First published in 1975, this book places Elizabeth Gaskell amongst the major novelists of the nineteenth-century. It considers how she has sometimes been overlooked, or admired for very few of her works, or for reasons that are not in fact central to her art. W. A. Craik looks at Gaskell’s full-length novels with three main purposes: to analyse her development as a novelist, her achievements, and the nature of her very original work; to see what she owes to earlier novelists, what she learns from them, and how far she is an innovator; and to put her in relation to those other novelists who write on similar themes with comparable aims. This book establishes Elizabeth Gaskelll’s excellence in comparison with her peers by demonstrating how far she extended the possibilities of the novel, both in materials and techniques.

chapter 1|46 pages

Mary Barton

chapter 2|42 pages


chapter 3|51 pages

North and South

chapter 4|60 pages

Sylvia's Lovers

chapter 5|69 pages

Wives and Daughters