About Me

Alt-Profile-2021I read Middlemarch for the first time when I was 18, backpacking across Europe; I’ve been rereading it ever since, including for work on my undergraduate honours thesis (at the University of British Columbia) and my Ph.D. thesis (at Cornell University). Now I’m an English professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I assign Middlemarch to my students as often as I can: one happy term I was teaching it in three different classes! I don’t pretend to be the world’s biggest expert on Middlemarch, and nobody should claim to have definitive answers to every question about the novel. But the two things my students say most often about me as a teacher are that I am very enthusiastic and that I am very organized: I’m hoping that these qualities are the right ones to make a site like this work.

I also write a blog, Novel Readings (which is where the idea for this site was born), and I write reviews and essays for venues including the Times Literary SupplementQuill and Quire, and Open Letters Monthly. You can find full details about my professional profile and publications at my own website.

7 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Jelena Krstovic says:

    Hello, and thank you for all the wonderful information here. I am interested in “slow” reading Middlemarch–one weekly installment at a time. Is there an edition in which the original installments are marked? Thank you for your help! Jelena

    • rohanmaitzen says:

      Hi, Jelena. That’s a nice idea, to take your time and savor the novel! Middlemarch was not actually published in weekly installments but in eight books at intervals between December 1871 and December 1872. The ‘Note on the Text’ in the Oxford edition gives the dates; they are about two months apart up to Book VI and then the last ones were separated by just a month. Every edition will indicate the different books, including their names (Book I is “Miss Brooke,” Book II is “Old and Young,” and so on). The discussion questions posted here correspond to those divisions as well. Enjoy!

  2. Mark B. Packer says:

    Dear Professor Maitzen–I was enchanted to come across your blog site. I have been facilitating a reading group out here in Bellingham, Washington for the last 25 years called Heavy Culture, where we read and discuss classic literature, using Clifton Fadiman’s Lifetime Reading Plan, 3rd edition, as our backbone for reading choices. Early on, 1991, our first year, we “did” Middlemarch. Subsequently in 2006 we established Bellingham Summer Classics where we read and discuss a major literary work extensively for five evenings in a row. The first year’s selection was, of course, Middlemarch, and we did it yet again only two years back. This year we are doing Doctor Zhivago by Pasternack at the end of July. I find your blog site a vast treasure house for a common sense approach to the great work. I think I will pass your web site on to the other members of Heavy Culture. I am quite sure some of them at least will be interested in following through on your mode of analysis and questions you raise. On the chance that you might be interested in more details about Heavy Culture, I would invite you to apply for membership in the site by writing to heavyculture-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. They send me an e-mail as moderator and then I admit you. You can of course get off the site any time by writing to the same address, only “unsubscribe” rather than “subscribe.” Or you can just write back to me.
    Best wishes,

    Mark B. Packer

    • rohanmaitzen says:

      Mark, thank you so much for telling me about what sounds like a really wonderful group project. I have wondered about putting together a similar site for another of Eliot’s books (perhaps The Mill on the Floss). Maybe your group would have suggestions!

      • Mark Packer says:

        Hi Profess Maitzen–We haven’t been in contact for several years now. I hope you still propagate the treasures of Middlemarch to your students and out to the larger world. Heavy Culture is now in its 30th year, though we’ve been stalled now by the coronavirus. We’re considering reconvening for our annual summer classics meeting–five evening in a row– public health conditions permitting, with Daniel Deronda. Could I ask for your thoughts on the work, or a reference to something you may have already written about it? Thanks.–Mark B. Packer

  3. Rohan Maitzen says:

    You are exactly right and I very much appreciate your sharp eyes! I have such a hard time proofreading on screen.


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