by Elizabeth Gaskell

'It is very pleasant dining with a bachelor...I only hope it is not improper; so many pleasant things are!'A portrait of the residents of an English country town in the mid nineteenth century, Cranford relates the adventures of Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two middle-aged spinster sisters striving to live with dignity in reduced circumstances.

Through a series of vignettes, Elizabeth Gaskell portrays a community governed by old-fashioned habits and dominated by friendships between women.

This edition also includes further reading, notes, and an appendix on the significance of 'Fashion at Cranford'.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Classics
  • Rating: 3.85
  • Pages: 257
  • Publish Date: June 30th 2005 by Penguin Classics
  • Isbn10: 0141439882
  • Isbn13: 9780141439884

What People Think about "Cranford"

Written as a series of vignettes about living in a small English town, Elizabeth Gaskell isn't bothered about any plot with Cranford (which was originally edited by Charles Dickens), she simply focuses on a small group of ladies and their adventures (or lack of), as they meander, yawn, and gossip their way through mid 19th century life. Harkening back to a relaxed and simpler time, before the mad stampede of boxing day sales, life crawled along like a snail on sedatives for the locals, they concern themselves less with who's sleeping with whom, or, does my bum look big in this? Money worries, and the limitations and lack of options for women, especially unmarried women, at the time.

As I finished reading, I felt the same way: pleased with the experience, surprised at the wit and wisdom written so well so many years ago.

Although there is no proper story, this collected writing was engaging enough to keep you reading on. The story or rather the collection of writing revolves around a set of elderly ladies, who dominate the society of the small town of Cranford, setting its customs and values. With all that being said, what really arrested my attention and kept my interest in this unusual collection was the satirical writing of Ms. Gaskell, of fading Victorian customs and values to which the elder generation has so clung to, as a religion.

I'll admit I'm no procurer of Victorian liteary novels, but I've always wanted to dabble in the works of Elizabeth Gaskell, the woman who had the honor of writing The Life of Charlotte Brontë. The atmospheric vibe is pensive, as each new chapter is an evolution of Cranford, a tilt to the village's personality and character.

FINALLY, an Elizabeth Gaskell book that I enjoyed! The book is told from the perspective of Mary Smith (or Elizabeth Gaskell), and focuses mainly on Miss Matty, a sweet-tempered older woman who is one of the pillars of society since the death of her older, revered sister Deborah Jenkyns.

Es una novela muy Dulce, muy costumbrista pero cargada de crítica social, de crítica hacia la mujer de la época, hacia el decoro social y las relaciones que se basan en la posición y la clase social.

Through the eyes of the narrator we see scandals like a charming widow remarrying (and to a man beneath her station, no less!), a roguish foreign conjuror turning out to be an Englishman in a turban- or is he?

It centres on the lives of a group of women who dominate society in the small town of Cranford. Within five minutes of starting the novel I was laughing at the gentle satire on human foibles and life in a small town. The narrator is herself a lovely character, although the real star of the novel is the wonderful Miss Matty Jenkyns.