Mary Barton

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Kessinger Publishing, Jun 1, 2004 - Fiction - 408 pages
8 Reviews
A story of class struggle, sometimes violent, in the North West of England

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Excellent characterizations. - Goodreads
I never felt much investment in their love story. - Goodreads
Elizabeth Gaskell is a classic writer. - Goodreads

Review: Mary Barton

User Review  - Arukiyomi - Goodreads

My first Gaskell was a bit of an unexpected page turner (well, it would have been if I hadn't listened to it!) and it sparked my desire to read more of her. Mary, as many of us when young, finds ... Read full review

Review: Mary Barton

User Review  - Becky - Goodreads

Mary Barton is Gaskell's first novel, and while you see some of her normal strengths- sympathy, strength of characters, vivid imagery of the poor- it has none of the panache of her later works. Its ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Elizabeth Gaskell was born on September 29, 1810 to 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 My Lady Ludlow and Lois the Witch, a novella that concerns the Salem witch trials. Wives and Daughters 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 Brontė was published. The biography was initially praised but angry protests came from some of the people it dealt with. Gaskell was against any biographical notice of her being written during her lifetime. After her death on November 12, 1865, her family refused to make family letters or biographical data available.

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