Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


Cranford (1851)

by Elizabeth Gaskell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,4541282,480 (3.79)1 / 688
In the village of Cranford, decorum is maintained at all times. Despite their poverty, the ladies are never vulgar about money (or their lack of it), and always follow the rules of propriety. But this discretion and gentility does not keep away tragedy; and when the worst happens, the Amazons of Cranford show the true strength of their honest affections. A masterpiece of social comedy, Cranford is as moving as it is funny, and as sharp as it is tender.… (more)
  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
    Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym (chrisharpe)
  7. 00
    Purely for Pleasure by Margaret Lane (yolana)
  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
    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.
  10. 00
    Gentleman Jack (season 1) [DVD] by Sally Wainwright (potenza)
    potenza: Any fan of Gaskell might appreciate this real-life feminist contemporary.
My TBR (28)
1850s (7)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

» See also 688 mentions

English (122)  Catalan (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (128)
Showing 1-5 of 122 (next | show all)
So delightfully humourous. I really, really enjoyed this story. The book includes, at the end, a brief biography of Mrs. Gaskell, a description of its setting and a set of questions for the use of English Teachers ( )
  gmillar | Oct 18, 2023 |
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 | Oct 14, 2023 |
A fun, easy read, though if I had to choose, I'd pick an Austen any day. ( )
  lschiff | Sep 24, 2023 |
A Book Based On Or Turned Into A TV Show

The introduction to my copy of Cranford says that Elizabeth Gaskell "did not intend [the book] as a novel—she had hoped to create a series of sketches to help Americans understand English country life." The first two chapters certainly read that way. But after brief introductions to "Our Society" and "The Captain, Gaskell launches into a full-blown narrative about Matilda Jenkyns—Matty to her friends— a middle-aged old maid living in the small town of Cranford.

Told by Matty's good friend and intermittent housemate, Mary Small, Cranford relates the interactions of Matty and her mostly spinster friends, Miss Pole, Mrs. Fitz-Adams, Mrs. Forrester and Mrs. Jamieson. These ladies consider themselves the elite of Cranford society, yet spend the better part of the novel showing their small-town provincialism. Spatting over a visiting Lady becoming engaged to the lowly town surgeon (the second straight book I've read from this era where doctors were held in low esteem). Frightening themselves and each other with rumors of marauding ruffians (who may be nothing more than passing strangers). Enjoying the magic act of a visiting Turkish conjuror (but only after they see the Rector in the audience, obviously conveying the church's approval of the evening's entertainment).

Cranford is a witty exploration of the way virtuous women can simultaneously be petty and pretentious, wrapped inside a satisfying tale of heartbreak, familial and financial loss, and—ultimately—the redemptive power of simple decency. ( )
  skavlanj | Aug 24, 2023 |
“Cranford ladies sing this song, Doo-dah! doo-dah!
You kept me laughing all along, Oh, de-doo-dah day!“
These spinster Victoria ladies are not easily forgotten, especially Miss Matty. Their hilarious escapades, their idiosyncrasies, their love and friendship for one another makes this novel worth the read.
“I'll spend my money on Miss Matty's tea, Oh, de doo-dah day!“💙 ( )
  crabbyabbe | May 15, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 122 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


In the village of Cranford, decorum is maintained at all times. Despite their poverty, the ladies are never vulgar about money (or their lack of it), and always follow the rules of propriety. But this discretion and gentility does not keep away tragedy; and when the worst happens, the Amazons of Cranford show the true strength of their honest affections. A masterpiece of social comedy, Cranford is as moving as it is funny, and as sharp as it is tender.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions


Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.79)
0.5 3
1 8
1.5 2
2 46
2.5 7
3 188
3.5 63
4 360
4.5 34
5 163

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

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.

» Publisher information page


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 197,494,851 books! | Top bar: Always visible