The Mill on the Floss
  • Publication Date: March 9, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781551114675 / 1551114674
  • 594 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Mill on the Floss

  • Publication Date: March 9, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781551114675 / 1551114674
  • 594 pages; 5½" x 8½"

This classic novel, first published in 1860, tells the story of Maggie Tulliver. Intelligent and headstrong but trapped by the conventions of family tradition and rural life, Maggie is one of the great heroines of Victorian literature. Along with Maggie’s story, the novel also tells a companion tale of the social pressures that restrict the vision of her beloved brother Tom. George Eliot’s most autobiographical novel, The Mill on the Floss remains one of her most popular and influential works.

This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction and extensive contextualizing notes as well as a broad range of appendices drawn from contemporary documents dealing with issues such as 19th-century views of disability, education, and the Woman Question.


“This edition of George Eliot’s most passionate novel about a woman’s life is accompanied by a selection of contemporary materials that demonstrate the surprisingly radical context of the author’s views at this point in her career. Oliver Lovesey has selected brief, eminently readable portions from Eliot’s own translations, essays, and reviews that will educate the reader in the ‘real’ George Eliot—a woman of amazing education herself, and of profoundly original thought that transcended the conventions of her time. The edition also includes the full text of the author’s poem, ‘Brother and Sister,’ a parallel narrative of Eliot’s childhood that is crucial to the reader’s understanding of the novel, as well as other very useful selections from historical documents and contemporary reviews of the novel.” — Mary Wilson Carpenter, Queen’s University

“This edition is a splendid presentation of George Eliot’s most autobiographical novel. The long and generous introduction dispels some of the myths about the author’s life, traces subtle relations between the novel and the moral complexities Eliot faced in Victorian society, places the novel in the context of her life’s work, and offers valuable analyses of the novel’s style and structure. Footnotes throughout the text helpfully explain dialect words, obsolete expressions and literary allusions. Excerpts from George Eliot’s critical writings, added as appendices, give insight into some of the ideas about fiction, religion, and the place of women in society that entered into the writing of The Mill on the Floss.” — Jacob Korg, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington

George Eliot: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
The Mill on the Floss

Appendix A: George Eliot’s Translations, Essays, Reviews, and Poems

  1. From George Eliot’s translation of Ludwig Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity (1854)
  2. [George Eliot], “Margaret Fuller and Mary Wollstonecraft,” Leader (13 October 1855)
  3. From [George Eliot], review of Thomas Keightley’s Life, Opinions, and Writings of John Milton, The Westminster Review (October 1855)
  4. [George Eliot], “The Antigone and Its Moral,” Leader (29 March 1856)
  5. From [George Eliot], “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists,” The Westminster Review (October 1856)
  6. From George Eliot, “Notes on ‘The Spanish Gypsy’ and Tragedy in General” (1868)
  7. George Eliot, “Brother and Sister,” The Legend of Jubal and Other Poems (1874)

Appendix B: Contemporary Reviews of The Mill on the Floss

  1. Spectator (7 April 1860)
  2. [E.S. Dallas], The Times (19 May 1860)
  3. [Dinah Mulock], Macmillan’s Magazine (April 1861)
  4. From Henry James, The Atlantic Monthly (October 1866)

Appendix C: Historical Documents: Mythic and Religious Contexts; Medicine and Education

  1. From Mrs. Anna Jameson, “St. Christopher,” Sacred and Legendary Art, vol. 2 (1848)
  2. From Daniel Defoe, “Of the Tools the Devil Works with,” The History of the Devil (1727)
  3. From Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (1737)
  4. From Auguste Comte, The Catechism of Positivism (1858)
  5. From Samuel Hare, Cases and Observations Illustrative of the Beneficial Results (1857)
  6. From [William Ballantyne Hodgson], “‘Classical’ Instruction: Its Use and Abuse,” The Westminster Review
    (October 1853)

Select Bibliography

Oliver Lovesey is Associate Professor of English at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan. He is the author of The Clerical Character in George Eliot’s Fiction (ELS, 1991) and Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Twayne, 2000).