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Cranford is a rich, comic and illuminating portrait of life in a small town in early Victorian times. Mrs Gaskell presents us with a society that was disappearing because of the onward march of the Industrial Revolution. While the dark clouds of urbanisation and the advance of the railway hover threateningly on the horizon, the inhabitants of Cranford, predominantly women, resolutely refuse to embrace change. Gaskell shows that in their apparently simple ordered lives they face many emotional dilemmas and upheavals. It is the drama of the minutiae that is both appealing and illuminating, revealing as it does that great emotions can by stirred by what to the outside world are minor matters.

Illustrated by Hugh Thomson, with an Afterword by David Stuart Davies.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 99 x 157 x 18mm | 186g
  • Macmillan Collector's Library
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main Market Ed.
  • b/w illustrations
  • 1905716494
  • 9781905716494
  • 323,316

About Elizabeth Gaskell

Mrs Gaskell was born Elizabeth Stevenson in London in 1810. Her mother Eliza, the niece of the potter Josiah Wedgwood, died when she was a child. Much of her childhood was spent in Cheshire, where she lived with an aunt at Knutsford, a town she would later immortalise as Cranford. In 1832, she married a Unitarian minister, William Gaskell (who had a literary career of his own), and they settled in Manchester. The industrial surroundings offered her inspiration for her novels. Gaskell's first novel, Mary Barton, was published anonymously in 1848. The best-known of her other novels are Cranford (1853) and North and South (1855). Elizabeth met Charlotte Bronte in 1850, and they struck up a great friendship. After Charlotte's death in 1855, her father, the Reverend Patrick Bronte, asked Gaskell to write her biography to counteract gossip and speculation. The Life of Charlotte Bronte was published in 1857. Gaskell was also a skilled proponent of the ghost story. Her last novel, Wives and Daughters, said by many to be her most mature work remained unfinished at the time of her death in 1865.
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Rating details

38,943 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 30% (11,549)
4 36% (14,072)
3 26% (9,938)
2 6% (2,518)
1 2% (866)
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