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Cranford (A Penguin Classics Hardcover) Reprint Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Ms Charlotte Mitchell provides an Introduction and Notes for this book. It is my belief that it is essesntial to read the Introduction in order to fully understand Cranford. Elizabeth Gaskell had written a series of stories which appeared at irregular intervals in a magazine edited by Charles Dickens titled Household Words. The stories first appeared together as a novel in 1853. Ms Mitchell uses the Introduction to explain the chronology for the publishing of this and other novels by Elizabeth Gaskell. She also takes this opportunity to explore the question of whether or not Cranford was ever meant to be taken seriously by readers of Ms Gaskell since her other novels are so very different in tone from this one.
One of the things I really appreciate which Ms Mitchell did was to include the Notes section to explain words and phrases which appear in the book which were very well understood in the 1800's but which may be unfamiliar to readers today. I read a lot of historical romantic fiction and these Notes gave me concrete explanations for words and phrases I have been too lazy to research for myself. I thought I knew what they meant before, now I know for sure. Items such as:
1. gigot - a sleeve style described as leg-of-mutton
2. baby-house - a dolls house
3. sarsenet - a soft thin silk material
4.Read more ›
"Cranford", "My Lady Ludlow" and "Mr Harrison's Confessions."
Mrs Gaskell stories are considered comedies, and this comes clear in the original texts. Some sadness of course in events, but mostly there is a clear comic, even sardonic voice in which we can fall in love with the characters and still laugh at their foibles, fashions, and foolishness which seem still so apropos today.
combined to produce the Cranford BBC series. The works are quite different from each other, "My Lady Ludlow" differing the most in tone and style.
"Mr. Harrison's Confession" is the droll account of a young doctor who comes to Dunscombe (a Cranford stand-in) to practice with the much older Mr. Morgan, an old friend of his father's. As young Harrison makes the transition from the lively streets of London to the quaint lanes of the little town to which he has moved, he is involved in many humorous misunderstandings--and especially troublesome are those caused by a prankster friend of his! There are poignant moments too, as Mr. Harrison and the townspeople learn to know each other, and the young doctor finds love.
"Cranford" is the most fully fleshed out of the three novellas, and easily the most readily absorbed by the modern reader. To one who grew up in New England of swamp Yankee parentage, the mindset of the Cranford ladies is completely familiar. Why care about dress when everyone in your town knows what clothes you own, and why care when you are away where no one knows you at all? The various subplots of the story are very reminiscent Sarah Orne Jewett, who wrote a few decades later in the US--"The Country of the Pointed Firs," for example. The novel comprises several interlocking stories centering on Miss Matilda Jenkyns, her family and her friends who inhabit the little town of Cransford--a town of Amazons. Very few men live in the village. Though many of the stories are humorous, there are those that touch the heart.Read more ›
This enjoyable novel may seem a bit meandering to some readers, given that there is not a main narrative thread. The novel was originally published in serialized form in "Household Words" (edited by Charles Dickens), which may partially help explain its lack of a strong plot. Indeed, the 2007 BBC mini-series versions of "Cranford" included stories from several of Gaskell's other novels. However, the stories here all add up to a devastatingly accurate picture of small town life and the sometimes vicious yet amusing ways in which people in them behave. Gaskell clearly understood human nature, and readers are likely to recognize many truths about human foibles in her stories.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful novel. A gentle, peaceful treatment of the lives of several women in the small town of Cranford in Victorian England. The characters are well done. Read morePublished 17 days ago by David C. Straut
Love these old classics. I do wish that we still practiced these values and virtues in today's world. Wishful thinking.Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
The characters never came to life. The Cranford series was excellent and I was really looking forward to reading this. I never finished it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by smokinjj
My introduction to the Cranford characters was on television. It was delightful to meet them again!Published 2 months ago by Susan McLean
I had watched the BBC production and wanted to see what the book was like. I enjoyed it and thought it was well written.Published 2 months ago by Diane
The town of Cranford is filled with spinster women. They live their lives, they gossip, they attend magic shows, they bury their dead. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Heather E. Hejduk
Good insight into society in England in the 1800's. Interesting how people interacted in what they considered the "better" inhabitants of the town.Published 3 months ago by margaret
The story is the telling of the women in the town of Cranford. There is humor that is sly and witty and unexpected. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Vicki Goodwin