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North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
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North and South (original 1855; edition 1970)

by Elizabeth Gaskell, Dorothy Collin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,0021171,279 (4.13)3 / 495
Member:snash
Title:North and South
Authors:Elizabeth Gaskell
Other authors:Dorothy Collin
Info:Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1970.
Collections:Sharon's Collection, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Literature, Kindle

Work details

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (1855)

  1. 161
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Shuffy2)
    Shuffy2: Mr. Darcy and Mr. Thornton are both of the same cloth, a love story you can really sink into!
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    Shuffy2: If you like 'sequels', I recommend this one!
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Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
I'm fangirling over here. I seriously found a book to put in my top five, all-time favorites. I read my first Gaskell book this year, Wives and Daughters, and raved about it. But, this one is even better.

Gaskell's style is a cross between Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. This book has the long sentence structure and meandering style of Dickens with his focus on the poor and working classes, combined with an Austen-style love story.

Gaskell's book holds a serious discussion of labor unions and factory owners, with a plea to understand the opposing viewpoints. In the story Margaret Hale and her family move to the North of England and encounter cross-cultural situations. The industrialization of the North and personality of the people contrast the agricultural, genteel South.

Then throw in a good dose of a Mr. Darcy-type main character and you've got the makings of a great book. If it is hard to get into, give the book seventy pages at least. ( )
1 vote heidip | Jun 23, 2014 |
Gaskell constructs an extremely detailed picture of life in the fictional town of Milton, an industrial city in the north, and how a southern girl (and daughter of a non-conformist) deals with the upheavals of the industrial revolution while falling in love with a northern nouveau-riche mill owner. Unlike [b:Mary Barton|54620|Mary Barton|Elizabeth Gaskell|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1298427440s/54620.jpg|2887963], Gaskell paints a balanced picture of employer-employee relations by focusing more on the thinking and perspective of the owners.
If you have read [b:Shirley|31168|Shirley|Charlotte Brontë|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1299948983s/31168.jpg|2685457] by Charlotte Brontë, then this book is of a very similar manner. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
By all accounts Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South" should have been right up my alley. I adore Victorian-era fiction, especially if it features young heroines wrestling with dire circumstances and tangled love stories. This book has all of that, but frankly, I found it rather dull.

Gaskell's heroine, Margaret Hale, goes from London society to an industrial town named Milton as her father leaves the priesthood and takes up teaching instead. The book focuses a lot on the industrial revolution-- the needs of the working class versus the needs of the factory owners as a company goes on strike.

I found saintly Margaret somewhat annoying -- her reactions to events often range too odd and contrived for me and the love story really never came together for me. Overall, I found this novel pretty disappointing. ( )
  amerynth | May 26, 2014 |
I first fell in love with North and South by watching the mini-series. The detail in the culture, social issues, and class differences fascinated me while the romance blossomed. I love that the female interest was willing to stand up for what she believed in but also change . A great read for Jane Austen lovers as well. ( )
  warangel820 | Apr 22, 2014 |
I've been having conversations with my sister over the various articles being written on McDonald's unethical procedures of late. It's not the first time the topic has come up, but it is the first time since she was hired at said company's behest to earn her pocket money. I'll talk about employees cleaning their uniforms off the clock, she'll point out the ease of our home bound washing machine, I'll comment on the level of her paycheck, she'll speak of the guarantee of college, I'll bring up nightmares of corporation instigated welfare, she'll counter with the fact that the staff is 'nice'. A few bouts of this narrows it down to some variation of the phrase of "Yeah, it's bad, but it's not affecting me." And such.

North and South touches upon this issue to a wonderful extent, workers and Unions and heads of manufacturing galore with a particular discussion between Margaret and Mr. Thornton, the former for social justice while the latter operated through an ableist paradigm, earning four stars right off the bat. If you were wondering about the tone of that previous sentence, yes, it means that I had issues that required a great deal of balancing before I settled on the stars. When Gaskell's good, she's very very good, but the fact that this work was originally a serial shows in the blocks of authorial insight that don't quite meld perfectly together. Also, N&S was published in 1850's Britain, and it shows to a disappointingly seedy extent.

What ties the aforementioned blocks together is main character Margaret Hale, and I am pleased to say that I was pleased with her. Barring all the enraptured talk about her eyes and hair and stoicism, this book is known as a romance, and when I read romances, what I'm interested in is the well-handled rejection scene that both displays the gal's brains and gives the guy his comeuppance if he's being a moaning twit about her lack of acceptance. Beyond that, her character was superbly crafted enough for me to forgive the cut-outish aspects of the others. I was particularly impressed with her after the death of her mother, when her father and brother were rendered utterly helpless, or "feminine", leaving her to handle all the practical necessities in the midst of her own far more subdued mourning. The gender stereotypes were switched, and none of the characters suffered any loss of inherent structure for it. I love things like that.

Now, the issues. The plot was going along well enough up until the worker's strike, but every subsequent dramatic event in the form of the death afterwards was a seeming blow to the solar plexus of cohesive drive. I understand that Margaret wasn't going to be as active or engaging due to concurrent stretches of mourning as in the beginning, but it got to the point that I have to wonder if Gaskell was conscientiously chopping off plot tendrils in the interest of time and lack of other reasonable conclusions. I'm not one for story, but when a particular device , aka death, is repeated four times and hastier in its wrapping every repetition and all in all has nothing remarkably memorable to show for it, it gets stale.

However. The plot I can forgive. The hate for the Irish I can't, what with the insinuations of "bloodline corruption" and weak-willed nonsense and lines such as"If the world stood still, it would retrograde and become corrupt, if that is not Irish.That's Margaret talking, and it's Margaret and her beloved father putting forth all of the previous without a hint of authorial condemnation that accompanies their servant's distrust of poor folk and other flavors of small character bigotry. Regarding the book, I truly "really liked it" as displayed in the hovering block, but lines such as the one above have ruined books for me, especially when so obviously of the author's own personal prejudice.

On the one hand, real women and workers combining efforts with the company owners and all that jazz. On the other, discombobulation and bigotry. I'll let you be the judge. ( )
1 vote Korrick | Mar 30, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Gaskellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Easson, AngusEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingham, PatriciaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingham, PatriciaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jong, Akkie deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kwiatkowska, KatarzynaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leyrer, GindaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pérez, ÁngelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shelston, AlanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shuttleworth, SallyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sorbier, Françoise DuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sorbier, Françoise DuIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vonghizas, ConstantinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Edith!" said Margaret, gently, "Edith!"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140434240, Paperback)

"How am I to dress up in my finery, and go off and away to smart parties, after the sorrow I have seen today?"

When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fused individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale created one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.

In her introduction Patricia Ingham examines geographical, economic and class differences, and male and female roles in North and South. This edition also includes a list for further reading, notes and a glossary.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:39 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

From her home ground, her father's comfortably middle-class living in Hampshire and her aunt's establishment in Harley Street, Margaret is exiled to the ugly northern industrial town of Milton. Surprisingly, her social consciousness awakens. It is intensified by a relationship with the local mill-owner, Thornton, that combines passionate attraction with fierce opposition. The novel explores the exploitation of the working class, linking the plight of workers with that of women and probing the myth and reality of the 'north-south divide'.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140434240, 0141028122, 0141198923

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