'Was her life to be always like this? - always bringing some new source of inward strife?' When the miller Mr Tulliver becomes entangled in lawsuits, he sets off a chain of events that will profoundly affect the lives of his family and bring into conflict his passionate daughter Maggie with her inflexible but adored brother Tom. As she grows older, Maggie's discovery of romantic love draws her once more into a struggle to reconcile familial and moral claims with her own desires. Strong-willed, compassionate, and intensely loyal, Maggie seeks personal happiness and inner peace but risks rejection and ostracism in her close-knit community. Opening with one of the most powerful fictional evocations of childhood, The Mill on the Floss (1860) vividly portrays both the 'oppressive narrowness' and the appeal of provincial England, the comedy as well as the tragedy of obscure lives. George Eliot's most autobiographical novel was also her most controversial, and has been the subject of animated debate ever since. This edition combines the definitive Clarendon text with a lively new introduction and notes.
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Juliette Atkinson is the author of Victorian Biography Reconsidered: A Study of Nineteenth-Century 'Hidden' Lives (OUP, 2010) and is preparing a book for OUP called Immortal Improprieties: French Novels and the Victorians.