The new series of Writers and Their Work continues a tradition of innovative critical studies introducing writers and their contexts to a wide range of readers. Drawing upon the most recent thinking in English studies, each book considers biographical material, examines recent criticism, includes a detailed bibliography, and offers a concise but challenging reappraisal of a writer's major work. This original study of Elizabeth Gaskell places the woman and her writings within the full Victorian context. Recent critical appraisal has focused both on her role as a novelist of industrial England, and on her awareness of the position of women and the problems of the woman writer in that society. Kate Flint's perceptive book shows that for Elizabeth Gaskell the condition of women was inseparable from the broader issues of social change. Books such as Mary Barton, Cranford, North and South and Wives and Daughters continually analyse and interrogate questions of power, authority and the expression and transmission of human values, and challenge many widely-held preconceptions of the age. Dr Flint shows how recent feminist criticism and theories of narrative work together to illuminate the radical and experimental nature of Mrs Gaskell's fiction.