North and South by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Selected by Monique Stevens
“How am I to dress up in my finery, and go off and away to smart parties, after the sorrow I have seen today?”
When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fused individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale created one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.
In her introduction Patricia Ingham examines geographical, economic and class differences, and male and female roles in North and South.
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