The Mill on the Floss, Paperback
4 out of 5 (23 ratings)


Drawing on George Eliot's own childhood experiences to craft an unforgettable story of first love, sibling rivalry and regret, "The Mill on the Floss" is edited with an introduction and notes by A.S.

Byatt, author of "Possession", in "Penguin Classics".

Brought up at Dorlcote Mill, Maggie Tulliver worships her brother Tom and is desperate to win the approval of her parents, but her passionate, wayward nature and her fierce intelligence bring her into constant conflict with her family.

As she reaches adulthood, the clash between their expectations and her desires is painfully played out as she finds herself torn between her relationships with three very different men: her proud and stubborn brother; hunchbacked Tom Wakem, the son of her family's worst enemy; and the charismatic but dangerous Stephen Guest.

With its poignant portrayal of sibling relationships, "The Mill on the Floss" is considered George Eliot's most autobiographical novel; it is also one of her most powerful and moving.

In this edition, writer and critic A.S. Byatt, author of "Possession", provides full explanatory notes and an introduction relating "The Mill on the Floss" to George Eliot's own life and times. Mary Ann Evans (1819-80) began her literary career as a translator, and later editor, of the "Westminster Review".

In 1857, she published "Scenes of Clerical Life", the first of eight novels she would publish under the name of 'George Eliot', including "The Mill on the Floss", "Middlemarch", and "Daniel Deronda".

If you enjoyed "The Mill on the Floss", you might like Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure", also available in "Penguin Classics".


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 640 pages, chronology, notes
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780141439624



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 5 of 23 reviews.

  Previous  |  Next

Review by

What a pleasure this book was. Oh Maggie you're such an annoying but endearing thing why didn't you just marry the gorgeous Stephen, you had to let your silly morals get in the way and don't we love you for it in the end. I was captivated to see how it could ever end and would my longing for Maggie and Stephen to be together be satiated or not, you'll have to read it to find out.

Review by

Another GE novel that made me cry... although I found the ending a bit weak, it is grand literature as only Eliot can write.

Review by

If you can find an introduction or timeline with "George Eliot"s life prior to reading this story, it will be all the more poignat. I am pretty sure she is writing her own story- the social context is totally amazing, and makes it all the more meaningful. Major themes surrounding the plight of women in the late 1800s, but also incredibly humourous. "This is a puzzling world, if you drive your wagons in a hurry you may light on an awkward corner!"

Review by

My personal favourite of all Eliot's works. It seems to me to be one of the very few books of it's time which showed that there is true passion in sibling love. It has the sweetest taste of tragedy I have ever had.

Review by

When I first attempted to read this novel many, many years ago for an undergraduate class on British women writers of the nineteenth century, I got 126 pages into it (the bookmark was still there) and then abandoned it, fudging my way through the seminar. I maligned this book somewhat, declaring it to be dull, nowhere near as interesting as Middlemarch (assisted as I had been in reading that text by pleasant images of Rufus Sewell). In retrospect, I actually think I was too young for this book. This is not to say that the book is terribly adult but that I was not mature enough to appreciate the nuances.Perhaps what struck me most in this second, successful read is that Eliot appears to be using irony - bordering on sarcasm - quite heavily at times. Needless to say, I found this wonderful. Tom's obvious character flaws, for example, are portrayed as virtues, and Maggie's virtues as vices. I must admit, however, that Maggie Tulliver disappoints me somewhat. I do not necessarily feel it was entirely her lack of opportunity that leads to her misfortune but her adolescent ascetic phase. Furthermore, the unattractiveness of Stephen Guest as a character and her (to me) inexplicable attraction to him cemented this disappointment. All I could think was, "He better be gorgeous, sweetheart."The novel also captures something of the changing times. I recognised the fears and ambitions of the community of St Ogg's something very much like what we think and feel now in the face of globalisation, and that I had seen also in the finale to A.S. Byatt's Potter quartet. It confirms for me that globalisation is not modern, although its technology may be.

  Previous  |  Next