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The Manchester Marriage and Other Stories by…

The Manchester Marriage and Other Stories

by Elizabeth Gaskell

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The title story in this stimulating collection is a tragic tale of mean streets, with two heroes and a typical Gaskell heroine in the form of Norah, a Lancashire servant-girl. The scene shifts to a gloomy valley in N Wales for 'The Doom of the Griffiths' where an ancient curse leads to crime and despair. Susan Dixon, the Westmoreland 'stateswoman', is also called upon to struggle against her fate and the old conflict between duty and affection in 'Half a Lifetime Ago'. 'The Poor Clare' takes us from the remote NE corner of Lancashire to an Antwerp convent. Its themes is built around the mysterious sin, and its eventual expiation of an unhappy mother, Bridget Fitzgerald. There follows another adventure of the Fells, where a snow storm plays a significant part. Finally 'Mr Harrison's Confessions' is a delightful little story full of comedy and occasionally pure farce.
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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell nee Stevenson (1810-1865), often referred to simply as Mrs. Gaskell, was an English novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era. She is perhaps best known for her biography of Charlotte Bronte. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of society, including the very poor, and as such are of interest to social historians as well as lovers of literature. She married William Gaskell, the minister at Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester. They settled in Manchester, where the industrial surroundings would offer inspiration for her novels. Her first novel, Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life, was published anonymously in 1848. The best known of her remaining novels are Cranford (1853), North and South (1855), and Wives and Daughters (1866). She became popular for her writing, especially her ghost story writing, aided by her friend Charles Dickens, who published her work in his magazine Household Words. Her other works include The Grey Woman (1865), Lois the Witch and The Old Nurses Story and Other Tales.… (more)

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