Cranford

Cranford

Book - 2005
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Elizabeth Gaskell's portrait of kindness, compassion, and hope

Cranford depicts the lives and preoccupations of the inhabitants of a small village - their petty snobberies, appetite for gossip, and loyal support for each other in times of need This is a community that runs on cooperation and gossip, at the very heart of which are the daughters of the former rector: Miss Deborah Jenkyns and her sister Miss Matty, But domestic peace is constantly threatened in the form of financial disaster, imagined burglaries, tragic accidents, and the reapparance of long-lost relatives. to Lady Glenmire, who shocks everyone by marrying the doctor. When men do appear, such as 'modern' Captain Brown or Matty's suitor from the past, they bring disruption and excitement to the everyday life of Cranford.

In her introduction, Patricia Ingham places the novel in its literary and historical context, and discusses the theme of female friendship and Gaskell's narrative technique. This edition also contains an account of Gaskell's childhood in Knutsford, on which Cranford is based, appendices on fashion and domestic duties supplemented by illustrations, a chronology of Gaskell's life and works, suggestions for further reading, and explanatory notes.
Publisher: London ; New York : Penguin Books, 2005
ISBN: 9780141439884
0141439882
9780143039419
0143039415
Characteristics: xxxviii, 257 p. : ill. ; 20 cm
Additional Contributors: Ingham, Patricia.

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lukasevansherman
Feb 19, 2015

"Cranford is in possession of the Amazons; all the holders of houses, above a certain rent, are women."
Elizabeth Gaskell is not as well known as other major Victorian novelists (Dickens, Thackeray, Eliot), but she knew Charlotte Bronte and wrote a book about her and had stories published in a magazine run by Dickens. "Cranford," like a number of other 19th century novels by women (Austen, Bronte, Eliot), is concerned with the life, loves, and manners of a provincial town. Fans of the 19th century English novel will find much to appreciate here. Also see "North and South."

m
maipenrai
Jun 27, 2013

***** stars. I loved the PBS Masterpiece Theatre presentation of this novel and could not imagine that a book could capture the wonderful observations and interactions of Judi Dench and her fellow actors. I had never read an book by Ms. Gaskell, and felt I should give one a try. What a delight!! Much as I loved the production, it is almost never possible for a film to capture all the internal machinations of the minds of the characters. The thoughts and interactions of Miss Mary Smith and her two friends in a world largely without men, where said creatures are viewed perhaps at best as minor impediments to an orderly, reasonable life, are wonderful. I listened to this book on CD. This heightened the enjoyment of the terrific prose. Dame Judi did a great job, but Ms. Gaskell goes her one better. The book may be over 150 years old, but I would recommend it to everyone. Hurrah!!

k
KarenW
Nov 30, 2010

Cranford is a town run by old ladies and spinsters. But when modern times comes to the town, and old ways must change, it is up to the inhabitants to move with the times lead by this very spririted group of women.

k
kalio
Jun 26, 2009

Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865) was a Victorian writer with an agenda of social criticism. Her Cranford novels (Cranford, Mr. Harrison?s Confessions, and My Lady Ludlow are combined in the Vintage Classics edition, if you can find it) chronicle the lives of the women--spinster sisters Matty and Deborah, their kind-hearted and observant friend Mary Smith, and their many gossiping neighbors--in the market town of Cranford, a town facing social and economical changes as the Victorian age of progress pushes closes and closer. Gossip rules the lives of these women, whether it be talk of the railroad or the new bachelor doctor?s love interests. The stories are episodic and comic, the characters are realistic and loveable, and the narration is witty and intimate. Like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell focuses on women and the events that are important to them: love and marriage of course, but also loss, death, and consequences that result from paths not taken. For readers who enjoy the gentle social criticism of Jane Austen?s books, Cranford is another portrait of the way of life of a time and place that has passed us by.

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