Wives and Daughters: An Everyday Story

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County of Pub England. Genre Classics. Dimensions 20 cm xxiv, pages. Details With an Introduction and Notes by Dinny Thorold, University of WestminsterGaskell's last novel, widely considered her masterpiece, follows the fortunes of two families in nineteenth century rural England. Already in Basket. Elizabeth Gaskell was born on September 29, to a Unitarian clergyman, who was also a civil servant and journalist. Her mother died when she was young, and she was brought up by her aunt in Knutsford, a small village that was the prototype for Cranford, Hollingford and the setting for numerous other short stories.

In , she married William Gaskell, a Unitarian clergyman in Manchester. She participated in his ministry and collaborated with him to write the poem Sketches among the Poor in Dickens liked it so much that he pressed Gaskell for more episodes, and she produced eight more of them between and Wives and Daughters ran in Cornhill from August to January The final installment was never written but the ending was known and the novel exists now virtually complete.

The story centers on a series of relationships between family groups in Hollingford. Most critics agree that her greatest achievement is the short novel Cousin Phillis. Gaskell was also followed by controversy.


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In , she offended many readers with Ruth, which explored seduction and illegitimacy that led the "fallen woman" into ostracism and inevitable prostitution. Gaskell died before finishing the book, which is the biggest bummer I can possibly think o Where I got the book: free on the Kindle. Gaskell died before finishing the book, which is the biggest bummer I can possibly think of for a writer. This was my first Mrs. Gaskell and I'm now wondering, where has she been all my life? I think I learned more about the social mores of small-town England in the early 19th century s according to Wikipedia than I would have done from any number of history books.

Gaskell paints her details with a fine brush, wrapped up in an entertaining story with an undercurrent of wry humor. The narrative, for those who need reminding, tells the story of Molly Gibson, the daughter of the doctor in the aforesaid small town or possibly large village. What's interesting to me is that the Gibsons, being of the professional class, occupy a kind of social gray area between the ordinary folk of the village and both the nobility, represented by the Earl of Cumnor's family, and the gentry, represented by the Hamleys.


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  • Not to forget a new class of Victorian gentleman ready to risk all in the name of exploration and Empire, given shape in Roger Hamley the squire's son. This means that Molly manages to achieve a degree of social mobility that would definitely have been quite startling at the time. To drive home the point, Mr.

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    Gibson goes and marries a shallow, self-centered social climber with the wonderful name of Hyacinth Bucket, anyone? We then have a family split neatly down the middle between the honest, traditional values of Olde England and the nouveau riche pretensions of an up-and-coming class who see the established gentry as a target for marriage if only they have money to back up their good name.

    Wives and Daughters: An Everyday Story - Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell - Google книги

    A nicely complicated plot ensues, with romance, secrets, scandals, and reconciliations. Really great stuff. I felt as if I should have been annoyed at Molly and Roger for being perfect to the point of saintly and the Embodiment of Honest English Virtues, but somehow I never was and found myself cheering them both on. Re-read Damn, I wish she'd finished the novel. I was far more into the characters this time around and even though I knew I wasn't going to find out what happened in the end I really wanted to find out what happened in the end What would they have been?

    View all 15 comments. Mar 25, Sara rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone who likes the Brontes. Shelves: classics , gutenberg-download , literary-fiction. Our main heroine, Molly Gibson, is a simple and honest girl, brought up by her father, a physician, and raised without the influence of a mother. Molly is a lovely creation, that one cannot help admiring and liking very much, but Cynthia is one of the most interesting characters I have encountered for quite some time.

    Wives and daughters : an everyday story

    She is so flawed, so in need of love and guidance which she has certainly never received from her mother , so inconstant in her dealings with others and so terribly human. Yet, she is loveable and sweet and kind in so many ways, and her genuine love for Molly redeems her of being seen as unfeeling or conniving. In parallel to this, Mrs. Gaskell weaves the stories of two brothers, Osbourne and Roger, of an ancient lineage and whose father has not quite made his way into the modern time in which he lives.

    The quality of character of these men is explored, as well, and they form an important part of the courting machinations that transpire. One cannot help thinking of Jane Austen when watching this ritual unfold that revolves far more in the mind of Mrs. Gibson than in any of the young people. From the beginning of this novel, Elizabeth Gaskell had my full attention.

    The story moves rapidly despite its length and the various threads are all tied neatly together, so that even the minor characters fit into the puzzle in very pleasing ways. Unfortunately, Mrs. Gaskell died with the final chapter or two unwritten. So, while all the major plot lines are satisfied and you do not feel left hanging, there is still a sense of something unfinished at the end. I was not prepared for this and it felt quite more jarring than it might have had I realized it was an unfinished work. Even with this, I would not hesitate to recommend reading this novel.

    I think Elizabeth Gaskell deserves to be regarded perhaps a bit more highly than she has been and holds her own with her contemporaries, the Brontes. One of my favorite classics ever. This was just wonderful. It's long, so I know it would be intimidating for folks who haven't read a lot of classics, but it really would be a great place to start because it was so readable and filled with beautiful characters.

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    I loved every second. View 1 comment. Feb 28, Michael rated it it was amazing Shelves: group-read , victorians-group-read. My first time reading this Elizabeth Gaskell masterpiece and a masterpiece it truly is. To me, this author is a virtuoso at character development. The two main characters, Molly Gibson and her step-sister, Cynthia are brilliant creations. In fact, just about all the major characters presented are subtly drawn, imbued with both good and bad traits. They feel genuine, not like the caricatures or archetypes one sometimes finds in other Victorian period novels.

    As a reader you enjoy spending time wi My first time reading this Elizabeth Gaskell masterpiece and a masterpiece it truly is. As a reader you enjoy spending time with these people and sharing their experiences in this small, provincial world. Another area where Ms. Gaskell excels is dialog. It is mainly a book about family relationships and, as such, much of the plot is driven by the many conversations which flow from these relationships.

    Again, the conversations feel authentic, capturing the essence of each speaker thus developing an even more intimate and moving relationship with the reader. I look forward to reading more of Ms. At the moment this is sitting at a 3. I definitely enjoyed it, but I didn't LOVE it, and there's the fact that this book isn't complete which is hella rude.

    How dare Elizabeth Gaskell die before finishing this book?!


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    • They were unbelievably annoying. I highly recommend watching the BBC mini series adaptation because the ending is delightful and it's a wonderful adaptation! What really strikes me is how Gaskell portrays character — there are no definite heroes or villains, because she presents such a complete picture of who her characters are and why they possess their faults and how they think.

      I felt for them all because they are well-developed and genuine in their faults as well as their virtues. I liked that almost all of the characters were trying to do the right thing and live their lives honestly, however they understood that to be, as well as acknowledging their failures in this. This is quite an endearing, touching novel and even though it was quite long, I think that I could have read another pages of it. Some things that I will keep thinking about will be names and how they change in the novel, the title and the significance of female relationships, and how clever and simply funny Gaskell was in portraying Mrs.

      Gibson's vain absurdities. What a wonderful novel. Jul 29, Jessica rated it it was amazing Shelves: educational-challenge , own , theclassics. How did I not know about this book sooner? In fact, let's all pause to ponder why authors like the Brontes and Austen get so much love, so much fan fiction.

      I mean, here is a mother not unlike Mrs. Bennet, just one step away from having "nerves" and "flutterings" and all the while deeply concerned with. Here is a daughter who doesn't honestly ca Wow. Here is a daughter who doesn't honestly care about love or marriage, but just cannot stop playing the coquette, and then complaining when men keep proposing to her! Here's sweet Molly, who cannot flirt to save her life, but has both a keen mind and a tender heart that makes her loved by all.

      Gaskell's writing is very clear and precise, with a sly, dry wit to it. This was her final work, and she died before it was finished. There is an editor's note that was written at the book's first publication indicating how matters would have ended all that is lacking, really, is an epilogue. Wives and Daughters is Elizabeth Gaskell's final novel which was interrupted in its completion due to the untimely death of the author. However incomplete it may be to the end, I found the book to be a completed work with beautiful writing, an interesting set of characters and a good story line.

      At a time when the "sensational" novels were in the peak of its popularity, Gaskell courageously took to writing this realist story which she called "An Everyday Story". The story mainly revolves around t Wives and Daughters is Elizabeth Gaskell's final novel which was interrupted in its completion due to the untimely death of the author. The story mainly revolves around three families: the Gibsons; the Hamleys; and the aristocratic family of Cumnors.

      And family relations are at the root of the story. The father-daughter relationship, father-sons relationship, father-stepdaughter relationship, mother-daughter relationship and mother-stepdaughter relationship are subtly and touchingly portrayed. There is such warmth and sympathy in Gaskell's writing when she dwells on these family relations. There is also a love story, rather a love triangle between three main characters of the story - Roger Hamley, Cynthia and Molly Gibson.

      While Roger falls in love with beautiful Cynthia, Molly repines for the lost attention, not really understanding that she harbours a love so deep for Roger. Molly is depressed with Cynthia's marked indifference and inconsistency in her love for Roger, which according to Molly is a rare prize. Roger on the other hand, who though formerly bewitched by Cynthia's beauty and charm soon realizes the blind error of his infatuation and discovers where his true love lay, which is in Molly. The future development of these two goodhearted characters was unfortunately interrupted with the untimely demise of the author.

      However, a possible ending has been outlined by the editor of the Cornhill Magazine, in which the story was serialized, basing on notes and an outline which the author has left behind for the few chapters that were unwritten. It is unfortunate that we readers were not privileged to read the ending in her own florid writing. Apart from the family relationship and the love story, the book touches on a variety of wider concepts. The class difference is one. The old Hamley whose ancestral roots runs to a time before the Conquest, sees any alliance between his sons with the daughters of Dr.

      Gibson as unsuitable as the latter being a "medical man' with no worthy connection. Gaskell emphasizes on this point by showing that even though the old Hamley considers Molly Gibson as nearly as a daughter of his own, still he dreads the union between her and any of his sons. Then Gaskell touches upon the strongly held political allegiances of the day. Hamleys are Tories from the time of remembrance and the Cumnors are Whigs. There is an interesting rivalry penned by Gaskell between the two families. When Roger Hamley, a budding scientist was invited to the Towers, which is the home of Lord Cumnor, old Hamley forces the son to decline it on the ground that it would a disregard to family principles to have any intercourse with the Whigs.

      Through this, Gaskell shows the reader the extremity of political rivalry. Although these political rivalries and strong held prejudices on class were later relaxed towards the end of the story, it was little disturbing to read the amount of discrimination that prevailed in the early 19th century British society. There are also general themes such as women's position in the society, their education, patriarchal dominance, social values and conventions that have been touched upon. Gibson, being a medical man himself, holds the opinion that his daughter, Molly, should not be "educated". It showed how the opinion was held on women education even by learned men at that time.

      And the most interesting, which I have not yet come across in a Victorian novel, is Gaskell's touch on the future scientific developments. Through the character of Roger Hamley, who was said have been modeled on the famous naturalist Charles Darwin, Gaskell's cousin, the author eagerly writes on the future scientific developments which are on its way.

      The story and its themes have been explored by Gaskell with the use of an interesting set of characters. Molly Gibson is the author's heroine. She is strong, courageous and kind; yet shy and timid. She is the epitome of goodness. There were certain resemblances of her to Margaret Hale in North and South, but Molly was, to me, the better heroine. Her stepsister Cynthia is pretty and charming but selfish, self-centered and shallow.

      The author is very sympathetic towards this faulty character and alludes that her faults were due to neglectful parenting. Gibson, the second wife of Dr. Gibson is a pretentious and a mercenary woman. Her character provided the needed comic relief to the story while old Hamley too contributed to a certain degree. Gibson provided solidity to the story. Roger Hamley is our hero. He is goodhearted, selfless and learned. He represents the generation of social, political reform and scientific evolution.

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      On the contrary, old Hamley represents the dying feudalism. The beauty of this work lay in the story as well as in Gaskell's excellent writing. It is more polished and developed from her days of writing North and South which was done nearly a decade earlier. And surprisingly, her writing is quite satirical, which is definitely a new development from her early days of writing.

      It is well known Charles Dickens was a close friend of Gaskell and was influential on her work and this influence is probably the very reason for her altered style of writing. Overall, it was a brilliant work and was a very rewarding read. And although I have finished the read, the story and the characters, especially Molly and Roger still linger on my mind.

      View all 8 comments. Towards the end of last year I spent many happy hours visiting a world so perfectly realised that it still lifts my heart when I think of it.

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      I stepped into the middle of the s, into the English countryside that Mrs Gaskell knew so well, I met people who were so real, fallible, interesting, and I became caught up in their lives and their stories. At the centre of it all was Molly Gibson, the only child of a widowed doctor. The apple of his eye. In a lovely prologue she was twelve years old and Towards the end of last year I spent many happy hours visiting a world so perfectly realised that it still lifts my heart when I think of it.

      In a lovely prologue she was twelve years old and she had been taken The Towers, home of the Duke of Cumnor, for a day of grand entertainments. Molly had a lovely time, but there was just one oversight: she was left behind, napping on a big bed, when the carriages drove away. I loved Molly from the start, her love for her father and for her world, her openness, her honesty. I felt that we were friends, looking at the world together as the story unfolded. We met again when Molly was seventeen, and her father sent her to visit the family of the local squire. He would always be first in her hear but she became a daughter to a mother of sons, a sister to those sons, and a particular favourite of their father.

      And so the stage was set for a story that would move between the aristocracy, the old gentry and the new professional classes. And a story that would say much about a changing world, as one of the young men Molly came to love as a brother was drawn to the arts and romanticism, the other was drawn to science and exploration, and their father clung to his home, his land, his heredity. All of that is there to ponder, and a glorious plot unfolds.

      Hyancinth, who was beautiful but terribly, terribly grand, terribly aware of appearances and social position, had been governess to the family of Duke of Cumnor, and she brought with her a daughter. Cynthia was bold, confident, and yet she was terribly vulnerable, and though they were very different, had very different ideas about their futures, they became firm friends.

      The story holds so much. Fortunes rise and fall. There are births, marriages and deaths. There is domesticity, there is society, and there is travel. And there are secrets, and they will have such consequences… All life is there, from quiet domesticity to grand events, and through everything in between.

      And lives are lived. A broad cast of characters — no not characters, people, because everyone is so perfectly drawn — live, love, make mistakes, learn, enjoy good or bad fortune, feel every emotion under the sun …. There are so many wonderful scenes, so many moments that strike a chord. The depth of understanding is obvious and the writing is beautiful. Mrs Gaskell has a wonderfully light touch, an instinctive understanding of when linger and when to pass on, and always finds exactly the right words.

      And I know that I will always remember this world, and that it will keep calling me back. View all 3 comments. Nov 25, Kelly rated it really liked it Shelves: brit-lit , 19th-century , owned , fiction , victorian , its-the-quiet-ones. But she really won me over as soon as she provided me with an excellent audience proxy for me to cast myself as early on- Lady Harriet ftw, am I right?

      Then I could really get comfortable. Molly is goddamn adorable, Mr. In my fanfic, she gets the second option, because I think she could turn it around, but because life is Victorian England life, it was probably the former. Oh, oh! Gaskell told her editors what she wanted the ending to be, for the most part, but she died a few chapters before she finished. So you do get to kind of Choose Your Own Adventure, so yay!

      But the ending is half an obituary, so kind of a downer a little bit? Overall, this was kinda like reading a really smart, satirical middlebrow domestic novel, probably written for the same audience those are written for today. Some overly shlocky moments and overdone metaphors, but more than worth it in the end, waayyyyy better than North and South. So yeah, Lady Harriet and I will be over here in the corner drinking the tea, enjoying the show and standing up for Molly as required.

      Come join us! View all 6 comments. Jun 27, K. Trigger warnings: mental health, death of a friend, blackmail?? Also, the more I reread it, the more it becomes apparent to me that Molly has some serious depression going on in the second half of the book. And, like, rightly so! She's stuck in the middle of some awful shit. But yeah. It's depression, pure and simple. And that makes me love this just a little bit more than I did before, which I didn't even know was possible. High five from beyon Trigger warnings: mental health, death of a friend, blackmail??

      High five from beyond the grave, Gaskell. I've been reading and rereading this book since That is a long ass time. So that fifth star up there? Yeah, that is one hundred percent nostalgia talking. Sorry, Kirsti from It's got a fifth star now. I love the story. I love the characters. I love the writing. I love all of the things. Except for the part where Gaskell died before finishing the story, but whatever. I'm used to it now I first came across this story through the BBC miniseries in , and loved it as only a sixteen year old could.



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