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North and South

by Elizabeth Gaskell

Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on North and South

If you adore Pride and Prejudice then stop right here. A particular favourite of mine, North and South is so much more than a love story. Delving into the differences between different social classes, the industrial heartlands and pleasant peaceful countryside, it has real heart and soul. 

Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.

Liz Robinson

North and South Synopsis

As relevant now as when it was first published, Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South skilfully weaves a compelling love story into a clash between the pursuit of profit and humanitarian ideals. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction by Patricia Ingham.

When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the North of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South Gaskell skilfully fused individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale created one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.

In her introduction Patricia Ingham examines Elizabeth Gaskell's treatment of geographical, economic and class differences, and the male and female roles portrayed in the novel. This edition also includes further reading, notes and a useful glossary.

Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65) was born in London, but grew up in the north of England in the village of Knutsford. In 1832 she married the Reverend William Gaskell and had four daughters, and one son who died in infancy. Her first novel, Mary Barton, was published in 1848, winning the attention of Charles Dickens, and most of her later work was published in his journals, including Cranford (1853), serialised in Dickens's Household Words. She was also a lifelong friend of Charlotte Bronte, whose biography she wrote.

If you enjoyed North and South, you might like Jane Austen's Persuasion, also available in Penguin Classics. '[An] admirable story ... full of character and power' Charles Dickens

North and South Press Reviews

[An] admirable story ... full of character and power

--Charles Dickens

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780140434248
Publication date: 25/01/1996
Publisher: Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780140434248
Publication date: 25th January 1996
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Publisher: Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 496 pages
Genres: Classics, Literary Fiction,
Categories: Classic fiction (pre c 1945),

About Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell was born in Chelsea, London, in 1810. Her father was a Unitarian minister and her mother died 13 months after her birth. Unable to raise her himself, her father sent the young Elizabeth to live with her aunt, Hannah Lumb, in Knutsford, Cheshire, in a town she later immortalized as Cranford. In 1832, when staying in Manchester, Elizabeth met and married William Gaskell, the minister of the Cross Street Unitarian Chapel. Most of William Gaskell’s parishioners were textile workers and Elizabeth was deeply shocked by the poverty she witnessed in industrial Manchester. The circles in which they moved included ...

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