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As interest in 19th-century English literature by women has been reinvigorated by a resurgence in popularity of the works of Jane Austen, readers are rediscovering a writer whose fiction, once widely beloved, fell by the wayside. British novelist ELIZABETH CLEGHORN GASKELL (1810-1865)--whose books were sometimes initially credited to, simply, "Mrs. Gaskell"--is now recognized as having created some of the most complex and progressive depictions of women in the literature of the age, and is today justly celebrated for her precocious use of the regional dialect and slang of England's industrial North.
Ruth--Gaskell's third novel, first published in three volumes in 1853--is notable as one of the rare instances in the fiction of the era of a positive portrayal of unwed motherhood and for its thematic condemnation of the social stigma of illegitimacy. The tale of a young woman seduced and abandoned by her lover, then taken in and protected by a kindly minister and his sister, it is remarkably progressive for the period.
Friend and literary companion to the likes of Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë--the latter of whom Gaskell wrote an acclaimed 1857 biography--Gaskell is today being restored to her rightful place alongside them. This charming replica volume is an excellent opportunity for 21st-century fans of British literature to embrace one of its most unjustly forgotten authors.About the Author:
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, née Stevenson (29 September 1810 – 12 November 1865), often referred to simply as Mrs. Gaskell, was an English novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era. She is perhaps best known for her biography of Charlotte Brontë. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of society, including the very poor, and as such are of interest to social historians as well as lovers of literature.
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