Middlemarch: the Webseries and Novel

Hey everyone! I hope you’re doing well. Exams are really taking it out of me at the moment, to be honest, so I decided to do something fun which is just going to be lots of talking about a thing I’m into recently! And that’s the webseries (and also novel) Middlemarch.

I don’t normally read classic books, particularly ones that were written before the 20th century. In fact, the only other ones I can remember reading are a few Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I can name a few more books that might be considered ‘modern classics’ but in general I do stick to YA and comics.

My love for Les Miserables and Middlemarch have one a lot in common — and one big thing is that I was inspired to read both of them after become a fan of an adaptation.Β For Les Mis, as you might have guessed, this was the musical adaptation. I love musicals, and I love that musical a lot, but the book was a pretty different experience! In a good way. I don’t think I’d ever have had the motivation to continue reading through these (frankly rather long) books if I wasn’t already invested in seeing more of the characters. I usually fall in love with things for the characters, and that was no exception here.

I decided to read Middlemarch because I had begun watching the wonderful webseries adaptation, Middlemarch: The Series. It’s a super queer modern adaptation set in college which is told through vlogs. You can absolutely watch it without reading the book (as I did for about the first half) and I’d highly recommend it! It gives me SO MANY FEELINGS and it’s now complete if you don’t want to wait around for updates. You can find it here and watch the trailer below.

Having previous knowledge of an adaptation also helps me to get a better understanding of the overall plot and characters. It allows me to pick up on more subtle characterisations which I might have missed or to go ‘ohh, I see which bit this is!’ when I realise what it corresponds to in the adaptation. It makes it just SO for me to connect with the characters I’m reading about.

To be honest, I found the novel rather slow and difficult at the beginning. I missed the queer characters from the webseries and I found the language hard to understand. However, I think a big reason I started enjoying it more is that I put more into the reading. I’m a pretty bad skim reader and especially during books with small writing I find myself turning page after page only to realise I’ve been absorbing absolutely nothing. THIS DOES NOT WORK FOR ME WITH BOOKS LIKE THIS.

Once I made myself read more slowly, take stuff in, and actually think about how that section resonated with me, it worked a lot better, and by the end I was invested and feeling for the characters all over again.

Reading classics is a very different experience for me from reading YA. (Well, I’m sure it is for many people haha.) Some people try to give the sense that you’re only a “proper reader” if you read classics or whatever but that is TOTALLY INCORRECT and you should read whatever you want! Or even not read at all!Β Personally, I don’t see myself reading lotsΒ more classics in the future, but I found reading Middlemarch to be a rewarding and different experience to my normal reading fare. Now I’m back to catching up on the webseries. πŸ˜€

As I said, mock exams have been pretty tough for me, so please forgive me for posting with less frequency than usual. I send you good vibes from this rainy day where I am. ❀

do you enjoy classics? what do you think of modern adaptations? have you watched any webseries?


4 thoughts on “Middlemarch: the Webseries and Novel

  1. Ohhh I’m DEFINITELY checking out the webseries πŸ˜€ I definitely understand what you mean, finding it easier to read the original after watching an adaptation. Some classics can be really hard to read, so it’s nice already knowing the general plot and characters haha

  2. I couldn’t agree more – reading classics, especially big ones like Middlemarch, is a really different experience from reading YA. But both are definitely worthwhile. I was meant to read Middlemarch for class and I was considering just leaving it because it was so big. But then Alice Oseman mentioned the webseries on twitter, and I got hooked! I knew I had to pick up the book because I was excited to spot the parallels. It was a tough read (even when listening to the audiobook), but knowing the characters from the webseries made me enjoy it much more than I would have.

    Having a relatable adaptation to refer to really helps with understanding older works. Seeing parts that correspond and how it’s been adapted to fit this new situation is so exciting! I know people often say to never watch an adaptation before reading the book first, but I don’t think we should keep that as a rule, otherwise I’m guessing neither of us would have ever got through Middlemarch and so never started the show!

    Great post, Eve πŸ˜€

    1. Yes! I’ve found several great things through Alice Oseman’s recommendations. It’s good to hear you had a similar experience. I’ve tried to listen to Jane Eyre on audiobook but I confess I just ended up falling asleep…

      Absolutely, although I know people get frustrated by adaptations I do think there’s a great value to them. It just depends on the particular adaptation and person, and sometimes it can inspire you to go back to the original. (Like here!)

      Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

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