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Mary Barton (1848)

by Elizabeth Gaskell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,334594,918 (3.65)1 / 221
This is Elizabeth Gaskell's first novel, a widely acclaimed work based on the actual murder, in 1831, of a progressive mill owner. It follows Mary Barton, daughter of a man implicated in the murder, through her adolescence, when she suffers the advances of the mill owner, and later through love and marriage. Set in Manchester, between 1837-42, it paints a powerful and moving picture of working-class life in Victorian England.… (more)
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» See also 221 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Life for the Victorian poor and a murder to solve. ( )
  dimajazz | May 7, 2021 |
Really enjoyed the first half of the novel, found the second half a slog. I wish Gaskell had been less quick to forgive the 'masters'! ( )
  shemthepenman | Apr 24, 2021 |
I really enjoyed listening to this book. It detailed the heart-wrenching plight the poor endured in Victorian England. It was written around the time Dickens was writing his earlier novels. It went into the desparate measures people can resort to out of deprivation and desparation, from prostitution to murder. So sad that many of our ancestors endured (and some people still do) such horrid living conditions in many parts of the world throughout history. Such needless suffering that all could have (and still could be) prevented. ( )
  Stacy_Krout | Apr 1, 2021 |
A far finer-grained report of the ways, means and place of 19th century industrial England than Dickens, I think, so much so that I'm slow to consider reading Dickens again for a long time. Not like I ever did. Without his condescension and bubbly optimism there is space in Gaskell's mostly lean prose for all the good stuff: children and old people dying one after the other, a legitimate if truncated plot about the labor struggle, and the daily habits of starvation. In the labor piece we witness the absurd pretense at powerlessness on the part of the bosses to prevent starvation, a bold, callous and moralistic lie that we all need to see nenuded in the Trump age.
Also present are a few small turns to the audience for a polemic message as we love so much from Harriet Beecher Stowe, and on the other hand some appeals to the religious view that now seems backward but rings true and honest in Gaskell's voice and in her time. At the end she chickens out and makes things come out easy, with a moralistic upbeat conclusion, but that's to be expected from the era. An excellent book that must not be forgotten! ( )
  EugenioNegro | Mar 17, 2021 |
A bit to dense and slow for me.
Despite that probably something that I'll reread someday and would advice others to read. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaskell, Elizabethprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Daly, MacdonaldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foster, ShirleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ollerenshaw, MaggieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strimban, JackCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strimban, RobertCover designersecondary 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)
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!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

This is Elizabeth Gaskell's first novel, a widely acclaimed work based on the actual murder, in 1831, of a progressive mill owner. It follows Mary Barton, daughter of a man implicated in the murder, through her adolescence, when she suffers the advances of the mill owner, and later through love and marriage. Set in Manchester, between 1837-42, it paints a powerful and moving picture of working-class life in Victorian England.

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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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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014043464X, 0141039388, 0141199725

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