So, I finally finished Middlemarch. The last ten or so chapters were so good that my overall verdict on the book's entertainment merits is greatly improved. I actually read those ten chapters over the course of two nights, and I think that's the strongest observation I can give in their favour, considering my track record with a lot of the rest of the book.
By the last chapters, the focus is finally off the corrupt Bulstrode - who is probably one of the most difficult-to-read-about bad guys in all literature. He's not at all dramatically evil or anything,just corrupt, so that's probably why he's hard to stomach. It still concentrates a little on the Lydgates, but Dorothea is drawn into helping them out by this time, so these scenes hardly seem like such huge digressions. Then by the final few chapters, the narrative comes roundly back to focus on all the original characters once again, somehow without seeming over-late despite their long absence.