Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Slow Read: Middlemarch Book 6

It was my plan to be reading Book 8 this week. I was a book behind last week, but now I am indeed on the last book of this large tome, though I am still catching up with the blogging part.

In my search for annotations which might include translations, I found this list of websites on Eliot. I may want to visit it when I am done with the book.  Soon now, soon.  I found the translation, incidentally, by first using Google Translate, and then searching for particular words in the particular book in Google Books.  Ahh, isn't life grand these days? (So yes, these blogs take me a little while, as it's not just about reflecting and writing.)

Middlemarch (Penguin Classics)BOOK VI. THE WIDOW AND THE WIFE.

CHAPTER LIV. "Negli occhi porta la mia donna Amore; Per che si fa gentil eio ch'ella mira: Ov'ella passa, ogni uom ver lei si gira, E cui saluta fa tremar lo core. Sicche, bassando il viso, tutto smore, E d'ogni suo difetto allor sospira: Fuggon dinanzi a lei Superbia ed Ira: Aiutatemi, donne, a farle onore. Ogni dolcezza, ogni pensiero umile Nasee nel core a chi parlar la sente; Ond' e beato chi prima la vide. Quel ch'ella par quand' un poco sorride, Non si pub dicer, ne tener a mente, Si e nuovo miracolo gentile." --DANTE: la Vita Nuova.


My lady carries love within her eyes
All that she looks on is made pleasanter
Upon her path men turn to gaze at her
He whom she greeteth feels his heart to rise
And droops his troubled visage full of sighs
And of his evil heart is then aware
Hate loves and pride becomes a worshipper
E women help to praise her in somewise
Humbleness and the hope that hopeth well
By speech of hers into the mind are brought
And who beholds is blessed oftenwhiles
The look she hath when she a little smiles
Cannot be said nor holden in the thought
Tis such a new and gracious miracle. Dante's The New Life
Is this saying all a man needs is the love of a good woman?
but to an aunt who does not recognize her infant nephew as Bouddha, and has nothing to do for him but to admire, his behavior is apt to appear monotonous, and the interest of watching him exhaustible. This possibility was quite hidden from Celia, who felt that Dorothea's childless widowhood fell in quite prettily with the birth of little Arthur (baby was named after Mr. Brooke).
This is the second time Celia's baby is referred to as a Bouddha, the first referenced hair, or perhaps the lack of it, I wasn't sure.  Certainly, he appears to be meant to provide comic relief.
"Good God!" Will burst out passionately, rising, with his hat still in his hand, and walking away to a marble table, where he suddenly turned and leaned his back against it. The blood had mounted to his face and neck, and he looked almost angry. It had seemed to him as if they were like two creatures slowly turning to marble in each other's presence, while their hearts were conscious and their eyes were yearning. But there was no help for it.
The two appear to be falling in love, for all the wrong reasons as it often seems of characters in this book.  Or is this how we always fall in love? Is there no escape from the blindness of our own projections?  These two see each other, yet do not. They don't know the full story, and respond to another story in the other.  I think nowadays there is a help for it.  There is the possibility of radical honesty. There is the possibility of speaking truth in intimacy without judgement, without censorship.

CHAPTER LV. Hath she her faults? I would you had them too. They are the fruity must of soundest wine; Or say, they are regenerating fire Such as hath turned the dense black element Into a crystal pathway for the sun. If youth is the season of hope, it is often so only in the sense that our elders are hopeful about us; for no age is so apt as youth to think its emotions, partings, and resolves are the last of their kind. Each crisis seems final, simply because it is new. 
   We are told that the oldest inhabitants in Peru do not cease to be agitated by the earthquakes, but they probably see beyond each shock, and reflect that there are plenty more to come.

The Widow: Dorothea pines for Will Ladislaw, now especially that he is forbidden. Celia carries the idea to Sir James that Dorothea thinks never to marry again.  This fits his view of widows, even though she's a young widow.

Sir Henry Wotton
CHAPTER LVI. "How happy is he born and taught That serveth not another's will; Whose armor is his honest thought, And simple truth his only skill! . . . . . . . This man is freed from servile bands Of hope to rise or fear to fall; Lord of himself though not of lands; And having nothing yet hath all." --SIR HENRY WOTTON. [friend of John Donne]

The rail is coming to Middlemarch, and the people in their usual resistance to change think it will be a bad thing.  The scene: rabblerousers would run off the rail suveyors.  Fred Vincy and Caleb Garth see this and assist the rail workers and deal with the locals.  Fred gets job with Caleb.  This looks good for Fred, with regards to Mary.

CHAPTER LVII. They numbered scarce eight summers when a name Rose on their souls and stirred such motions there As thrill the buds and shape their hidden frame At penetration of the quickening air: His name who told of loyal Evan Dhu, Of quaint Bradwardine, and Vich Ian Vor, Making the little world their childhood knew Large with a land of mountain lake and scaur, And larger yet with wonder love belief Toward Walter Scott who living far away Sent them this wealth of joy and noble grief. The book and they must part, but day by day, In lines that thwart like portly spiders ran They wrote the tale, from Tully Veolan.

Mrs. Farebrother, mother to the cleric who would woo Mary, talks to Mary of her feelings toward clergy.  To be fair to Mrs. Farebrother, it does seem a rather inane reason to leave clergy out of the running:
"I don't like their neckcloths." "Why, you don't like Camden's, then," said Miss Winifred, in some anxiety. "Yes, I do," said Mary. "I don't like the other clergymen's neckcloths, because it is they who wear them." "How very puzzling!" said Miss Noble, feeling that her own intellect was probably deficient. "My dear, you are joking. You would have better reasons than these for slighting so respectable a class of men," said Mrs. Farebrother, majestically.

CHAPTER LVIII. "For there can live no hatred in thine eye, Therefore in that I cannot know thy change: In many's looks the false heart's history Is writ in moods and frowns and wrinkles strange: But Heaven in thy creation did decree That in thy face sweet love should ever dwell: Whate'er thy thoughts or thy heart's workings be Thy looks should nothing thence but sweetness tell." --SHAKESPEARE: Sonnets.

The Wife: Lydgate and Rosamond squabble over the visit of his cousin the Captain.  She enjoys the attention, he sees the sparkle dim from his infatuation. He must deal with the tremendous debt from their marriage, she would refuse to make any changes. This does not bode well.

CHAPTER LIX. They said of old the Soul had human shape, But smaller, subtler than the fleshly self, So wandered forth for airing when it pleased. And see! beside her cherub-face there floats A pale-lipped form aerial whispering Its promptings in that little shell her ear."

The Widow:
Now Lydgate, like Mr. Farebrother, knew a great deal more than he told, and when he had once been set thinking about the relation between Will and Dorothea his conjectures had gone beyond the fact. He imagined that there was a passionate attachment on both sides, and this struck him as much too serious to gossip about. He remembered Will's irritability when he had mentioned Mrs. Casaubon, and was the more circumspect.
The Wife:
She was oppressed by ennui, and by that dissatisfaction which in women's minds is continually turning into a trivial jealousy, referring to no real claims, springing from no deeper passion than the vague exactingness of egoism, and yet capable of impelling action as well as speech.
CHAPTER LX. Good phrases are surely, and ever were, very commendable. --Justice Shallow. [old friend of Falstaff's, Henry IV, part 2]

Uh-oh.  Raffles makes an appearance again. The sale, like a fair, is a fun scene.

 CHAPTER LXI. "Inconsistencies," answered Imlac, "cannot both be right, but imputed to man they may both be true."--Rasselas. [from The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia by Samuel Johnson]

Like a pearl, Mr. Bulstrode's good works have grown around a flaw, a dark seed coming from a lie.  His money first came from questionable pawnbrokers, then he withheld knowledge of his wife's daughter, a daughter who would inherit her money.  Instead he did. And this is what Raffles has on him.  And this is what propels him to good deeds with his fortune.  In a way he's pathetic, but he is also just trying to maintain his family's position.

CHAPTER LXII. "He was a squyer of lowe degre, That loved the king's daughter of Hungrie. --Old Romance.

OK, now Dorothea and Will both know the conditions of their divide.  And so they part. "She put out her hand, and Will took it for an instant without speaking, for her words had seemed to him cruelly cold and unlike herself. Their eyes met, but there was discontent in his, and in hers there was only sadness." 
How could he dream of her defying the barrier that her husband had placed between them?--how could she ever say to herself that she would defy it? Will's certainty as the carriage grew smaller in the distance, had much more bitterness in it. Very slight matters were enough to gall him in his sensitive mood, and the sight of Dorothea driving past him while he felt himself plodding along as a poor devil seeking a position in a world which in his present temper offered him little that he coveted, made his conduct seem a mere matter of necessity, and took away the sustainment of resolve.

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