It's Team Middlemarch day at last.
Miss Brooke, the first of eight serialised parts of Middlemarch was published on December 1st 1871 and so we are on the starting line, the Brougham (pronounced Broom or Browam apparently ) is laden with warm blankets for the knees, and baskets of food and drink are loaded up.
Now those of a nervous disposition had better look away now because what follows next equals book crime and desecration of the first order, and I may be arrested before the day is out. I will expect opprobium to be heaped on me from all corners of the globe.... so I'm going to run away until tomorrow and hope you've all forgotten about it by then.
A home really only needs so many copies of Middlemarch, six feels like plenty to me, so I sacrificed an old paperback edition for an experiment and sent it into Bookhound for surgery...
'Can you saw this up into the eight individual books for me?' I asked..
There was no pre-op preparation, no time to change my mind or seize the book back, Middlemarch was whisked off for dissection. And there followed some interesting noises off stage as the deed was done. I paced around outside, unable to watch whilst imagining eight hundred loose pages emerging from this chunkster of a book rather than a nice set of octuplets, even though this was all for your benefit and mine ... but perhaps don't try this at home unless you are made of stern stuff .
But isn't it also often the case that it is the sheer size of a book that can feel so daunting??
The Victorians had no idea it would be quite this big surely, they just had a nice little edition to read every two months, so when I saw our 'Study of Provincial Life' reduced to its eighths,
I was really pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the comparison.
You've already glimpsed it, but I was even more delighted when Miss Brooke emerged from the recovery room post- reduction surgery, pocket-sized, light as a feather and clad in her original livery.
So where were we... oh yes... get set...GO, or should that be a quick click of the tongue and 'Walk on' to our horses.