Cranford

ISBN-10: 0199558302
ISBN-13: 9780199558308
Edition: 2nd 2011
List price: $6.99 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: 'A man ... is so in the way in the house!'A vivid and affectionate portrait of a provincial town in early Victorian England, Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford describes a community dominated by its independent and refined women. Undaunted by poverty, but  More...

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Book details

List price: $6.99
Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 6/9/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.440
Language: English

'A man ... is so in the way in the house!'A vivid and affectionate portrait of a provincial town in early Victorian England, Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford describes a community dominated by its independent and refined women. Undaunted by poverty, but dismayed by changes brought by the railway and by new commercial practices, the ladies of Cranford respond to disruption with both suspicion and courage. Miss Matty and her sister Deborah uphold standards and survive personal tragedy and everyday dramas; innovation may bring loss,but it also brings growth, and welcome freedoms. Cranford suggests that representatives of different and apparently hostile social worlds, their minds opened by sympathy and suffering, can learn from each other. Its social comedy develops into a study of generous reconciliation, of a kind that will valuethe past as it actively shapes the future.This edition includes two related short pieces by Gaskell, 'The Last Generation in England' and 'The Cage at Cranford', as well as a selection from the diverse literary and social contexts in which the Cranford tales take their place.

Elizabeth Gaskell was the daughter of a Unitarian clergyman, who was also a civil servant and journalist. Her mother died when she was young, and she was brought up by her aunt in Knutsford, a small village that was the prototype for Cranford, Hollingford and the setting for numerous other short stories. In 1832, she married William Gaskell, a Unitarian clergyman in Manchester. She participated in his ministry and collaborated with him to write the poem "Sketches Among the Poor" in 1837. "Our Society at Cranford" was the first two chapters of "Cranford" and it appeared in Dickens' Household Words in 1851. Dickens liked it so much that he pressed Gaskell for more episodes, and she produced eight more of them between 1852 and 1853. She also wrote, mainly for Dickens, "My Lady Ludlow" and "Lois the Witch," a novella that concerns the Salem witch trials. "Wives and Daughters: An Every-day Story" ran in Cornhill from August 1864 to January 1866. The final installment was never written but the ending was known and the novel exists now virtually complete. The story centers on a series of relationships between family groups in Hollingford. Most critics agree that her greatest achievement is the short novel "Cousin Phillis." Gaskell was also followed by controversy. In 1853, she offended many readers with "Ruth," which explored seduction and illegitimacy that led the "fallen woman" into ostracism and inevitable prostitution. The novel presents the social conduct in a small community when tolerance and morality clash. Critics praised the novel's moral lessons but Gaskell's own congregation burned the book and it was banned in many libraries. In 1857, "The Life of Charlotte Bronte" was published. The biography was initially praised but angry protests came from some of the people it dealt with. Gaskell wrote of Bronte's version on his dismissal from his tutoring position. He blamed it on his refusal to be seduced by his employer's wife. She was threatened with legal action but, with the help of her husband, the problems were resolved. Gaskell was against any biographical notice of her being written during her lifetime. After her death in 1865, her family refused to make family letters or biographical data available.

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