Wives and Daughters: An Everyday Story, Volume 2

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Cosimo, Inc., Dec 1, 2008 - Fiction - 640 pages
"My dear! why don't you ask him to dinner here? A little quiet dinner, you know. Cook is quite up to it; and we would all of us wear blacks and lilacs; he couldn't consider that as gaiety." Mr. Gibson took no more notice of these suggestions than by shaking his head. He had grown accustomed to his wife by this time, and regarded silence on his own part as a great preservative against long inconsequential arguments. But every time that Mrs. Gibson was struck by Cynthia's beauty, she thought it more and more advisable that Mr. Osbourne Hamley should be cheered up by a quiet little dinner-party. As yet no one but the ladies of Hollingford and Mr. Ashton, the vicar-that hopeless and impracticable old bachelor-had seen Cynthia; and what was the good of having a lovely daughter, if there were none but old women to admire her? -from Chapter XIX: "Cynthia's Arrival" As interest in 19th-century English literature by women has been reinvigorated by a resurgence in popularity of the works of Jane Austen, readers are rediscovering a writer whose fiction, once widely beloved, fell by the wayside. British novelist ELIZABETH CLEGHORN GASKELL (1810-1865)-whose books were sometimes initially credited to, simply, "Mrs. Gaskell"-is now recognized as having created some of the most complex and broadminded depictions of women in the literature of the age, and is today justly celebrated for her precocious use of the regional dialect and slang of England's industrial North. Wives and Daughters, Gaskell's sixth and final novel, was originally serialized in Cornhill Magazine between 1864 and 1866, and was not quite finished at the time of the author's death. The story, of shy Molly Gibson and her far more spirited stepsister, Cynthia, and the men who vie for their hands, remains incomplete, but this edition features notes from the Cornhill editor regarding Gaskell's plans for the tale's ending. Friend and literary companion to such figures as Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bront-the latter of whom Gaskell wrote an applauded 1857 biography-Gaskell is today being restored to her rightful place alongside her. This delightful replica volume is an excellent opportunity for 21st-century fans of British literature to embrace one of its most unjustly forgotten authors.
 

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User Review  - wrightja2000 - LibraryThing

I love how the characters are so complete. They are imperfect in a natural and non annoying way.I found myself reading bits to my husband, surprised at how her portrayal of human nature is still ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Tess_W - LibraryThing

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell was not as satisfying or as interesting as the other two Gaskell's I've read, Cranford and North and South. I'm not sure what the plot was and I really didn't ... Read full review

Contents

I
7
II
15
III
30
IV
37
V
46
VI
61
VII
74
VIII
81
XXXI
361
XXXII
370
XXXIII
384
XXXIV
390
XXXV
403
XXXVI
413
XXXVII
425
XXXVIII
433

IX
94
X
103
XI
120
XII
143
XIII
168
XIV
176
XV
196
XVI
208
XVII
219
XVIII
227
XIX
241
XX
251
XXI
260
XXII
266
XXIII
275
XXIV
292
XXV
300
XXVI
312
XXVII
325
XXVIII
333
XXIX
341
XXX
355
XXXIX
445
XL
453
XLI
463
XLII
473
XLIII
481
XLIV
490
XLV
502
XLVI
511
XLVII
520
XLVIII
532
XLIX
540
L
552
LI
562
LII
573
LIII
582
LIV
590
LV
600
LVI
610
LVII
620
LVIII
633
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

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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