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North and South tells the story of Margaret Hale, a southerner newly settled in the northern industrial town of Milton, whose ready sympathy with the discontented millworkers sits uneasily with her growing attraction to the charismatic mill owner, John Thornton. The novel poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience, ranging from religious crises of conscience to the ethics of naval mutiny and industrial action. Margaret's internal conflicts mirror the turbulence that she sees all around her. This revised and expanded edition sets the novel in the context of Victorian social and medical debate and explores Gaskell's subtle representations of sexual passion and communal strife.
About The Author Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell was born in London in 1810, but she spent her formative years in Cheshire, Stratfordupon-Avon and the north of England. In 1832 she married the Reverend William Gaskell, who became well known as the minister of the Unitarian Chapel in Manchester's Cross Street. As well as leading a busy domestic life as minister's wife and mother of four daughters, she worked among the poor, traveled frequently and wrote. Mary Barton (1848) was her first success. Two years later she began writing for Dickens's magazine, Household Words, to which she contributed fiction for the next thirteen years, notably a further industrial novel, North and South (1855). In 1850 she met and secured the friendship of Charlotte BrontÃ«. After Charlotte's death in March 1855, Patrick BrontÃ« chose his daughter's friend and fellow-novelist to write The Life of Charlotte BrontÃ« (1857), a probing and sympathetic account, that has attained classic stature. Elizabeth Gaskell's position as a clergyman's wife and as a successful writer introduced her to a wide circle of friends, both from the professional world of Manchester and from the larger literary world. Her output was substantial and completely professional. Dickens discovered her resilient strength of character when trying to impose his views on her as editor of Household Words. She proved that she was not to be bullied, even by such a strong-willed man. Her later works, Sylvia's Lovers (1863), Cousin Phillis (1864) and Wives and Daughters (1866) reveal that she was continuing to develop her writing in new literary directions. Elizabeth Gaskell died suddenly in November 1865. Patricia Ingham is senior research fellow and reader at St. Anne's College, Oxford. She is the general editor of Thomas Hardy's fiction in Penguin Classics and edited Gaskell's North and South for the series.
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This Naxos Audiobooks edition was sensitively read by Clare Willie whose characterizations reminded me of the voices of the actors in the 2004 North and South mini-series. I was so drawn into the story by her melodic intonations that I have never enjoyed my commute to work as much as the 18 hours and 36 minutes during this audio book recording. Gaskell's powerful story of the division of workers and master told through the eyes of a haughty girl from the south of England who is thrown against her wishes and better judgment by her father's life choices into a foreign world of the working class struggles of a northern mill owner is her most beloved work for good reason. Margaret Hale and John Thornton are a romance to remember and savor again, and again. Laurel Ann, Austenprose
I love North and South so much. If you enjoy Austen and Dickens you will absolutly love Gaskell. But! My problem was not with the book it was with the introduction. I know people don't necessarily read the intro but I did with this book. It just made the whole book seem like a sexual thriller. That just deeply confused me. So buy this and you wont regret it but you could skip the introduction.
I saw BBC's movie production of North and South first and then decided I had to read the novel by Elizabeth Gaskel. I was not dissapointed. If anything it will enhance the movie experience because it gives you more details/information about the characters, their actions and events that take place in the novel. This story tells of the hardships that people faced on a daily basis. The love story of John Thornton and Margaret Hale is especially touching because they both had to overcome prejudices 'on her part' and missunderstandings 'on his part'. What a wonderful novel. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who has already seen the movie. I have to admit both the movie and the novel of North and South surpasses all versions of Pride and Prejudice.
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