CHAPTER VIII
NORTH AND SOUTH

Though none of the characters in Mary Barton are mentioned in North and South and even the place where the action of the latter novel occurs is disguised under a fictitious name, it is in theme a sequel of Mary Barton. Mrs. Gaskell's first novel was written between 1845 and 1847, and was published in 1848; it dealt with the period between 1832 and 1842. In it she treated the subject of class relationships in industry from the point of view of the employees. North and South was written between the early part of 1853 and the first month of 1855. It continued the narrative of events and issues in a great manufacturing center, dealing with the period subsequent to that treated in Mary Barton and almost contemporaneous with the time of writing. But now, instead of speaking chiefly for the employees, she spoke for the manufacturers. The novel, however, in no way nullifies the doctrine promulgated in Mary Barton; it rather augments and strengthens the earlier arguments.

The novel ran first as a serial in Household Words from September 2, 1854, to January 27, 1855, and was her first long work with a definite plot to be published in instalments. That she did not find such writing congenial is evident from a letter which Dickens wrote her upon completion of the novel.1

Let me congratulate you on the conclusion of your story: not because it is the end of a task to which you had conceived a dislike (for I imagine you have got the better of that delusion by this time), but because it is the vigorous and powerful accomplishment of an anxious labour.

____________________
1
Written January 27, 1855; in Letter of Charles Dickens, London, 1893, pp. 354-5.

-64-

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Elizabeth Gaskell
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • A Chronology of Mrs. Gaskell's Life and Works xi
  • Chapter I - Birth, Parentage, Youth 1
  • Chapter II - Early Married Life 10
  • Chapter III - Mary Barton 15
  • Chapter IV - From Hand and Heart to Cranford 30
  • Chapter V - Cranford 36
  • Chapter VI - Ruth 47
  • Chapter VII - From Morton Hall to the Poor Clare 59
  • Chapter VIII - North and South 64
  • Chapter IX - The Life of Charlotte Brontë 77
  • Chapter X - From the Doom of the Griffiths to Cousin Phillis 104
  • Chapter XI - Sylvia's Lovers 114
  • Chapter XII - Wives and Daughters 129
  • Chapter XIII - Conclusion 140
  • A Note on Mrs. Gaskell's Use of Dialect 145
  • Index 145
  • Bibliography 163
  • Index to the Bibliography 263
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