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Cranford & Other Stories (Wordsworth Classics) [Paperback]

Elizabeth Gaskell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 10, 2006 1840224517 978-1840224511
With an Introduction and Notes by Professor Emeritus John Chapple, University of Hull The sheer variety and accomplishment of Elizabeth Gaskell s shorter fiction is amazing. This new volume contains six of her finest stories that have been selected specifically to demonstrate this, and to trace the development of her art. As diverse in setting as in subject matter, these tales move from the gentle comedy of life in a small English country town in Dr Harrison s Confessions, to atmospheric horror in far north-west Wales with The Doom of the Griffiths. The story of Cousin Phillis, her masterly tale of love and loss, is a subtle, complex and perceptive analysis of changes in English national life during an industrial age, while the gripping Lois the Witch recreates the terrors of the Salem witchcraft trials in seventeenth-century New England, as Gaskell shrewdly shows the numerous roots of this furious outbreak of delusion. Whimsically modified fairy tales are set in a French chateau, while an engaging love story poetically evokes peasant life in wine-growing Germany.

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Cranford & Other Stories (Wordsworth Classics) + North and South (Penguin Classics)
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Product Details

  • Series: Wordsworth Classics
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd (July 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840224517
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840224511
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #926,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely stories but not for everyone January 24, 2009
Format:Paperback
There are two reasons for reading Elizabeth Gaskell's novels(Mary
Barton, North and South, Wives and Daughters, etc). The first is that you enjoy the type of story that she tells. Her works are about ordinary people living in rural areas of England during the early part of the 19th century. Other writers, such as Thomas Hardy, Anthony Trollope and George Eliot write similarly, but with varying emphases. By contrast, Charles Dickens wrote about urban people, Jane Austen covered a higher class of society. If you like highly charged adventure stories about heroes, then Sir Walter Scott's work would be more interesting.

The second reason is that Gaskell is a "second tier" writer, important but not in the same class as Dickens, Austen, the Bronte Sisters, etc. To be well rounded and knowledgeable it is important to read at least some authors such as Caskell and Trollope, but I would say that the first priority is to read the best authors first.

Having read these "first tier" authors (in some cases all of their works) I decided to sample Mrs. Gaskell's work and selected Cranford and Other Stories because I thought reading shorter works would give me a better sampling of her art. I wasn't disappointed. This book includes the novella, Cranford and six widely varying short stories.

Essentially Gaskell's theme is the superiority of rural over urban places, but country life is being threatened by the inroads of modernity and urban values. As she herself is quoted as saying in the Introduction to the short stories, referring to rural places, "Oh! that Life would make a stand-still in this happy place." This theme is especially pronounced in Cranford which is a small community largely populated by elderly women.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great stories! October 23, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Came across Elizabeth Gaskell in my Netflix recommendations. These stories are such great reads. If you love Pride and Prejudice, these stories will be for you as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book for a Gaskell fan February 7, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
other than the print is really small, the book is great. I am an Elizabeth Gaskell fan so it didn't take long to read it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great writer to discover (if not already aware of). December 15, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Elizabeth Gaskell is a very fine writer of the ordinary occurrences in life. She might be a bit wordier than contemporary writers but her writing makes her people live as few writers can. I won't bother with many more words. Read hers. Read this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! January 17, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm constantly amazed at how quickly my items are sent when I order from Amazon. I tell everyone I know that orders items online that they need to order from Amazon whenever they can.
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