Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life

Four Wednesdays, September 22, October 6, 20, and November 3,1:00–2:30 p.m. | Northern Trust Bank, Third-Floor Conference Room, 2701 Kirby Drive

Professor Terrence Doody will lead our discussion of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, her novel of a middle-sized city in the middle of England in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is the great English novel not centered in London and great on the same scale Tolstoy’s War and Peace is great—a study of several families in a period of profound transition in a nation’s cultural life. The major characters—the romantic young woman Dorothea Brooke, the physician Tertius Lydgate, and the radical journalist Will Ladislaw—are important familiar types. The not-quite-minor characters, like the banker Bulstrode and the Reverend Mr. Farebrother, may be even better because they are not Dickensian comic caricatures but “real” people. Middlemarch is the kind of book that you cannot read fast enough or slow enough: you want all of it to last forever now! And those of you who are reading it for the first time have all of our envy.

Terrence Doody is a professor of English at Rice University, where he teaches courses in the modernist period, the novel and narrative theory, and contemporary literature. He is the author of Among Other Things: A Description of the Novel (Louisiana State University Press, 1998) and recipient of grants from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Professor Doody is an eight-time winner of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching.



Fall 2018 brochures are out! Please let us know if you did not receive one and we will be happy to send one to you.

Registration is now open. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 


The interest list for the fall and spring study tours is also now open. If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez in the fall of 2018 or Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy.


Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 


Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. Please contact the registrar if you would like to be wait listed for this course. 


Have a great summer. We look forward to seeing you this fall!


For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at  or phone 713.666.9000.