Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Cranford Read-Along Post 1: Chapters 1-8.

I have been participating in the Cranford read-along hosted over at A Literary Odyssey. This is the first of two posts and covers chapters 1-8.

Written during the Victorian era, Cranford was based on the town of Knutsford in Cheshire where Gaskell spent a great deal of her childhood and adult life. Elizabeth was encouraged to write a novel by her husband after the death of one of their children. Gaskell was often in the company of other great writers of her time including Charles Dickins and Charlotte Bronte. Indeed when Charlotte Bronte died, Charlotte's father Patrick Bronte asked Gaskell to write her biography.

Cranford started life as six episodes published in Household Words, a literary magazine edited by Charles Dickins. After the publication of six parts the stories were published as a novel.

Cranford is a place where most of the propriators are women and whoms lives represent a dying way of life in England at that time. It was written around the time of the Industrial revolution when country ways in England was changing forever. The book focuses on a small community made up of mostly widows and spinsters who go about their non-eventful lifes gossiping, going to tea, and trying to live in a more gential life.

There is no actual plot in the first eight chapters and perhaps I am not selling this very well, I have been reading a chapter a day as each chapter is only about 10 pages each but are still miniture stories in themselves. So far I have been finding the chapters a delight to read each day (especially nice considering some of the depressing stuff I read) and I find them both funny and charming. There has been tragdy and death in the parts I have read yet this book is never depressing and I am looking forward to reading the next eight chapters.

Posted by Jess


  1. "...perhaps I am not selling this very well"

    I felt the same way. I am enjoying the book, but it's hard to describe why. I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks about the second half.

  2. I like that the town is immune to the Industrial Revolution. It seems those were much simpler days, and I love to read about them! Just proves that you don't need a whole lot in the way of society to create a story. Just a few interesting characters and their interactions.

  3. I had difficulty trying to find a way to describe it too. It's one you have to read to appreciate, I think.

  4. I had troubles expressing my thoughts too. Which is strange considering I'm enjoying it.

  5. I think Cat your right, its one you really have to read because no matter how I describe it it sounds really boring!.

  6. I'm glad that you're enjoying it. I also find it hard to describe to people who aren't reading it in a way that shows how simply wonderful it is. I think the small details the narrator gives really make the stories. And it does come together a little more as it goes on I think.