Concerning “Middlemarch” and my recent comments, I misstated the amount of time George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) required to write the story. I cited this at ten years. I’ve learned, however, that Ms. Evans spent closer to five years crafting and then collating the text. This bloc of work ultimately became what we consume today as the complete tome.
Longtime subscriber to The Perfect Write® Newsletter, Robert Dickhoff, provided the correct timeline. And I want to thank him publicly for doing this. No excuses, but I used the years between that novel and Ms. Evans’s next major work as benchmarks. A number of “Middlemarch” societies exist, and I should have contacted one for a clear answer.
It amazes me that anyone could write and edit a book the size of “Middlemarch” in that era in five years. One need only consider contemporary authors who wrote voluminous works, such as Wouk and Mailer. Both of Mr. Wouk’s “War” tomes (this is the link to “Winds of War“) were published almost a decade apart. And Mr. Mailer’s “Harlot’s Ghost” appeared to require a decade.
Granted, Mr. Wouk and Mr. Mailer may well have written other material during those time frames. But the projects I cited came out with gaps of nine or so years in-between. Alas, writing and editing a draft containing 320,000 words in five years, without a word processor, is indeed a humbling thought.