'll share them with Mead during the Q&A.
For a taste of Mead's work, see her recent articles on Eliot for NewYorker.com—short essays on Eliot’s relationship to motherhood, her correspondence with a lonely, adoring fan, and her striking physical appearance.
In the video below, from The New York Times’ “The Read Around” blog, she explains her lifelong fascination with Middlemarch: