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Old 06-28-2014, 05:53 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Gaskell, Elizabeth: Mary Barton (Illustrated) v1 28 June 2014

Elizabeth Gaskell was a Victorian writer, mother, wife of a Unitarian minister, and social activist.

She was born in London in 1810, the daughter of a Unitarian minister. After her mother's death when she was four she was raised by an aunt in Knutsford, and her happy memories of Knutsford inspired Cranford.

In 1832 she married William Gaskell, and they settled in the industrial city of Manchester where she lived until her death in 1865 busy in motherhood and being a minister's wife. The death of her only son in infancy intensified her sense of identity with the poor and her desire to relieve their suffering, and her husband encouraged her to write.

Mary Barton was Mrs Gaskell's first novel, and was published in 1848, the year of revolutions. It tells the story of two working class families and a mill owner's family, and their bereavements, compassion, and forgiveness. It was an immediate success, and was praised by Charles Dickens and Thomas Carlyle.

There were several early editions differing in whether chapter titles were used, the enclosed poetry, and the footnotes. The source text for this edition was Project Gutenberg 2153-h.htm, checked against the Century Library 1906 edition which had three illustrations. I have retained the chapter titles, the poetry, and the footnotes as end notes, have set letters and inscriptions off as blockquotes with left aligned text without quotation marks unless the writer is quoting someone, and have silently corrected typos, curled quotes, used British English, and made minor changes to spelling, punctuation, and hyphenation using oxforddictionaries.com.
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