George Eliot Middlemarch
(Blackwood, Dec.1871- Dec.1872)

  The Novel

George Eliot always resisted the constraints and anxieties of writing in instalments, but Middlemarch was much longer than any of her earlier works. Rather than risk publication in four volumes, author and publisher were persuaded to side-step the circulating libraries by issuing the novel at two-monthly intervals, in eight half-volume parts at 5 shillings each. The experiment was a modest success: sales of each part, bound in 'attractive but not bookstallish' paper covers, amounted to over 5,000 copies; Mudie's threatened boycott of the novel failed to materialise; and Eliot found that part publication (in this relatively relaxed form) suited the complexity and scope of her story.