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338 - Recommended Reading: Elizabeth Gaskell - Cranford

Jane Pollard (Standard British accent)

Mrs. Gaskell’s Cranford is a lovely book. It’s... but... apparently, it was originally published in serials, like many of... many 19th century books were... did originally appear, so each chapter is almost like a little episode to... to itself. And you couldn’t say that there’s a... a strong plot, but things evolve and things happen and I like Cranford because it evokes a certain type of life and a... a certain type of interaction with a very unsung section of society, really. I mean, there was... there’s always stuff written about heroes and... and heroines and beautiful young people or strong or wicked people or... but rarely are things successfully written about frail spinsters, frail elderly spinsters, and there’s something absolutely charming about Cranford because it manages to portray the... the things that are important to this group of... of women, and... and while, you know, it’s easy to see it from the 21st century and say. “Tuh! They’re all... all they’re bothered about is whether you go and visit people at the right time of the morning and so on!” However, the tensions and the reactions between the groups, between the... the elements of the group, you could take those and put those in any group of people, any group of society, certainly any group of women, and I think that’s... I think Mrs. Gaskell is... is very clever in managing to represent and give a photograph, if you like, of a... a... a vanishing Victorian age and to give an importance to, as I say, what otherwise is an invisible, or particularly then, was an invisible strata of... of society. And even now, I mean, you don’t often get stories or... or interesting tales about... about women who haven’t got a career, haven’t got a family, haven’t got remarkable beauty or remarkable wealth or even remarkable poverty, but are just sort of nothing in particular, and yet it’s a... it’s a really successful and interesting novel.

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