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North and South (Wordsworth Classics) [Paperback]

Elizabeth Gaskell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
Price: 1.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 April 1993 Wordsworth Classics

This Wordsworth Edition includes an exclusive Introduction and Notes by Dr Patsy Stoneman, University of Hull.

Set in the mid-19th century, and written from the author's first-hand experience, North and South follows the story of the heroine's movement from the tranquil but moribund ways of southern England to the vital but turbulent north. Elizabeth Gaskell's skilful narrative uses an unusual love story to show how personal and public lives were woven together in a newly industrial society.

This is a tale of hard-won triumphs - of rational thought over prejudice and of humane care over blind deference to the market. Readers in the twenty-first century will find themselves absorbed as this Victorian novel traces the origins of problems and possibilities which are still challenging a hundred and fifty years later: the complex relationships, public and private, between men and women of different classes.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New Ed edition (7 April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853260932
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853260933
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"[An] admirable story ... full of character and power" --Charles Dickens --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

'A really remarkable picture of the reality, as well as the prosperity, of northern industrial life, and an interesting examination of changing social conscience' Joanna Trollope --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book with some great moments 31 Mar 2007
By AGDA
Format:Paperback
I have to admit that I saw the BBC mini-series before reading the book, I know, shame on me for not reading more, but the thing is that I decided to read it to check how good was the adaptation and found in the first place a good book to read, nice characters, some great literary moments and interesting use of dialogue, slang, northern accent that makes it an amazing novel, and secondly, the adaptation in this case has been great, fantastic, probably due to the fact that Gaskell creates characters, dotes on them, offering us a complete view into their core, sometimes we get too much information but, I am not complaining. Thornton is one of those characters that will go with you for the rest of your life.

Hope you like it too.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
For me, Elizabeth Gaskell is the Victorian's Jane Austen. She wrote enduring love stories featuring characters the reader cares about, and this novel continues that record. The relationship of Margaret and Thornton is tempestuous and full of twists and turns, with its misunderstandings, unacknowledged passions and fiery exchanges. Gaskell handles the sexual attraction between these characters skilfully, communicating as she does within the far less sexually-open idiom of the Victorian novel (check out the scene where Margaret saves Thornton from the rioters, or the bit when, whilst having tea with the Hales's, Thornton is transfixed by a bracelet tightening the flesh on Margaret's arm).
Adding an extra depth to the novel are the contemporary Victorian social issues which are addressed within its pages - the decreasing social distinction between the classes, the rise in female empowerment - but don't let these put you off. They are so carefully woven in to the inherent fabric of the plot that there is no struggle to understand the significance they would have had.
In short, this is a fantastic book - Margaret and Thornton remind me of Pride and Prejudice's Elizabeth and Darcy, with their stormy, unacknowledged passion for one another and their intellectual compatibility. And just like Pride and Prejudice, this novel is filled with the kind of pleasurable scenes that you'll want to read over and over again.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passion and strife in Victorian times 1 April 2007
Format:Paperback
I loved the BBC adaptation but waited a while before reading the book so it would be fresh. And having just finished this book, what a great story! Political strife, supressed passion, women's rights, class conflict. The fact that Margaret Hale is a strong woman with her own mind (albeit misguided at times) made this story much more believable and enjoyable for me. Despite some bits that might be a little drier to read, I couldn't put it down once I got past the first few chapters. Bear with it! I think it helped having a picture of Richard Armitage in my head as Mr Thornton, as you don't really get an idea of how he looks from the story. However, I'm now watching the BBC adaptation again and have noticed that some really key parts of the story are changed from the book and remove some of the more subtle parts of the story. Plus they seem to make Mr Thornton a much less likeable character than in the book. So I thoroughly recommend this book. A much more exciting and believable story than many of the other Victorian novels I've read - or never managed to finish reading!
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story which still has resonance today 30 Nov 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This has been a favourite book of mine since I first read it nearly 20 years ago. It has parallels with Pride and Predjudice and many of Dickens' novels. The main theme is a passionate love story involving two very strong people from different worlds. It is set against a backdrop of the Industrial Revolution. Margaret Hale has led a very quiet and sheltered life in the rural south of England when circumstances force her to move to a rather grim northern city. The story of how she gets to know some of the people, in particular John Thornton one of the mill owners, and begins to understand their way of life is a compelling one. Anyone who has been watching the BBC adaption of North and South should read this book. The story has been been changed slightly to appeal to modern audiences but the essence is still there. Elizabeth Gaskell has been overlooked for far too long, in my opinion. Hopefully this will bring her to the notice of another generation of readers.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Good 3 Feb 2005
Format:Paperback
I would certainly recommend this novel. I read it before the TV series came along, and loved it for itself. I read half the book in one night - so desperate was I to find out what happened - although I later regretted having almost skimmed through parts of it. This is a book with a lot to offer - from gritty portrails of life in working mill town, to the beautiful romance that is entwined in the dirt and grime like a silken ribbon slinking through a brier bush. The contrasts between the supposed ideallic life in the South and the harsh North are blurred and erased, as stereotypes are broken down through personal contact as the pages progress. It is a delight to read, giving delight to anyone with a romantic heart, or the harder feelings of someone interested in dealing with issues of empathy with the Victorian working classes.
Read it. You would a stoic indeed to regret it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for Victorian Lit lovers 17 May 2010
By Boof TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This book has it all: class conflict, politics, religion, women's rights and passion! It makes you think, it makes you reflect on what was and it makes you ponder how we got from there to where we are now. We smile with them, we cry with them.

North and South (originally called Margaret Hale, after the pricipal character, until Charles Dickens made Gaskell change it) starts with a little rose-covered cottage in the countryside in the south of England where Margaret Hale lives with her Pastor Father, her mother and their servants. Margaret loves the outdoors; she loves to sketch nature and spends a carefree and idyllic youth milling around the land and helping neighbours with various acts of charity. Towards the end of Margaret's teens, her father announces that he has abandoned the church and because of this the whole family is uprooted to Milton-Northern (apparantly based on Gaskell's home town of Manchester) to start again.

Milton is an industrial town in the north of England and not only is the landscape the polar opposite of Margatet's hometown of Helstone, with factories, smoke, noise and polution, but also the townsfolk are quite different from those she is used to. I found this very interesting, and this is why I think Dickens was absolutely right to make Gaskell change the title: there is still a divide even today between the north and the south in England, although not on the same scale as back in the Victorian era, no doubt. I am from the north of England (Yorkshire) and northerners, even today, have a reputation for speaking their mind and being somewhat brash. We are also known for being friendly and open, where as southerners are thought of as being unfriendly (even rude) and looking down their noses at northerners.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyable
Published 1 day ago by Rhiannon Charlton
5.0 out of 5 stars will never get bored of this.
I love reading this as much as I do Pride and Prejudice. A complicated love story which is true to the end. Giving girls like me a very high standard of a man to wish for. :P
Published 5 days ago by Katie Lowis
5.0 out of 5 stars showing how the poor had their troubles and relied on the mill owners
The writer's observation of people of different classes in C19th is a masterpiece. The characters are real and live from the pages. Read more
Published 14 days ago by jumbi
4.0 out of 5 stars good book
I got this book after seeing the mini-series on Netflix and as a Northerner, I decided it would be a nice insight into what the North/South split was like then. Read more
Published 1 month ago by BubbleBee
5.0 out of 5 stars North and South
The best book ever. Hours of delicious silence! Mr Thornton is very close to being as good as Me Darcy! In my opinion I feel he is better! Others may not agree! Read this book! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Wilf
5.0 out of 5 stars so well written
Fantastic read. So cleverly written and a great love story. Margaret and Mr Thornton are such strong characters,mi must now see the film!
Published 1 month ago by Louby
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently written to touch the heart
A must for period drama lovers. Takes some getting used to to adjust the 21st century Londoners mind to Gaskell's northerner's dialect but well worth the effort.
Published 1 month ago by Pamela Burke
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
One of Elizabeth Gaskell's really good books portraying the differences in attitude and perception between people in the manufacturing north and the agricultural south. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Reader
2.0 out of 5 stars meh
I couldn't warm to either hero or heroine, and the book grinds so many long-ago axes.
The tipping point for me was Mr Hale, the heroine's father (the heroine who carries the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Pulverulentus S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
One of my favourite books of all time. Brilliant storyline, wonderful and believable characters. It's great to have a heroine with a bit of back bone! Read more
Published 2 months ago by avidreader
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