As the author of "domestic" and "political" novels, Elizabeth Gaskell has a divided image. Patsy Stoneman's pioneering feminist study looks closely at the reason for this split, seeing it as the result of treating class and gender as separate issues, and offers a radical rereading by considering them in conjunction. Though her work displays little "rage and rebellion," Gaskell is shown to maintain an informed and steady resistance to aggressive authority, advocating the importance of female friendship, rational motherhood, and the power of speech as forces for social change.
About: 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.
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