CHAPTER XI
SYLVIA'S LOVERS

When Mrs. Gaskell published Sylvia's Lovers it had been eight years since she had published a long work of fiction. Between the publication of North and South and this novel she wrote The Life of Charlotte Brontë and a few short tales, but on the whole her pen yielded in those years but a meager harvest. She began gathering material for Sylvia' Lovers in 1859. She wrote the novel slowly, as she felt inclined, and did not have it ready for publication until 1863. It was published in that year in three volumes by Smith, Elder & Company.

Mrs. Gaskell dedicated Sylvia's Lovers to Mr. Gaskell in these words: "This book is dedicated to my dear husband by her who best knows his value." It was her only book bearing a dedicatory inscription. On the title-page, written doubtless after the last lines of the novel were set down, was a quotation from In Memoriam:

Oh for thy voice to soothe and bless!
What hope of answer, or redress?
Behind the veil! Behind the veil!

There are several evidences that a period of some time elapsed between the writing of the introductory chapter and the composition of the other chapters of the book. When Kinraid, one of the chief characters, is mentioned in the second chapter, his name is spelled Charlie; when he is introduced again in the sixth chapter it is spelled Charley, a spelling retained throughout the story. In the second chapter the month in which the story opened is mentioned as October; seventy-five pages further on, after several things have happened, but all within a few days after the opening action, the time is given as September. The year in

-114-

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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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