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Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Cranford (1851)

by Elizabeth Gaskell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Cranford Chronicles (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,583802,314 (3.81)438
  1. 81
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: Both novels offer a similar sort of wry look at the foibles of the English classes in the 18th / 19th centuries. Both are so carefully observed and deliciously written that they remain classics.
  2. 31
    The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories by Sarah Orne Jewett (InfoQuest)
    InfoQuest: In both Gaskell and Jewett's novels, a young woman (the first-person narrator) comes to visit a rural community in a series of related vignettes. Jewett's is the more poetic, and Gaskell's is the more humorous, but both are lovely little books which center on the experiences and relationships of women in the 19th century.… (more)
  3. 20
    Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson (Staramber)
    Staramber: In Over To Candleford Laura reads Cranford to her Uncle. Although separated by time they both contain everyday descriptions of provincial British life by – largely – passive narrators.
  4. 10
    Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: In many ways a similar, acutely observed portrait of village life, with an especially keen eye on the upper and middle classes.
  5. 10
    The Folded Earth: A Novel by Anuradha Roy (noveltea)
    noveltea: Two endearing small towns, one British (with links to India), one Indian (with links to Britain).
  6. 00
    Mrs. Ames by E. F. Benson (bell7)
    bell7: This story is similarly concerned with events in a small English town, though the characters' class and life situations are much different.
  7. 00
    Jane And Prudence by Barbara Pym (chrisharpe)
  8. 00
    Purely for pleasure by Margaret Lane (yolana)

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» See also 438 mentions

English (76)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (80)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
This was a fair read and easy for the start of the new year. Now I know, though, why I didn't give Elizabeth Gaskell much of a toss at university. It speaks to the importance of hierarchy in those days, and I daresay it still occurred in small towns for decades to come. Many writers spoke of these same things in those days. Some wrote better. I actually grew up in a small town in the U.S. Midwest with these same ideals, though, and in what was considered the "upper crust" in society. I think, in some ways, it just never changes. ( )
  mreed61 | Aug 10, 2014 |
While less a novel and more a collection of stories, still a very enjoyable read. I can see why it was turned into a more developed plot line for the tv adaption and I'm not sure I would have worked out all the characters without the TV but it was worth reading. I think Wives and Daughters might be a more novelistic choice next.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
Gaskell tried but unfortunately could not live up to the standards of Jane Austen, it picked up somewhat towards the end but still as a whole I found this book to be quite boring. ( )
  crashmyparty | May 14, 2014 |
Absolutely delightful! There's no sweeping plot, but little happenings and the comings and goings of the little village ladies were so humorously and lovingly depicted, that I couldn't put the book down. The characters are so lovable, despite of (or thanks to?) their foibles because at the bottom, they care about each other. Funny that a book about elderly spinsters and widows would be so entertaining and engaging! I'm amazed that I'd never heard of Elizabeth Gaskell a long time ago. ( )
1 vote emanate28 | Apr 16, 2014 |
2009, Blackstone Audiobooks, Read by Nadia May

The charming Victorian town of Cranford is populated by a host of venerable female lovelies. Among them: Mary Smith, the narrator, who stays frequently with Miss Matty Jenkyns, the amiable and good-natured, if rather timid, old spinster – and my favourite character; Miss Deborah Jenkyns, Miss Matty’s imperious older sister, who dies early on in the novel; Miss Pole, allegedly the most enlightened (though I beg to differ) of the Cranford ladies; Mrs Jamieson, a mostly lethargic widow with aristocratic connections and the owner of the beloved dog, Carlo. Male characters, few but nonetheless entertaining, include the poor Captain Brown, who moves to Cranford with his two daughters; a creepy butler; a surgeon; and a travelling magician.

And what the ladies do get up to over tea! Miss Deoborah and Captain Brown engage in a positively pretentious literary disagreement over the merits of Dickens and Dr Johnson. Miss Deborah, who considers “it vulgar, and below the dignity of literature to publish in numbers” (Ch 1), is appalled at the Captain’s regard for the contemporary The Pickwick Papers. And when the ladies have themselves convinced that Cranford’s homes are being “attacked” by robbers, they work themselves up to confessions of greatest fear: ghosts; criminals; and Miss Matty’s hilarious account of the proverbial monster-under-the-bed. But at its heart, Cranford is most importantly a novel about love and friendship. When Miss Matty’s livelihood is erased by the bad investments of her late father, her friends, and indeed all Cranford, rally to ensure she will be able to remain in her home. A plan is mutually agreed upon where she will sell tea from her parlour (very discreetly, of course, lest anyone should think that Miss Matilda Jenkyns stoop to engaging in the baseness of trade). Now, if only Miss Matty would refrain from attempting to promote her own failure:

“I left Miss Matty with a good heart. Her sales of tea during the first two days had surpassed my most sanguine expectations. The whole country round seemed to be all out of tea at once. The only alteration I could have desired in Miss Matty’s way of doing business was, that she should not have so plaintively entreated some of her customers not to buy green tea – running it down as a slow poison, sure to destroy the nerves, and produce all manner of evil. Their pertinacity in taking it, in spite of all her warnings, distressed her so much that I really thought she would relinquish the sale of it, and so lose half her custom; and I was driven to my wits’ end for instances of longevity entirely attributable to a persevering use of green tea.” (Ch 15)

While North and South remains my absolute favourite of Gaskell’s work, I thoroughly enjoyed Cranford. It is positively charming. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote lit_chick | Feb 23, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (59 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Gaskellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Du Maurier, GeorgeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingham, PatriciaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scales, PrunellaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, HughIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons; all the holders of houses, above a certain rent, are women.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141439882, Paperback)

A gently comic picture of life in an English country town in the mid-nineteenth century, Cranford describes the small adventures of Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two middle-aged spinster sisters striving to live with dignity in reduced circumstances. Rich with humor and filled with vividly memorable characters—including the dignified Lady Glenmire and the duplicitous showman Signor Brunoni—Cranford is a portrait of kindness, compassion, and hope.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:27 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A portrait of life in a quiet English country town in the mid-nineteenth century follows the adventures of Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two middle-aged spinster sisters living in reduced circumstances.

» see all 21 descriptions

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

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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439882, 014103937X, 0141199423

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