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Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
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Mary Barton (original 1848; edition 2009)

by Elizabeth Gaskell

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1,813473,859 (3.68)1 / 170
Member:Luli81
Title:Mary Barton
Authors:Elizabeth Gaskell
Info:Digireads.com (2009), Paperback, 260 pages
Collections:Read in 2012, Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (1848)

  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
    How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn (charlie68)
    charlie68: Both novels portray clashes between management and workers and there sometimes tragic consequences.
  3. 00
    Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (kara.shamy)
  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.
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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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 |
I was surprised to enjoy this book so much! Gaskell wrote a biography of Charlotte Bronte that has since been discredited (I have not read it yet), so I approached Mary Barton with some trepidation. I chose to read it because i am researching my next novel, which will be set in a similar time frame and locale.

Despite the age of the book, it was easy to read and get into the story. It's a powerful social commentary for the times, a story of haves and have nots that is relevant today...and yet which handles both sides fairly. Mary Barton is a wonderful heroine who must dig deeply to find the best in herself. There's plenty of anguish in this story, but it carries hopefulness and determination as well. ( )
  NadineFeldman | Mar 21, 2016 |
Mary Barton Elizabeth Gaskell
★★★

Set in a mill town in Manchester in the 1800's this is the story of Mary Barton the daughter of a union man whose mother died giving birth to a son who also died.

Gaskell highlights the differences between workers and masters how for one going without means no getting exactly what they want while for the other it means illness, starvation and death. How instead of working together the two groups antagonise each other to a dramatic climax.

Mary herself is an acknowledged beauty with an admirer from each social sphere, her ill advised flirtation with a mill owners son and later miscommunication inspired by friends trying to help almost leads to tragedy.

A moving insight into poverty in the 1800's and what makes it something more is the way Gaskell does not shy away from showing the unions and their actions in as negative a light as the mill owners.
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Gaskellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Uglow, JennyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, EdgarEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)
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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.
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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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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Audible.com

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

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014043464X, 0141039388, 0141199725

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