Middlemarch is George Eliot's critical work that was published in 1871-1872 (as a series of smaller inter-woven books) as a look into, and critique, of provincial English life. Eliot (aka, Mary Anne Evans) was a 19th-century feminist of sorts, arguing that women have as much right to truth and knowledge as their silly male counterparts. Here's her take on the situation:
"Women were expected to have weak opinions, but the great safeguard of society and domestic life was that opinions were not acted on. Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them," (p. 7).Sounds like a truth still pretty applicable, even in today's society (in my opinion). We've come a long way since Evans was writing under a male pseudonym to get credibility, but we've still got a long way to go, baby.