Middlemarch is a novel by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans, later Marian Evans. It is her seventh novel, begun in 1869 and published as in 1874, and attracted large sales.
Popular since its first publication,the novel remains a favorite with readers today. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 27 on the BBC's survey The Big Read. In January 2007, a book entitled The Top Ten (edited by J. Peder Zane) listed Middlemarch as number ten in its list "The 10 Greatest Books of All Time," based on the ballots of 125 selected writers.Virginia Woolf described Middlemarch as "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people."
In the novel, Eliot mocks the social norm by praising the purity of the young and "inexperienced" Miss Brooke. She points out Dorothea's genuine beauty in describing her physical appearance:
Miss Brooke had the kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters; and her profile as well as her stature and bearing seemed to gain the more dignity from her plain garments ......