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Old 11-03-2014, 03:28 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Gaskell, Elizabeth: The Moorland Cottage. v1 3 Nov 2014

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

She was born in London in 1810, the daughter of a Unitarian minister. Her mother died soon after the birth, and she was raised by an aunt in Knutsford. Her happy memories of Knutsford inspired Cranford, her best known work.

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

The Moorland Cottage is the most overtly religious of the works of Mrs Gaskell that I have read, as well as the nearest to women's lib. The novella is a romance owing something to Romeo and Juliet (and perhaps a precursor to The Mikado) and a critique of the class system and injustices of its time.

The source text was taken from the University of Adelaide ebook library, and checked against a pdf of the 1892 Smith, Elder edition of Cranford and Other Tales from the Internet Archive. I have silently corrected typos, curled quotes, restored diacritics and italics, added scene breaks, used British English, and made changes to spelling, punctuation, and hyphenation using oxforddictionaries.com.
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