Penguin Clothbound Classics
I have decided that for 2011, I want to make a more concerted effort to read classics. As an English Lit major in college, I feel like maybe I was so deluged with classics that once I graduated in December 07 that I pretty much threw that genre to the wayside (if it can even be referred to as a genre!). The first on my list to tackle this year was Cranford , by Elizabeth Gaskell. I read Sylvia’s Lovers last year for the Classics Circuit and thought it was really well done, so I was anxious to read more Gaskell.
Cranford is a look into a predominantly female town and the dynamics therein. It’s more subtle than your typical novel, in that it is more of an expose of everyday life than anything else. The narrator is a woman named Mary who is younger than the other women of the town and is not a resident of Cranford , although she stays with Miss Matty Jenkyns for prolonged visits. Matty is one of those sweet older ladies who always wants to do right by everyone else and is careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings. This leads to her being one of the most revered women in Cranford , which is evident by the end of the book as far as everyone’s treatment of her goes.
The edition of Cranford that I read was the Penguin clothbound classic, and I loved that it included so many essays, as well as an in-depth introduction (which I couldn’t read until after I had finished Cranford , as the introduction contained spoilers), a glossary and endnotes. It’s nice to have all that information to refer to, and often when I am done reading a book that had an impact on me, having essays regarding the text is almost as good as having an actual person to discuss the book with!
Admittedly, there were times when I was a tad bit bored with Cranford , but it helped that I knew exactly what I was getting into. This is definitely more of a character driven novel over plot, so while that doesn’t always work for me, I made certain to pick Cranford up at a time when I was looking for that type of book. It has convinced me now even more that I would like to read more of Gaskell, especially Wives and Daughters, which seems to be a favorite among other bloggers!
I purchased this book from Anthropologie.
This book counts towards the Victorian Lit challenge.