This pioneering study, described as 'a model of feminist criticism' (The Year's Work in English Studies) on first publication, revealed Gaskell as an important social analyst who deliberately challenged the Victorian disjunction between public and private ethical values, who maintained a steady resistance to aggressive authority, advocating female friendship, rational motherhood and the power of speech as forces for social change. Since 1987, Gaskell's work has risen from minor to major status. This new edition presents the original text (except for bibliographical updating) together with a new and extensive critical 'Afterword'. This addition contains detailed evaluation of all the Gaskell criticism published between 1985 and 2004 which has a bearing on her thesis, and thus provides both a wide-ranging debate on the social implications of motherhood, and an invaluable survey of Gaskell criticism over the last twenty years. This study will bring a well-tried classic to a new audience, while also offering a uniquely comprehensive overview of current Gaskell studies.About the Author:
Patsy Stoneman is Emeritus Reader in English at the University of Hull
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