Download Elizabeth Gaskell: Second Edition by Patsy Stoneman PDF

By Patsy Stoneman

This pioneering learn, defined as 'a version of feminist feedback' (The Year's paintings in English experiences) on first ebook, published Gaskell as an immense social analyst who intentionally challenged the Victorian disjunction among private and non-private moral values, who maintained a gentle resistance to competitive authority, advocating lady friendship, rational motherhood and the ability of speech as forces for social change.  This new version offers the unique textual content  (except for bibliographical updating) including a brand new and vast severe 'Afterword'.

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Elizabeth Gaskell’s unfamiliarity with patriarchy at close quarters may account for her exaggeration, in The Life of Charlotte Brontë, of Patrick Brontë’s authoritarianism, and her astonishment at Charlotte’s ‘patient docility. . in her conduct towards her father’ chap 2 20/7/06 9:41 am Woman and Writer Page 17 17 (LCB: 508, 511). It also explains the apparent inconsistency which puzzles Nancy Anderson, that she was able to live in ‘conformity to the Victorian female role of wife and mother’ and also be ‘the real provider and manager of her family’ (Anderson, N: 41).

In the process of writing itself, Elizabeth Gaskell dislikes masculine abstraction and emphasises concrete particularities. She urges male correspondents to give ‘little details which it is “beneath the dignity of man” to put on paper’ (L 409). J. Fox she appeals for details of his daughter’s wedding: ‘Who – What, Where, Wherefore, Why – oh! do be a woman, and give me all possible details –’ (L 419). The urgency is not trivial; details are necessary to make narrative interesting (L 420), to understand large questions (L 384)), and to make proper moral judgments (L 424; cf Noddings: 36).

Working Women Because Elizabeth Gaskell’s studies of working-class life are read as ‘industrial’ novels, criticism has focussed on factory-workers like John Barton and Nicholas Higgins. Her work as a whole, however, highlights working women – not just factory workers like Bessy Higgins but seamstresses, milliners, washerwomen, ‘chars’, a tailor, beekeepers, farmers, housewives and domestic servants. Her very first publication is a verse portrait of an old working woman (Sketches Among the Poor’, K1: xxiixxv).

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