Middlemarch by George Eliot: The Literary Epoch-making Victorian Masterwork In The World Of Fiction
Middlemarch is a historical novel by George Eliot, the pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans, and was first published in 1871-1872. The book is considered one of the greatest works of English literature and a masterpiece of Victorian fiction. It is a complex and multi-layered work that explores the lives of the people living in the fictional countryside town under the name of Middlemarch. The beginning of the plot dates back to 1829, and the story closes in May 1832. The novel highlights the power of individual liberty despite the socio-historical events. Some characters misfit society, and they are misplaced in time. As a reference, Dorothea and Lydgate feel discontent and disillusionment because of their delusional marriages and the constraints of social class and gender inequality. The microcosm of Middlemarch is related to the national Reform politics. Middlemarch focuses on the power of individuality with its consequent distorted vision. Individuality implies a possession of subjectivity, which can be bashful and introspective. The story is a journey into the most concealed areas of the characters’ minds. Middlemarch is a very complex and rich book, which requires different re-readings. It has several styles and tones, combining epic stories, idealism, realism, social comedy and tragedy.
Middlemarch is set in the fictional Midlands town of Middlemarch during the early 1830s, and the novel explores the lives and relationships of its diverse cast of characters. The story revolves around the intelligent and idealistic young woman, Dorothea Brooke, who longs for a meaningful and purposeful life. She marries the much older Reverend Edward Casaubon, hoping to assist him in his scholarly pursuits. However, she soon realises that her marriage lacks the intellectual and emotional connection she craves.
Meanwhile, the ambitious doctor, Tertius Lydgate, arrives in Middlemarch with progressive ideas about medicine and hopes to bring positive changes. He falls in love with Rosamond Vincy, a beautiful but materialistic woman, and their relationship becomes entangled with financial struggles and societal expectations. Through its intricate web of plots and subplots, Middlemarch delves into themes such as marriage, ambition, social change, and the limitations imposed on individuals by society. Eliot’s writing is known for its psychological depth and social commentary, offering a nuanced portrayal of Victorian society and its complex characters. Middlemarch is considered one of the greatest literary masterworks in the English language, praised for its rich characterisation, insightful exploration of human nature, and its portrayal of the social and political climate of the time. It continues to be celebrated for its enduring relevance and impact on literature.
Themes in Middlemarch
Middlemarch is a novel that follows the lives of several characters who live in the rural town of Middlemarch. The story is divided into eight books, each focusing on different characters and their experiences.
Middlemarch by George Eliot explores several themes that resonate throughout the novel. Here are some key themes:
1. Marriage and Relationships: The novel delves into the complexities of marriage and relationships, examining the impact of mismatched unions, unrequited love, and the challenges faced by couples in Victorian society. It explores the themes of love, duty, and the pursuit of personal fulfilment within the constraints of societal expectations.
2. Ambition and Idealism: Middlemarch portrays characters driven by ambition and idealism, seeking personal and professional success. It explores the tensions between individual aspirations and societal norms and the consequences of compromising one’s ideals or pursuing selfish ambitions.
3. Gender and Social Expectations: The novel highlights the limited roles and expectations imposed on women in Victorian society. It challenges traditional gender norms and explores the struggles faced by women seeking intellectual, social, and personal fulfilment, particularly through the character of Dorothea Brooke.
4. Social Change and Reform: Set against a backdrop of societal and political changes in 19th-century England, Middlemarch examines the tensions between tradition and progress. It explores the desire for social reform, the challenges faced by reformers, and the complexities of bringing about meaningful change in a conservative society.
5. Hypocrisy and Morality: Eliot critiques individuals and society’s hypocrisy and moral shortcomings. Characters’ actions often contradict their values, leading to ethical dilemmas and conflicts. The novel explores the complexities of human nature and the challenges of living up to one’s ideals.
6. Intellectual and Spiritual Growth: Middlemarch emphasises the importance of intellectual and spiritual development. Characters undergo personal growth, self-discovery, and the search for meaning and purpose in their lives. It explores the power of knowledge, self-reflection, and the pursuit of wisdom.
These themes, among others, contribute to the depth and complexity of Middlemarch, making it a profound exploration of human nature, society, and the pursuit of personal fulfilment.
The Women in Middlemarch by George Eliot
Middlemarch by George Eliot features a diverse and compelling range of female characters who play integral roles in the novel’s exploration of gender, relationships, and societal expectations. Here are some notable women in Middlemarch:
1. Dorothea Brooke: Dorothea is the novel’s central female character, an intelligent and idealistic young woman. She longs for a meaningful life and initially marries the older and scholarly Reverend Edward Casaubon. Through her experiences, Dorothea has to handle the challenges of marriage, societal expectations, and her pursuit of personal fulfilment.
2. Rosamond Vincy: Rosamond is a beautiful and charming woman who embodies the societal expectations placed on women in Victorian society. She is ambitious and desires a life of wealth and status. Rosamond’s choices and actions have far-reaching consequences, particularly in her marriage to Tertius Lydgate.
3. Mary Garth: Mary is portrayed as sensible, practical, and morally upright. She serves as a contrast to the more idealistic and romantic characters in the novel. Mary’s steadfastness and integrity make her a stabilising force in the lives of those around her.
4. Celia Brooke: Celia is Dorothea’s younger sister, and their relationship is a counterpoint to other relationships in the novel. While Celia is less intellectually inclined, she provides a supportive presence and offers a different perspective on life and marriage.
5. Mrs. Bulstrode: Mrs. Bulstrode represents the challenges faced by women in a society that restricts their agency. She is married to Nicholas Bulstrode, a wealthy and influential man who becomes entangled in scandal. Mrs. Bulstrode faces the burden of her husband’s actions and societal judgment.
These women, among others in the novel, exhibit a range of strengths, weaknesses, and complexities. Through their experiences and interactions, George Eliot explores the constraints placed on women in Victorian society and how they navigate their roles, ambitions, and personal fulfilment.
The Theme of Reform in Middlemarch
The theme of reform is a significant aspect of Middlemarch. The novel explores the idea of reform on various levels, including political, social, and personal reform. Here are some examples of reform in the novel:
1. Political Reform: The novel is set during a political change in England, with the Reform Act of 1832 recently passed. The novel explores the impact of this reform on the town of Middlemarch, with characters such as Mr. Brooke and Mr. Bulstrode becoming involved in local politics. The novel also explores the idea of political reform on a broader level, with characters such as Will Ladislaw advocating for radical political change.
2. Social Reform: The novel also surveys the idea of social reform, with characters such as Tertius Lydgate and Dorothea Brooke seeking to make a difference in their respective fields. Lydgate is a doctor who wants to reform the medical profession by introducing new ideas and practices. Dorothea is interested in philanthropy and wants to make a difference in the lives of people experiencing poverty.
3. Personal Reform: The novel also examines the idea of personal reform, with characters such as Fred Vincy and Rosamond Vincy struggling to find their place in the world. Fred is unsure of what he wants to do with his life and must learn to take responsibility for his actions. Rosamond is vain and self-centred and must learn to be more compassionate and understanding.
Prevalently, the theme of reform in Middlemarch is about the desire to make a difference and to improve oneself and society. The novel depicts the challenges and obstacles of trying to bring about change and the personal growth and development that can come from pursuing reform.
The Men in Middlemarch by George Eliot
Middlemarch by George Eliot features a diverse cast of male characters who play significant roles in the novel’s exploration of societal dynamics, personal ambitions, and relationships. Here are some notable men in Middlemarch:
1. Edward Casaubon: Edward is a scholarly and older man Dorothea Brooke marries. He represents intellectual pursuits but lacks emotional connection and fails to fulfil Dorothea’s aspirations. Edward Casaubon’s character explores themes of ambition, intellectual disillusionment, and the limitations of societal expectations.
2. Tertius Lydgate: Tertius is a young and ambitious doctor who arrives in Middlemarch with progressive ideas about medicine. He aims to bring about positive change but faces challenges due to financial struggles and societal pressures. Tertius’s storyline delves into themes of ambition, professional ethics, and the complexities of relationships.
3. Fred Vincy: Fred is a good-natured and impulsive young man who faces financial difficulties and struggles to find his path in life. His character arc reflects the challenges of personal growth, responsibility, and the consequences of one’s actions.
4. Nicholas Bulstrode: Nicholas is a wealthy and influential man in Middlemarch with a complex past. His character explores themes of morality, guilt, and the hypocrisy of society. Nicholas Bulstrode’s journey raises questions about the nature of redemption and the consequences of past actions.
5. Will Ladislaw: Will is a young and idealistic artist who becomes entangled in the lives of various characters, particularly Dorothea Brooke. He contrasts the more conventional characters in the novel and embodies the pursuit of personal passions and individuality.
These male characters and others in the novel contribute to exploring themes such as ambition, societal expectations, personal growth, and moral dilemmas. Eliot’s portrayal of these men showcases their complexities, desires, and struggles within the societal context of 19th-century Victorian England.
The Roles of Women and Men in The Victorian Society of Middlemarch by George Eliot
In Middlemarch by George Eliot, the roles of women and men are depicted within the societal context of Victorian England. The novel explores the limitations, expectations, and challenges faced by both genders during this period:
1. Women’s Roles: Victorian society placed strict expectations on women, primarily defining their roles within the domestic sphere. Women were expected to prioritise marriage, motherhood, and maintaining a proper household. Their social status and reputation were closely tied to their marital prospects and ability to adhere to societal norms. Women had limited access to education and professional opportunities, leading to restricted personal agency and dependence on male relatives.
2. Men’s Roles: In Victorian society, men held positions of authority and power. They were expected to be the primary breadwinners, responsible for providing for their families. Men were also expected to pursue professional ambitions and engage in public life, whether in politics, business, or other fields. Their societal status and reputation were often tied to their professional success and financial standing.
3. Marriage and Courtship: Marriage was a central institution in Victorian society and a primary goal for women. It served as a means of securing social status, financial stability, and societal acceptance. Courtship rituals and expectations were highly regulated, emphasising the need for proper conduct, compatibility, and the approval of families and society.
4. Gender Inequalities: Middlemarch highlights the gender inequalities prevalent in Victorian society. Women faced limited educational opportunities, restricted legal rights, and societal expectations confined them to specific roles. Men enjoyed greater access to education, professional opportunities, and decision-making power.
5. Challenges and Constraints: The novel delves into the challenges women and men face within their respective roles. Women often grappled with marrying for love versus marrying for financial security and the limitations imposed on their personal aspirations and intellectual pursuits. Men faced pressures to conform to societal expectations, navigate professional ambitions, and balance private desires with societal obligations.
Through its exploration of gender roles and societal expectations, Middlemarch offers a critical examination of the limitations and complexities faced by individuals in Victorian society. The novel challenges traditional gender norms and offers nuanced portrayals of characters striving for personal fulfilment and autonomy within the confines of their social roles.
Symbolism and Metaphors in Middlemarch by George Eliot
Middlemarch by George Eliot employs various symbols and metaphors to enhance the depth and meaning of the narrative. Here are some examples:
1. The Web: The concept of the web is a recurring metaphor throughout the novel, symbolising the interconnectedness of the characters and their lives. The image of a web suggests that actions and choices have far-reaching consequences, and individuals are intricately connected through their relationships and interactions.
2. The Key: The key is a symbol that represents knowledge, understanding, and unlocking hidden truths. It is associated with Dorothea Brooke, who seeks intellectual fulfilment and desires to make a meaningful impact on the world. The key represents her quest for wisdom and the power of knowledge to unlock personal and societal progress.
3. The Feather: The feather symbolises fragility, vulnerability, and the fleeting nature of happiness. It appears concerning Rosamond Vincy, representing her superficial desires for wealth, status, and a comfortable life. The feather serves as a reminder of the transience and fragility of shallow aspirations.
4. The Map: The map symbolises the desire for exploration, adventure, and the pursuit of new horizons. It is associated with Will Ladislaw, whose character embodies the quest for personal and creative freedom. The map represents the possibilities beyond the confines of Middlemarch and serves as a metaphor for the pursuit of individuality.
5. The Rain: The rain is a recurring symbol that reflects emotional turmoil, conflict, and cleansing. It often appears during pivotal moments of tension or transformation in the novel, reflecting the emotional states of the characters and the need for renewal or resolution.
6. The Mirror: The mirror is a metaphor for self-reflection and self-awareness. It represents the characters’ ability to see themselves truthfully and confront their flaws, desires, and motivations. The mirror symbolises the need for introspection and the pursuit of self-understanding.
These symbols and metaphors contribute to the richness and complexity of Middlemarch, deepening the thematic exploration and adding layers of meaning to the narrative. They invite readers to engage with the novel on a symbolic level and contemplate the deeper implications and connections within the story.
Middlemarch is a novel that is characterised by its complexity and depth. The novel’s narrative style is unique, and its structure is non-linear, which allows for a more profound exploration of the characters and their experiences. The author also uses symbolism and imagery to convey themes and ideas.
Middlemarch by George Eliot is a rich and multifaceted novel that explores human nature, relationships, and the complexities of Victorian society. Here are some aspects of its literary analysis:
1. Narrative Structure: Eliot employs an omniscient narrator who provides insight into the characters’ thoughts, motivations, and inner lives. This narrative technique allows for a comprehensive understanding of the character’s actions and the societal forces that shape their lives.
2. Realistic Portrayal of Characters: Eliot’s characters are intricately developed, displaying strengths and flaws. They are portrayed with psychological depth, making them feel like real individuals. The novel explores their personal growth, moral dilemmas, and the consequences of their choices, offering a nuanced portrayal of human nature.
3. Social Commentary: Middlemarch serves as a portrayal of Victorian society, critiquing its rigid class structure, gender inequalities, and hypocritical moral standards. George Eliot explores the tensions between tradition and progress, highlighting the challenges faced by individuals who seek to bring about social change.
4. Language and Style: Eliot’s writing style is characterised by its richness, precision, and attention to detail. She employs vivid descriptions, insightful observations, and philosophical musings to capture the complexities of her characters and their surroundings. Her use of language enhances the emotional impact of the narrative.
5. Themes and Symbolism: The novel explores various themes, such as marriage, ambition, societal expectations, and personal fulfilment. Eliot employs symbolism and imagery to convey deeper meanings and reinforce these themes. For example, the concept of the “web” symbolises the interconnectedness of the characters and their lives.
6. Moral Philosophy and Intellectual Depth: Eliot infuses the novel with her moral and philosophical beliefs. She explores ethical dilemmas, the pursuit of knowledge, and the role of spirituality in guiding one’s actions. Middlemarch invites readers to contemplate existential questions and reflect on their values and choices.
Religion in Middlemarch
Religion is an important theme in Middlemarch by George Eliot. The novel exposes the role of religion in shaping individual lives and providing a sense of moral guidance to society as a whole.
One of the key characters in the novel, Mr. Farebrother, is a clergyman who struggles with his faith. He is portrayed as a compassionate and caring person who is genuinely concerned with the well-being of his parishioners. However, he also questions the church’s traditional teachings and is unsure of his beliefs. This struggle with faith is reflective of the broader societal changes that were taking place in nineteenth-century England as people began to question the role of religion in their lives.
Another important character in the novel, Dorothea Brooke, is deeply religious and sees her philanthropic work as a way to live out her faith. However, she also struggles with the limitations of the church and the traditional gender roles that it imposes. She is drawn to the idea of doing something meaningful with her life but finds that the church and society do not offer her the opportunities she seeks.
The character of Mr. Casaubon, Dorothea’s husband, is also deeply religious but in a more traditional sense. He sees his research into the history of mythology as a way to prove the existence of God. However, his rigid adherence to tradition and lack of compassion towards others ultimately lead to his downfall.
Overall, Middlemarch offers a nuanced portrayal of religion and its societal role. The novel suggests that while religion can provide a sense of moral guidance and purpose, it can also be limiting and stifling. The characters of Mr. Farebrother, Dorothea, and Mr. Casaubon represent different perspectives on religion and highlight the complexities of faith in a rapidly changing world. Through these characters, George Eliot encourages readers to challenge their beliefs and seek a deeper understanding of religion’s role in their lives.
Influence and Legacy
Middlemarch has significantly impacted the literary world, both during its time and in modern times. The novel has been praised for its realism and exploration of the human condition. It has also been influential in developing the book as a literary form. Middlemarch by George Eliot has significantly influenced literature and continues to be regarded as a fundamental work. Its impact and legacy can be seen in several ways:
1. Literary Influence: Eliot’s innovative narrative techniques and psychological depth in Middlemarch have influenced subsequent generations of writers. Her realistic portrayal of characters and exploration of complex social dynamics have inspired numerous authors in their works. Renowned authors such as Virginia Woolf, Henry James, and Salman Rushdie have acknowledged the influence of Eliot’s novel on their writing.
2. Feminist Literature: Middlemarch is often considered a pioneering feminist work. Eliot challenges the limited roles and expectations placed on women in Victorian society, creating strong female characters who seek intellectual fulfilment and personal agency. The novel’s exploration of gender inequalities and the struggle for self-realisation has been influential in feminist literary criticism and the broader feminist movement.
3. Social Commentary: The novel’s incisive critique of Victorian society, its moral hypocrisy, and its examination of social and political issues have made Middlemarch a significant work of social commentary. It continues to be studied and analysed for its insights into class divisions, societal norms, and the complexities of human relationships.
4. Psychological Realism: Eliot’s psychological depth and nuanced portrayal of characters have had a lasting impact on the development of psychological realism in literature. Her exploration of her characters’ internal lives, motivations, and moral dilemmas set a precedent for the psychological depth found in later novels.
5. Enduring Relevance: Despite being set in the 19th century, Middlemarch remains relevant today. Its themes of love, marriage, ambition, societal expectations, and personal fulfilment continue to resonate with readers across time and cultures. The novel’s exploration of universal human experiences and insightful observations of human nature contribute to its enduring popularity.
The Reason for Eight Books in Middlemarch
Middlemarch by George Eliot is divided into eight books, each serving a specific purpose in the novel’s narrative structure and thematic exploration. Here are some reasons for the division into eight books:
1. Introduction and Set-up: The first book introduces the setting, characters, and the initial conflicts and tensions within the community of Middlemarch. It establishes the foundation for the subsequent events and themes that unfold throughout the novel.
2. Character Development: Each book focuses on developing and exploring specific characters, providing deeper insight into their thoughts, motivations, and personal growth. The division into books allows for a more comprehensive and nuanced exploration of the individuals’ journeys.
3. Thematic Exploration: Each book delves into specific themes and societal issues, allowing for a more detailed and focused examination. These themes include marriage, ambition, social class, religion, and the pursuit of personal fulfilment. The division into books allows a deeper exploration of these themes and their interconnections.
4. Plot Structure: The division into books helps structure the plot and create narrative arcs within the larger story. Each book often ends with a sense of resolution or a cliffhanger, propelling the reader forward and maintaining tension and suspense throughout the novel.
5. Narrative Shifts: The division into books helps facilitate narrative perspective and focus shifts. Eliot employs an omniscient narrator who moves between different characters and storylines. The division into books allows smoother transitions between these shifts, providing a coherent and organised structure to the multiple narrative threads.
6. Reader Engagement: The division into books provides natural breaks in the narrative, allowing readers to pause, reflect, and anticipate what will happen next. It enhances the readability and accessibility of the novel, making it easier for readers to engage with the story and its characters.
The division into eight books in Middlemarch contributes to the overall structure, character development, thematic exploration, and reader engagement. It allows for a more comprehensive and organised presentation of the complex narrative, enhancing the impact and effectiveness of the novel.
Historical Period Behind Middlemarch by George Eliot
Middlemarch by George Eliot is set in the early 1830s, a time of great social and political change in England. The novel is set in the fictional town of Middlemarch, which is based on the real city of Coventry in Warwickshire, England. The early 1830s saw the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in England, which significantly changed the country’s economy and social structure. The growth of factories and the mechanisation of industry led to the development of modern cities, inducing the rise of a new urban working class. This period also saw the beginning of the railway age, which revolutionised transportation and communication. The struggle for political reform characterised the political landscape of the early 1830s. The Reform Act of 1832, which extended the right to vote to more people, was a major milestone in this struggle. The period was also marked by the rise of the Chartist movement, which called for further political reform and the extension of the right to vote to all men. Religion was also an important aspect of the historical period behind Middlemarch. The Church of England was the dominant religious institution in England at the time, but there were also significant dissenting movements, such as the Methodists and the Baptists. Generally, the historical period behind Middlemarch was marked by important social and political changes. The novel reflects these changes and offers insights into the complexities of life in nineteenth-century England.
Wisdom of Middlemarch by George Eliot
Middlemarch is a masterpiece of Victorian fiction that continues to be read and studied by scholars and readers alike. The novel’s exploration of complex themes and characters has made it a timeless work that remains relevant today. Middlemarch has left a lasting legacy in the literary world. Its influence can be seen in the works of subsequent writers, its impact on feminist literature, its role as social commentary, its contribution to psychological realism, and its enduring relevance to readers seeking deep insights into the human condition.
Middlemarch by George Eliot offers several profound learnings and conclusions by exploring human nature, societal dynamics, and personal growth. Here are some key takeaways from the novel:
1. Complexity of Human Nature: Middlemarch presents a nuanced and realistic portrayal of human nature. Characters are depicted with flaws, contradictions, and complexities, highlighting the depth and intricacy of individual personalities. The novel emphasises that people cannot be easily categorised as purely good or bad and that understanding and empathy are crucial in navigating human relationships.
2. Individual Struggles and Growth: The novel emphasises the importance of personal growth and the pursuit of individual fulfilment. Characters like Dorothea, Lydgate, and Will Ladislaw face challenges, make mistakes and experience personal transformations. Their journeys highlight the significance of self-awareness, introspection, and pursuing one’s true passions and values.
3. Societal Expectations and Limitations: Middlemarch explores the impact of societal expectations, norms, and prejudices on individuals. It critiques the rigid gender roles, class divisions, and moral hypocrisy prevalent in Victorian society. The novel underscores the limitations imposed by societal expectations and the importance of challenging and transcending these constraints.
4. The Power of Relationships: Middlemarch highlights the power and significance of human connections and relationships. The novel explores various kinds of relationships, including marriages, friendships, and familial bonds, and examines their impact on personal happiness, growth, and fulfilment. It portrays the complexity and dynamics of relationships and emphasises the need for trust, communication, and mutual understanding.
5. The Pursuit of Knowledge and Wisdom: Middlemarch values intellectual pursuits and the pursuit of knowledge. It emphasises the importance of education, self-improvement, and intellectual curiosity. The novel suggests that wisdom and understanding can lead to personal growth and a deeper comprehension of oneself and the world.
6. The Interconnectedness of Lives: Middlemarch underscores the interconnectedness of lives and the ripple effects of individual actions and choices. The novel portrays the web of relationships and how characters’ lives intersect and influence one another. It emphasises the significance of considering the consequences of one’s actions and the individual’s responsibility towards others.
In conclusion, Middlemarch offers profound insights into human nature, societal dynamics, and personal growth. Its learnings and conclusions emphasise the complexity of individuals, the importance of personal development, the impact of societal expectations, the power of relationships, the pursuit of knowledge, and the interconnectedness of lives. The novel never ceases to captivate readers because of its timeless exploration of the human condition.
Middlemarch by George Eliot is a novel that has stood the test of time and continues to be relevant today. The book explores the complex social and political issues of nineteenth-century England. It offers insights into the nature of human relationships, the pursuit of happiness, and the role of society in shaping individual lives.
One of the novel’s key themes is that society can limit individual freedom and lead to unhappiness. The character of Dorothea Brooke is a prime example of this. She is initially drawn to marrying a great man and dedicating herself to a life of philanthropy. However, she soon realises that her husband, Edward Casaubon, is not the great man she imagined him to be and that society’s expectations constrain her life. Dorothea’s struggles highlight the importance of individual freedom and the need to challenge social norms and expectations to find fulfilment.
Another important theme of the novel is the importance of self-knowledge and self-awareness. The character of Lydgate is a prime example of this. He initially believes he can achieve greatness through medical research but eventually realises his true passion is helping people directly. Lydgate’s journey towards self-awareness highlights the importance of understanding oneself to find happiness and fulfilment in life.
Middlemarch also offers insights into the nature of human relationships. The novel explores the complexities of marriage and the challenges of trying to build a life with another person. For example, the characters of Rosamond and Tertius Lydgate highlight the dangers of marrying for the wrong reasons and the importance of communication and compromise in a successful marriage.
Middlemarch is a novel that encourages readers to think deeply about the nature of human relationships and the role of society in shaping individual lives. It is a reminder that true happiness and fulfilment can only be found through self-knowledge and a willingness to challenge social norms and expectations. The novel’s wisdom and conclusions are as relevant today as they were when it was first published, making it a timeless classic that continues to inspire and enlighten readers worldwide. Middlemarch is a multifaceted epoch-making historical novel, which is a unique literary landmark in the world of fiction novels.