Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life is a book by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans, later Marian Evans. It is her seventh novel, begun in 1869 and then put aside during the final illness of Thornton Lewes, the son of her companion George Henry Lewes. During the following year Eliot resumed work, fusing together several stories into a coherent whole, and during 1871–72 the novel appeared in serial form. The first one-volume edition was published in 1874 and attracted large sales. Subtitled "A Study of Provincial Life", the novel is set in the fictional Midlands town of Middlemarch, thought to be based on Coventry, during the period 1830–32. It has multiple plots with a large cast of characters, and in addition to its distinct though interlocking narratives it pursues a number of underlying themes, including the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism, self-interest, religion, hypocrisy, political reform, and education. The pace is leisurely, the tone is mildly didactic (with an authorial voice that occasionally bursts through the narrative), and the canvas is very broad. This edition has been formatted for your reader, with an active table of contents. It has also been annotated with extensive additional information about the book and its author, including an overview, background, plot, themes, characters, literary significance, biographical and bibliographical information.