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Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
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Mary Barton (1848)

by Elizabeth Gaskell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,116484,718 (3.67)1 / 196
  1. 20
    Emma by Jane Austen (kara.shamy)
    kara.shamy: In some ways the heroines in these two novels are alike, but they are very different in other respects, and more strikingly, their respective journeys to the altar/married life go in diametrically opposite ways, in a sense! Both are true classics in my estimation; reading these two novels exposes the reader to two of the greatest English-language novelists of all time in the height of their respective powers. While all readers and critics do not and will not share this superlative view, few would dispute these are two early female masters of the form and are well worth a read on that humbler basis ;) Enjoy!… (more)
  2. 00
    Nice Work by David Lodge (KayCliff)
  3. 00
    How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn (charlie68)
    charlie68: Both novels portray clashes between management and workers and there sometimes tragic consequences.
  4. 00
    A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens (charlie68)
    charlie68: The character's of John Barton and Ebenezer Scrooge compliment each other.
  5. 00
    Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (kara.shamy)
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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Another book that I finally read after so many years on my bookshelf. A few times I picked it up but stopped. Glad to have finally read it. This book reminded me why Gaskell is one of my favourite authors (although I still like North and South, and Wives and Daughters best). Once you get through the idyllic few pages, the pace is quick and you want to read on to find out what happens. Mary is brave as she sets about saving Jem and literally goes into unfamiliar waters to pursue Will. Jem is brave and steadfast; he is not scared at going to see Mr. Carson at the latter's request. However, the most interesting character has to be Jem's mother - she is garrulous and tends to grumble a lot but holds strong at important times. Jane Wilson boldly spoke at Jem's trial and never begrudged Mary for it was her father who is the murderer, and Jem nearly became the fall guy. But I couldn't give this book 5 stars. I felt something was missing in Mary's love for Jem. It is clear to readers that Mary loves Jem though she herself wasn't aware. But Gaskell didn't sufficiently explain why Mary loves him (or perhaps love needs no explanation). The ending is also too fairy-tale. Though Mr. Carson was touched by God, it is still quite inconceivable that he could forgive John Barton. ( )
  siok | Dec 29, 2018 |
Looking at the relationship between the workers and owners in Manchester. Virtuous characters come good following a murder. ( )
  brakketh | Mar 15, 2017 |
This is Elizabeth Gaskell's first published novel. It's an interesting story of highlighting the lives & troubles of factory workers in Manchester in the 1800s. It does paint a detailed picture of life during that time. On the downside the story is a bit overlong, with a little too much emphasis on domestic issues. It could have done with a bit of editing, but having said that, I did find that the story compelling & if you enjoy melodrama, you should enjoy this novel. A solid 3.5 stars. ( )
  Icewineanne | Aug 4, 2016 |
Despite the well-deserved reputation of accurately and realistically depicting the social injustices that come from the division between the rich and the poor in 19th century manufacturing towns, you get the feeling that the author felt the need to soften such a scathing indictment with a more palatable, predictable plot of a romance, and this is where things fall apart in this novel and North and South. There were the usual domino-deaths which somehow clear the way for the romance which superseded the important (and intended) message of social justice, where redemption and forgiveness were unbelievably doled out indiscriminately and almost carelessly. Nevertheless, there were sections which typify the kind of female protagonist I expected from the author of Wives and Daughters and I include my favourite excerpt:

an over-grown lad came past her, and snatched a kiss, exclaiming, 'For old acquaintance' sake, Mary.' 'Take that for old acquaintance' sake, then,' said the girl... as she slapped his face

Recommended: an old-timey guilty pleasure, to be enjoyed like a soap-opera where you yell at the TV screen and predict the predictable plot and cackle like a mad person at the convenient, inconsequential deaths. ( )
  kitzyl | Jul 31, 2016 |
entre hugo et Zola, lutte des classes en 1840a manchester. ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaskell, Elizabethprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Daly, MacdonaldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ollerenshaw, MaggieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Uglow, JennyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, EdgarEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
There are some fields near Manchester, well known to the inhabitants as 'Green Heys Fields,' through which runs a public footpath to a little village about two miles distant.
Mary Barton owes its inception to very personal events, hinted at in the first sentence of the Preface ('circumstances that need not be more fully alluded to'). (Introduction)
Three years ago I became anxious (from circumstances that need not be more fully alluded to) to employ myself in writing a work of fiction. (Preface)
Quotations
Oh Mary! many a hasty word comes sorely back on the heart, when one thinks one shall never see the person whom one has grieved again!
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
The story is set in the English city of Manchester during the 1830s and 1840s and deals heavily with the difficulties faced by the Victorian lower class.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014043464X, Paperback)

‘O Jem, her father won’t listen to me, and it’s you must save Mary! You’re like a brother to her’

Mary Barton, the daughter of disillusioned trade unionist, rejects her working-class lover Jem Wilson in the hope of marrying Henry Carson, the mill owner’s son, and making a better life for herself and her father. But when Henry is shot down in the street and Jem becomes the main suspect, Mary finds herself painfully torn between the two men. Through Mary’s dilemma, and the moving portrayal of her father, the embittered and courageous activist John Barton, Mary Barton (1848) powerfully dramatizes the class divides of the ‘hungry forties’ as personal tragedy. In its social and political setting, it looks towards Elizabeth Gaskell’s great novels of the industrial revolution, in particular North and South.

In his introduction Maconald Daly discusses Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel as a pioneering book that made public the great division between rich and poor – a theme that inspired much of her finest work.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:38 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Mary Barton, the daughter of disillusioned trade unionist, rejects her working-class lover Jem Wilson in the hope of marrying Henry Carson, the mill owner's son, and making a better life for herself and her father. But when Henry is shot down in the street and Jem becomes the main suspect, Mary finds herself painfully torn between the two men. Through Mary's dilemma, and the moving portrayal of her father, the embittered and courageous activist John Barton, Mary Barton (1848) powerfully dramatizes the class divides of the 'hungry forties' as personal tragedy. In its social and political setting, it looks towards Elizabeth Gaskell's great novels of the industrial revolution, in particular North and South.… (more)

» see all 16 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014043464X, 0141039388, 0141199725

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