The women of the small country town of Cranford live in genteel poverty, resolutely refusing to embrace change, while the dark clouds of urbanisation and the advance of the railway hover threateningly on the horizon. In their simple, well-ordered lives they face emotional dilemmas and upheavals, small in the scale of the ever-shifting world, but affectionately portrayed by Elizabeth Gaskell with all the weight and consequence of a grand drama.
A rich, comic and illuminating portrait of life in a small town, Cranford has moved and entertained readers for generations.
With illustrations by the celebrated Hugh Thomson, and an introduction by Dr Josie Billington, a specialist in Victorian literature.
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Elizabeth Gaskell's much loved novel of small town, rural life.
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell was born in London in 1810. Her mother, Eliza, the niece of the potter Josiah Wedgwood, died when she was a child. Much of her childhood was spent in Knutsford, Cheshire, a town she would later immortalize as Cranford. In 1832 she married a Unitarian minister, William Gaskell, and they settled in Manchester. The industrial surroundings offered her inspiration for her writings and it was here that she wrote both Cranford (1853) and North and South (1855), as well as the first biography of Charlotte Bronte. Her last novel, Wives and Daughters, said by many to be her most mature work, remained unfinished at the time of her death in 1865.