Middlemarch was first published in 1871 and 1872, as a serial novel in eight parts. This was Eliot's most comprehensive and sweeping novel to date, and was intended as a study of provincial British life. Described by Virginia Woolf as ”one of the few English novels written for grown-up people", Middlemarch follows the novel's central characters Dorothea and Lydgate as they both respectively quest to find heroism in everyday deeds and gestures. Dorothea Brooke, a young woman of impeccable character, marries the embittered Mr. Casaubon, who almost immediately dies. Eliot takes the reader through a labyrinth of nineteenth-century morals and conventions as Dorothea searches for fulfillment and happiness. Their stories intermingle in many vital ways, resulting in an account that is both moving and very thought-provoking.