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Mary Barton (Penguin Classics)

by Elizabeth Gaskell

ISBN 014043464X / 9780140434644 / 0-14-043464-X
Publisher Penguin Classics
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

O Jem, her father wont listen to me, and its you must save Mary! Youre like a brother to her

Mary Barton, the daughter of disillusioned trade unionist, rejects her working-class lover Jem Wilson in the hope of marrying Henry Carson, the mill owners son, and making a better life for herself and her father. But when Henry is shot down in the street and Jem becomes the main suspect, Mary finds herself painfully torn between the two men. Through Marys dilemma, and the moving portrayal of her father, the embittered and courageous activist John Barton, Mary Barton (1848) powerfully dramatizes the class divides of the hungry forties as personal tragedy. In its social and political setting, it looks towards Elizabeth Gaskells great novels of the industrial revolution, in particular North and South.

In his introduction Maconald Daly discusses Elizabeth Gaskells first novel as a pioneering book that made public the great division between rich and poor  a theme that inspired much of her finest work.

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