Saturday, 30 June 2012

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell- A Visual Tour

I am posting this for the Classics Challenge hosted at November's Autumn. I recently read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. In North and South, Gaskell contrasts between the rural Southern England and Industrial Northern England. Margret Hale along with her family moves to Milton-Northern, a fictional town representing Industrial Manchester as her father turns 'dissenter'.

The line below kind of expresses the sentiment of the book.

And yet, yo see, North and South has both met and made kind o' friends in this big smoky place. 

William Cowen's View of Bradford contrast the rural and industrial in the same picture. This picture is used as a cover for this book. But this togetherness is more symbolic then literal.  

Industrial strike and its problems are expressed below. 

'She knew how it was; they were like Boucher, with starving children at home—relying on ultimate success in their efforts to get higher wages, and enraged beyond measure at discovering that Irishmen were to be brought in to rob their little ones of bread.'

On Strike, 1891by
  1. Sir Hubert von Herkomer
atRoyal Academy of Arts

'Many in the crowd were mere boys'
Child workers in a Manchester cotton factory in 1820.
Image: Manchester Archives & Local Studies

Cotton factories in Union Street, Manchester, 1835. Some of these buildings still stand today.
Image: Science Museum / SSPL

Margret befriends Bessy Higgins, who is dying of a lung disease.  "I began to work in a carding-room soon after, and the fluff got into my lungs and poisoned me.'
Mill girls working with spinning frames in a Manchester cotton mill, 1851. Women made up a large proportion of the expanding factory labour force.
Image: Manchester Archives & Local Studies

It's not like there are problems only in the North. 

'God help 'em! North an' South have each getten their own troubles.'

In between the strikes and poverty, there is a beautiful love story paralleling the Pride and Prejudice that surpasses class and status differences. Gaskell paints a picture of smoky North. Gaskell lived in Knutsford, near Manchester, which is a beautiful place at least at present. Below are some images of Knutsford in connection with Gaskell.


It looks like Gaskell was a dissenter like Margret Hale's Father.

 Gaskell Tower in Knutsford 

Gaskell Tower in Knutsford Showing her book titles

Knutsford Images Copyright Srivalli

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