North and South

By Elizabeth Gaskell,

Book cover of North and South

Book description

As relevant now as when it was first published, Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South skilfully weaves a compelling love story into a clash between the pursuit of profit and humanitarian ideals. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction by Patricia Ingham.

When her father leaves the Church in…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked North and South as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This novel is sometimes described as the Victorian Pride and Prejudice, and it’s true there are many similarities.

Margaret Hale moves with her parents from rural southern England to a northern manufacturing town and experiences profound culture shock. She spars with John Thornton, the wealthy owner of a cotton mill, whose outlook and opinions are very different from her own.

In time their antagonism gives way to mutual understanding, and finally to love. But North and South isn’t only a love story.

There’s the ongoing conflict between the mill workers and the owners, and Margaret’s discoveries about herself as…

From Jennifer's list on unique insights on the Victorians.

Margaret Hale is an unlikely rebel.

When we first encounter her in Gaskell’s social novel concerning industrialization and class, she appears to be the model of demure Victorian womanhood. She has lived a happy, privileged life. Everything changes when her clergyman father suffers a crisis of conscience and becomes a dissenter.

Forced to uproot his family, they leave their picturesque village in the south of England for the thriving northern industrial city of Milton. In Milton, Margaret is overwhelmed by the jarring cacophony of industrialization.

Through her poignant friendship with a girl from the laboring class, and a contentious relationship…

No less than in 1854 when North and South was first published, our world is marked by the rise of industry and technology, clashes between geographical groups and socio-economic classes birthed by the industrial world, and the rise of religious doubt.

All of which serves as the background for this love story that requires two characters to bridge all of these wide chasms.

As in the best Victorian novels, in this one we are introduced to characters from all walks of life who come from a range of life experiences.

Meeting them in their trials and triumphs and seeing life…

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