North and South
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'she tried to settle that most difficult problem for women, how much was to be utterly merged in obedience to authority, and how much might be set apart for freedom in working.' North and South is a novel about rebellion. Moving from the industrial riots of discontented millworkers through to the unsought passions of a middle-class woman, and from religious crises of conscience to the ethics of naval mutiny, it poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience. Through the story of Margaret Hale, the middle-class southerner who moves to the northern industrial town of Milton, Gaskell skilfully explores issues of class and gender in the conflict between Margaret's ready sympathy with the workers and her growing attraction to the charismatic mill ownder, John Thornton. This new revised and expanded edition sets the novel in the context of Victorian social and medical debate. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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  • Paperback | 496 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 28mm | 340.19g
  • 15 Oct 2008
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford
  • English
  • New Edition.
  • 0199537003
  • 9780199537006
  • 45,789

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Author Information

Sally Shuttleworth is Professor of Literature at the University of Sheffield.

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Customer reviews

If Dickens disagreed with her, I agree with Dickens

While originally written in the serialized publication of Dickens' 'Household Words', Gaskell's North and South(1854-55) shows an utter lack of understanding and skill in conforming to the restraints imposed upon this format. She is defective in her ability to condense plot, creating a passive lull when the reader craves action. Although Gaskell does conjure up an array of endearing characters (from the stern Mrs. Thorton to the meek Bessy Higgins), these characters are often refused adequate 'page time' to develop in the novel as the heroine's selfishly stolen introspection is prioritized. Gaskell is also at fault in her choice to delay the romantic resolution that should have naturally come to a climax a hundred pages prior. To compare the pattern of perceived unforgiving sin found in both North and South and in the later work of Thomas Hardy- Tess of the D'urbervilles (1891), North and South is but a crude thought in its infancy. Where Tess Derbyfield is struck with a quivering passion to clear herself of the taint of a fallen woman in the eyes of her husband and to endure with a steady forbearance what suffering he seems fit for her, Margaret Hale finds herself in a trivial position in which she has committed no crime and with no consequences other than facing the lowered opinion of a man she respected. There is, once superfluous words are hacked away, no meat in the 'tumultuous tale' of North and South to provide a substantial meal for readers or indeed to satisfy the slightest pangs of hunger.show more
by Alaina Francis