What is a woman to do with herself?
That question has inspired probably hundreds of thousands of novels over the past 200 years, but never with more triumphant result than in George Eliotâ€™s Middlemarch.
Middlemarch is a stupendously great book, one of the supreme masterworks of English literature. And yet I sadly realize as I type those words how very offputting they sound. They summon up high-school literature classes, and term papers, and all the dull obligations of reading for credit rather than for pleasure.
So let me put it a different and I hope more exciting way â€“ the 30-second â€œelevator pitchâ€ that screenwriters are taught to prepare to sell their work in the time it takes to rise from the lobby to the studio executiveâ€™s office:
Itâ€™s the story of four women, their choices and love affairs, kind of a â€œSex and the Cityâ€ set in England on the verge of economic and social revolution â€“ only it tries to be true rather than to indulge in semi-pornographic shopaholic fantasy â€¦ and phhhhht â€¦ the elevator doors have shut.
Maybe, reader, you are already gone too? But if not â€“
If that intrigues you read the rest of Frum’s post.