North and South

North and South

Book - 2012
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A crisis of conscience uproots a clergyman's family from the pastoral beauty of the south, sending them to a dreary city in the industrial north. Margaret Hale is initially appalled by the unrefined town of Milton and its population of factory workers. But after befriending a local family, she develops a sense of sympathy for the struggles of the poor. The demands of Margaret's awakening social conscience are further challenged by her attraction to John Thornton, self-made man and wealthy factory owner.
Praised by Charles Dickens as an "admirable story, full of character and power," Elizabeth Gaskell's 1855 novel unfolds across the social divides of a changing world. The romance between the haughty but sensitive heroine and an intelligent, dynamic man of lower social status touches upon political, philosophical, and economic issues. An unflinching depiction of the bleak conditions of the working poor as well as a commentary on the mid-Victorian era's class conflicts, this richly textured tale raises timeless questions about the nature of social authority and protest.
Publisher: Mineola, N.Y. : Dover Publications, 2012
ISBN: 9780486479521
0486479528
Branch Call Number: FIC Gaske 3558
Characteristics: v, 455 p

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AlieGrace
Apr 16, 2018

I have read and loved many pieces of classic British literature, this is not one of them. Aside from the main character most of the supporting cast feel rather shallow and the book drags out a needless romance which detracts from the rest of the story which seems to wish to focus on urbanization and class differences of the time. I really wouldn't recommend it.

m
manjari825
Jan 23, 2018

Classics are hard to read. I am normally a fast reader but reading classics always takes me soooo long. I have to set aside an hour to read a classic a day usually because it takes me like 10-15 minutes to understand where I left back and get back into it. Then I have to read slowly to understand everything because I've missed key details and it gets so confusing. I'd strong suggest listening to not just this classic but other more difficult classics as audiobooks.

On to this actual book. It's really hard for me to like classics because I feel like the plot is never original but usually modern day authors copy old authors like Gaskell. She's not my favorite author but I think this book was good. It was often wordy and sad but ultimately conveyed the ideas and the worries of the Industrial Revolution. It gives a decent amount of insight into life during that time.

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CassandraOverney
Jan 06, 2018

I enjoyed listening to the audiobook for North and South, but there were a few elements that I didn't like as much as I could have. I first wanted to read the novel because I heard that it was an industrial Pride and Prejudice. For sure, North and South has similar elements to Pride and Prejudice (it is even more dramatic too), but the plot isn't as smooth. I wanted a super happy story filled with sunshine and rainbows, but North and South definitely had its ups and downs. Overall though, I liked the characters in the novel, and the ending was sweet (even though it felt a little rushed).

Books_and_Ruffles Jul 15, 2017

North and South is one of my all time favorites. It's right up there next to Pride and Prejudice for me. I never tire of Gaskell's Victorian classic of social class, prejudices and misunderstandings, and of course, love. Don't forget to watch the wonderful BBC mini series as well!

t
Tabaqui
Feb 16, 2017

A very deep and richly layered book that is best read in small pieces. It was an eye-opening portrayal of the difference between classes in a factory town. One of the better parts was the fact that there was a happy ending, but the romance wasn't the main focus of the book. Interestingly enough, I recently finished Pride and Prejudice, so I have a good idea of comparison. They are certainly similar in some ways, especially Margaret and Elizabeth, but the overall tone of the story is quite different. North and South seemed to be a heavier book, and the ending, hopeful though it was, didn't feel as rewarding as Austen's. Still, it is a wonderful story that gives definite insight into the town and factories of that time.

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lukasevansherman
Mar 31, 2015

"God help 'em! North an' South have each getten their own troubles."
Perennial overshadowed by major 19th century English novelists like Austen, Eliot, and Dickens, whose "Household Words" magazine she wrote for, Elizabeth Gaskell's major works include "Cranford," "Mary Barton," a life of her friend Charlotte Bronte, and "North and South," which was serialized and then published in 1854. The title refers to the more refined South of England, where the protagonist and her family are from, and the more industrial North, where they move to after her father quits the church. It is a novel of contrasts and offers a great deal of insight into working conditions of the time and the clash between labor and management (sadly still relevant). Those who have an idealistic, romantic view of the Victorian era will be surprised about how much this (and other books of the period) are about economic and social situations. Like Dickens, Gaskell can be long-winded at times and rushed at others, but this is an absorbing and provocative novel that still resonates today. "But I'm tired of this bustle. Everybody rushing over everybody, in their hurry to get rich."

Maggoguen Mar 14, 2014

If you like “Pride and Prejudice” then you will love North and South.
North and South is a novel about rebellion. The author explores the issues of class and gender in the Victorian era. Margaret Hale, the middle-class southerner who moves to the northern industrial town of Milton, is caught up in conflicts: religious, industrial riots, naval mutiny, sympathy for hardworking mill workers and her growing attraction to the charismatic mill owner, John Thornton.

bwortman Mar 28, 2013

Gaskell's novel is a fascinating combination of Victorian romance and a contemporary exploration of the social upheavals that came along with the Industrial Revolution. Margaret and Mr. Thornton are both well-drawn characters each with a realistic combination of virtues and flaws. Watching their clashes and growing realization of their feelings is a delight. Interspersed is a narrative exploring the conflict, so associated with the Industrial Revolution, between the labourers and their employers. While Gaskell's views are unlikely to gibe with modern sensibilities, in Nicholas Higgins she creates a character that moves beyond caricature of the lower class and imbues him with emotion, intelligence, and ultimately makes him a sympathetic figure. A great read whether the politics, the romance, or both are of most interest.

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hmcgivney
Dec 04, 2012

I enjoyed this book immensely, but I think that the soliloquizing on the plight of the workers vs. masters (and also the thread of religion vs. doubt) detracts a bit from the love story. I wouldn't want to lose the Higginses as characters, just some of the social commentary associated with them. One thing I love about this book is that we get the hero's perspective, not just the heroine's POV.

TJBookworm May 24, 2011

In comparing it to the movie, I think the movie actually is better. The actors in the movie do an outstanding job portraying the characters, especially Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale. While reading the book, I felt I could understand the characters better because I had seen the movie. Very much recommend, especially if you've seen the movie. The novel does bear light on the movie.

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AlieGrace
Apr 16, 2018

AlieGrace thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Mar 27, 2011
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sandradeet
Aug 20, 2010

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étoile
Mar 27, 2011

"Our glory and our beauty arise out of our inward strength, which makes us victorious over material resistance and over greater difficulties still."

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étoile
Mar 27, 2011

"We have all of us one human heart."

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