Elizabeth Gaskell has long been one of the most popular of Victorian novelists, yet in her lifetime her shorter fictions were equally well loved, and they are among the most accomplished examples of the genre. The heart of this collection is Gaskell's novella Cousin Phillis, a lyrical masterpiece that depicts a vanishing way of life and a girl's disappointment in love: deceptively simple, its undercurrent of feeling leaves an indelible impression. The other five stories in this selection range from a quietly original tale of urban poverty and a fallen woman to an historical tale in which echoes of the French Revolution, the bleakness of winter in Westmorland, and a tragic secret are brought vividly to life. Heather Glen's illuminating introduction is the first to offer extended consideration of Gaskell as a writer of short stories, discussing Gaskell's pre-eminent role in developing the genre and setting each story in the context of their original periodical publication. The volume includes a chronology, bibliography, and invaluable notes.
About the Author
Heather Glen is Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge.
This bok completes the Gaskell Challenge for me. This book was pretty good, but in no way compares to "Ruth". Although the writing was equal to that in "Ruth," the story was not nearly as compelling. The story is being told by Phillis' cousin. He introduces her to his friend, Mr. Holdsworth. Mr Holdsworth is a very educated, well traveled young man. Phillis, on the other hand has led a very sheltered life. She is an only child of a minister and they live on a country farm. Mr Holdsworth tells his friend that he is in love with phillis, but he has to leave for an extended trip for his job. After he leaves, Phillis seems to become despondent, so her cousin tells her about Mr Holdsworth's love. She gets better, but Mr Holdsworth does not come back, he marrys another woman. So, Phillis is left alone after all. Although I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, it will not deter me from reading more of Elizabeth Gaskel's works.