The Cranford Chronicles (Vintage Classics)

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9780099518457: The Cranford Chronicles (Vintage Classics)
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Three of Elizabeth Gaskell’s best-loved novels Cranford, Mr Harrison's Confessions, and My Lady Ludlow are combined in this witty and poignant look at the market town of Cranford. The railway is pushing its way relentlessly towards the village from Manchester, bringing fears of migrant workers and the breakdown of law and order. The arrival of handsome young Doctor Harrison causes yet further agitation, not just because of his revolutionary methods, but also because of his effect on the hearts of the village’s ladies. Meanwhile Miss Matty Jenkyns nurses her own heart following her forced abandonment of the man she loved since she was a young girl.

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Originally published as a magazine serial and then printed in novel form in 1853, Cranford is a playful tour of a peculiar country town. From the stately, stern Miss Jenkyns to the timid Miss Betsy Barker and her flannel-wearing cow, the inhabitants are all acquainted, and all poised to overhear scandal.

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Elizabeth Gaskell’s episodic second novel, sometimes dismissed as nostalgically “charming,” is now considered by many critics to be her most sophisticated work. The country town of Cranford is home to a group of women, affectionately called “Amazons” by the narrator, whose seemingly uneventful lives are full of conflicts, failures, and unexpected connections. A rich commentary on Victorian culture by one of its most astute observers, Cranford owes its enduring popularity to the complex pleasures it offers the reader.

This Broadview Edition provides an assortment of historical materials to put the novel in context, including Gaskell’s letters from the period of the novel’s writing, excerpts from texts read by the characters, illustrations from the novel and from contemporary periodicals, and other Victorian writings on industrialization, etiquette, and domestic life.

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