HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell
Loading...

Ruth (1853)

by Elizabeth Gaskell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6131515,886 (3.75)57
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 57 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
“Ruth” is quite a departure from the likes of Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Mary Barton” and “North and South”. Those two novels were amongst many that I had to read whilst at university. I liked them enough to want to read more works by this author.

What I’ve read since has been hit or miss. I can state that if “Ruth” had been the first book I’d read by Elizabeth Gaskell then I would not have read any more of her fiction. The quality of the author’s writing is the only reason I’ve rated this novel two stars instead of one.

The title character is passive, placid, and too good to be true in many respects. The reason for this virtue is to compensate for her wicked sin of having a child out of wedlock. This act is upon what the novel revolves around.

I may have appreciated the themes in this book more if I’d lived during the 1800s, but then I like a lot of stories written during the 18th century that deal with topics that have little or no relevance today.

There are a few good scenes but a few is not enough in a lengthy novel. Few characters stand out as being especially interesting. Jemima is perhaps the most engaging, especially early on, but as the story progresses, her appeal digresses.

There’s a lack of real conflict and a heavy focus on religion, making this reader at least feel like I’m being preached to. I’m certainly all for Christian values and virtues, but when I read a novel I expect to be engaged by a convincing plot and strong characters, and don’t want to read a sermon.

To sum up in a list, I found this too mundane, too didactic, too slow, too repetitive, too uninspiring, too lacking in conflict, too much religious preaching, too pitiful in regards of the main character, and far too depressing.

If you’ve never read a Gaskell novel before and want to check her out, I’d recommend that you pick “Mary Barton” or, better still, “North and South”. But each to their own, as this is just my opinion.

She’s a great writer but the themes she writes about determines the quality of her work. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Dec 10, 2014 |
The story of Ruth, an orphan apprentice milliner, who is abandoned by her gentleman lover and taken in by a dissenting minister and his sister. It is a story of repentance and judgment: Ruth is for years represented as a widow, but her secret of course comes out eventually. I found the story moved on at quite a pace. Mr Bellingham, the seducer, is a nuanced character and, although I never really warmed to Ruth, there were lots of other satisfying characters. I particularly enjoyed the Ruth/Jemima/Mr Farquhar love triangle. A satisfyingly weepy ending. ( )
  pgchuis | Jul 29, 2014 |
I read this years ago and it really stuck with me. I must get around to reading it again to refresh my memory of the minutiae of the story. I read it as part of a course of study of victorian writers (might even have been victorian female writers) and personally far preferred it to all the Jane Austen we were also having to read. ( )
  Peace2 | Jan 19, 2014 |
This novel invites comparisons to "The Scarlet Letter," in that it explores many of the same themes of redemption and deception. But, it is much more realistic than Hawthorne's horrid novel (which I have reviled here), and ends by being a kind of feminist pro-life riff.

Read more at: http://thegrimreader.blogspot.com/2012/11/i-recount-my-recent-gaskell-jag.html ( )
  nohrt4me2 | Nov 25, 2012 |
I was unfamiliar with Elizabeth Gaskell’s work until I saw the BBC production of Wives and Daughters. This story I enjoyed so much that I sought out further of Gaskell’s works, beginning with Ruth.

Ruth has all the elements of a perfect Victorian storm: the young eponymous heroine is orphaned, turned out by her guardian, seduced and impregnated by a wretch with enough wealth to be considered a gentleman, and then deserted by same. She is subsequently taken in as a “widow” by the kindly Bensons; alas, it is a deceit they are not able to sustain indefinitely. The discovery that Ruth is a “depraved” woman naturally has far-reaching implications for her “bastard” son. Indeed, she is reminded that the implications are eternal: “Those wild autumnal storms had torn aside the quiet flowers and herbage that had gathered over the wreck of her early life and shown her that all deeds, however hidden and long passed by, have their eternal consequences.” (258)

This Penguin Classics edition notes, and I agree, “In writing Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell daringly confronted prevailing views about sin and illegitimacy with her compassionate and honest portrait of a ‘fallen woman.’ (back cover) Among the things I did not like about Ruth: I had difficulty buying into the absoluteness of Ruth’s ignorance and naiveté, youth and lack of parental guidance aside. And a substantial portion of the text was slow for me; the novel took me longer than usual to see my way through.

Truthfully, I wanted to enjoy this read more than I did. Still, I recommend it if you are able to look past these minor faults. ( )
  lit_chick | Mar 31, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Gaskellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dolin, TimEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Easson, AngusEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shelston, AlanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Drop, drop, slow tears!
And bathe those beauteous feet,
Which brought from heaven
The news and Prince of peace.
Cease not, wet eyes,
For mercy to entreat:
To cry for vengeance
Sin doth never cease.
In your deep floods
Drown all my faults and fears
Nor let His eye
See sin, but through my tears.
Phineas Fletcher
Dedication
First words
There is an assize-town in one of the eastern counties which was much distinguished by the Tudor sovereigns, and, in consequence of their favour and protection, attained a degree of importance that surprises the modern traveller.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140434305, Paperback)

Ruth Hilton is an orphaned young seamstress who catches the eye of a gentleman, Henry Bellingham, who is captivated by her simplicity and beauty. When she loses her job and home, he offers her comfort and shelter, only to cruelly desert her soon after. Nearly dead with grief and shame, Ruth is offered the chance of a new life among people who give her love and respect, even though they are at first unaware of her secret - an illegitimate child. When Henry enters her life again, however, Ruth must make the impossible choice between social acceptance and personal pride.

In writing Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell daringly confronted prevailing views about sin and illegitimacy with her compassionate and honest portrait of a 'fallen woman'.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:55 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

"Ruth Hilton is an orphaned young seamstress who catches the eye of a gentleman, Henry Bellingham, who is captivated by her simplicity and beauty. When she loses her job and home, he offers her comfort and shelter, only to cruelly desert her soon after. Nearly dead with grief and shame, Ruth is offered the chance of a new life among people who give her love and respect, even though they are at first unaware of her secret - an illegitimate child. When Henry enters her life again, however, Ruth must make the impossible choice between social acceptance and personal pride"--Goodreads.com.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.75)
0.5
1 1
1.5 2
2 7
2.5 4
3 19
3.5 15
4 43
4.5 10
5 19

Audible.com

2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,366,314 books! | Top bar: Always visible