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Cranford (1851)

by Elizabeth Gaskell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,1251222,423 (3.79)671
A sensitive and moving portrait of life and manners in an English country village during the 1830s, "Cranford" recounts the events and activities in the lives of a group of spinsters and widows who struggle in genteel poverty to maintain their standards of propriety, decency, and kindness.
  1. 101
    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. 30
    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.
  3. 41
    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)
  4. 20
    The Folded Earth by Anuradha Roy (noveltea)
    noveltea: Two endearing small towns, one British (with links to India), one Indian (with links to Britain).
  5. 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.
  6. 00
    The Summer without Men by Siri Hustvedt (thorold)
    thorold: Two novels 160 years apart that explore the roles of women by creating a view of the world in which men are peripheral or irrelevant.
  7. 00
    Gentleman Jack: The Complete First Season [DVD] by Sally Wainwright (potenza)
    potenza: Any fan of Gaskell might appreciate this real-life feminist contemporary.
  8. 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.
  9. 00
    Purely for Pleasure by Margaret Lane (yolana)
  10. 00
    Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym (chrisharpe)
1850s (7)
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» See also 671 mentions

English (115)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (121)
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
3.5 stars, rounded up.

Want to take a trip to a small English town in the mid 1800s, meet the people and see what everyday life was like for the female population? Open Cranford and travel in time. It is a sweet and simple book, comprised of what seems more like vignettes than an actual plot line. Nothing exciting happens, life just unfolds, and yet you feel attached to these women, admiring the grace with which they handle their sometimes difficult world, the way they navigate a system that pigeonholes them and limits them.

Miss Matty Jenkyns is such a sweet and gentle person. She always thinks of others before self and tries to please everyone, sometimes to her own detriment. She exhibits very little self-pity, and when she caves to even the simplest bit of a well-deserved indulgence, she succumbs to guilt and remorse immediately. Her life has been about self-sacrifice and a bit of bullying by her older sister, but she is so non-judgmental and well-loved by others, that you feel her sacrifice has not been unrewarded. Matty is not a character I will easily forget.

I do not think this is one of Gaskell’s best works. North and South has more substance; Mary Barton is much stronger. Still, Cranford is heart-warming and touching in many ways and I am glad to have read it. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
This was written as a serial and while it had various story arcs, there wasn't really a coherent sense of story. Thus, I was overall a bit bored. I wanted it to go somewhere. I think that if you read it using something like Daily Lit, so you got it in closer to the form it was meant to be read, you'd have a better experience. ( )
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
A classic book by Gaskill of a small town - almost a village - in rural England, dominated by women of a certain age. Whilst not rich, they are not necessarily poor and they have developed their own ways of presenting themselves to the local community.

The book is narrated by Mary Smith, not a native of Cranford, who makes occasional visits to Miss Mattie (and her older sister Miss Deborah, whilst she is alive), a spinster in her 50s. There is no plot, per se, rather each chapter describing an occurrence in the village and the resident's reaction to it, which can often be wildly out of proportion to what actually happened.

This is a light and amusing book, which disappointed me slightly when I realised I'd been daft enough to think this was a (Lark Rise to) Candleford book (whoops!), even though I could see a similarity in some of the characters. Looking at some other reviews of this book, it seems I am not mistaken for confusing the two (Cranford/Candleford; both set in the middle of the 19th Century; etc).

( )
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
This is a lovely collection of quaint short stories all set in a fictional country town made up of predominantly older single women. ( )
  ChelseaVK | Dec 10, 2021 |
This is a charming book about life in a 19th-century English village. It's more of a collection of short stories with common characters and some continuing plotlines than it is a novel. For those who are reading from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list, this is a relatively quick and easy read compared to most others on the list. ( )
  mathgirl40 | Nov 17, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (57 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Gaskellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Birch, DinahIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Du Maurier, GeorgeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingham, PatriciaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ritchie, Anne ThackerayPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scales, PrunellaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scales, PrunellaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swinnerton, FrankEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, HughIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watson, Elizabeth PorgesEditorsecondary 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.
'I cannot tell you what the whole quiet picture has for me.' (Introduction)
Woodley stood among fields; and there was an old-fashioned garden where roses and currant-bushes touched each other, and where the feathery asparagus formed a pretty background to the pinks and gilly-flowers; there was no drive up to the door. We got out at a little gate, and walked up a straight box-edged path.
Miss Jenkyns wore a cravat, and a little bonnet like a jockey-cap, and altogether had the appearance of a strong-minded woman; although she would have despised the modern idea of women being equal to men. Equal, indeed! she knew they were superior.
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A sensitive and moving portrait of life and manners in an English country village during the 1830s, "Cranford" recounts the events and activities in the lives of a group of spinsters and widows who struggle in genteel poverty to maintain their standards of propriety, decency, and kindness.

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Average: (3.79)
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1 8
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2 43
2.5 7
3 182
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4 345
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439882, 014103937X, 0141199423

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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