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A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Title: Cranford

Author and Title: Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell. Cranford

First Edition: London: Chapman and Hall, 1853. 1 volume.


Summary: The novel is really a series of episodes in the lives of the residents of Cranford, a small town in Cheshire. The narrator, Mary Smith, visits the town and stays with her spinster aunts, the friendly Matilda "Matty" Jenkyns and the more rigid Deborah Jenkyns, both daughter of the late rector. The arrival of Captain Brown, a retired army officer, and his daughters the invalid Miss Brown and Jessie Brown, disrupt the smooth-running society. He, a champion of Dickens's novel Pickwick Papers, annoys Deborah with his taste in literature and rough manners. Captain Brown dies in a train accident and, after the death of her sister, Jessie marries Major Gordon. Matty visits an old lover Thomas Holbrook, a successful farmer, who dies after visiting Paris. The arrival of the traveling magician Signor Brunoni and his wife causes another stir in the town. Deborah dies, leaving Matty alone in the world. After the bank fails where Matty's small investments reside, she opens a small tea shop. She is saved from her poverty by the arrival of her wealthy brother Peter from India. (TJB)

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References: BL; Sutherland


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