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Study Guide: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: Home

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-65) was born on 29 September 1810 in Lindsey Row, Chelsea, at the house which is now 93 Cheyne Walk. She was the daughter of William Stevenson – a treasury official and journalist – and his wife Elizabeth Stevenson (née Holland). Mrs Stevenson died on 29 October 1811, and so at the age of just 13 months, the baby Elizabeth (later known as Lily) was sent to Knutsford in Cheshire to spend her childhood with her mother’s sister, Aunt Hannah Lumb, whom she was later to describe as her ‘more than mother’. Their house, then named The Heath but now Heathwaite House, still stands on what is now called Gaskell Avenue. Knutsford, a small country town, later became the inspiration for Cranford, and also for Hollingford in Wives and Daughters. read more...

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A younger version of Daddy Warbucks meets the female version of Eugene Debs, and mayhem (and love) ensues. An uptight girl meets a working-class boy who's made his fortune, and mayhem (and love) ensues.

Two way different stories, right?

Wrong. These seemingly polar opposite scenarios both describe what happens in North and South when Southern (southern England, that is) belle Margaret Hale encounters Northern self-made man John Thornton. Three hundred pages, multiple deaths and some fierce social commentary later, they realize that okay, yes they do like-like each other.

Let's get back to that "fierce social commentary" part. Because if anyone deserves to be called fierce, it's Elizabeth Gaskell.read more...

Elizabeth Gaskell - Biography

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North and South -- Video

North and South ( BBC 2004 )

North and South Audio Book