This study shows how aesthetics and economics have been combined in a great work of literature. Widely acknowledged as one of the great English novels, Middlemarch was published at a time which saw the emergence of a commodity-based culture. Frost examines the history of Middlemarch's composition and publication within the context of Victorian demand, then goes on to consider the interpretation, reception and consumption of the book. Reader experience and rival publications are explored alongside a 'commodity reading' of the novel. The study will be of value to scholars of book history, economics and material culture.