Gaskell, Elizabeth. (1810 - 1865).
W o r k
- preoccupied with Manchester = the urban phenomenon of the age
> commercial success of manufacture, pioneering of the factory system, and use of huge amounts of human and physical energy
> human problems of rapid industrialisation, divisions of class, hard labour, and low quality of life
Mary Barton (1848):
- a ‘Tale of Manchester Life’
- the industrial conflict, strikes and lock-outs, enforced unemployment, low wages, and the consequentially growing class-consciousness
- an observation of contrasting ways of living, working, and perceiving: the ignorance of both the readers and characters of Manchester slum conditions
North and South (1854 - 1855):
- her second Manchester novel, politically optimistic
- contrasts the snobberies, chivalries, and artificiality of the country gentry of the South x the anti-gentlemanly self-made manufacturers of the North
- admires the independence and pride of industrial workers despite the appalling working and living conditions x against the subservience, acquiescence, and superstition of the rural poor
Sylvia’s Lovers (1863) and Wives and Daughters (1864 - 1866):
- her finest novels about the growth of contrasted female protagonists
(1) Sylvia's Lovers: a farmer’s daughter, barely educated, self-willed, and passionate, divided between resolution x equally heady irresolution: her marriage proves a disaster
(2) Wives and Daughters: a respected widowed doctor’s daughter grows to maturity through a series of domestic crises: her marriage proves a meeting of equals
"Margaret's whole soul rose up against him while he reasoned in this way—as if commerce were everything and humanity nothing."
From North and South (1854 - 1855).
(Portrait: George Richmond. 1951. Source: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorElizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson. Married Gaskell. (1810 - 1865). British.
WorkNovelist. Author of "Manchester Novels".
GenresVictorian period. Regionalism. Urban novel.
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