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Mary Barton

by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

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From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Jesse Larsen
While Mary Barton is literally a murder mystery, it is also an abundantly detailed and sympathetic view of the nineteenth-century English weaving village of Manchester and some of its people. Mary Barton is young, kind, and beautiful - perhaps dangerously so. John Barton, her hearty and intelligent but grievously uneducated father who "could never abide the gentlefolk," pours fierce love and courage into his family and work. When Mary's beautiful Aunt Esther disappears, her beauty is blamed: "Not but what beauty is a sad snare. Here was Esther so puffed up, that there was no holding her in." Mary's love - for her father, her friends, her charming rich suitor (the son of a factory owner), and his rival, her faithful childhood friend Jem who "loves her above life itself" - provides rich texture and suspense in this finely spun tale: will Mary's pride be her ruin? Will Jem pay with his life for his love of Mary? Interspersed with sparse but regular authorial observation, scenes from family life, work, and love in a nineteenth-century industrial village come alive. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14.

Sally Mitchell, Temple University
Another splendid edition from Broadview with the usual high standard of helpful footnotes...

Book Description
This is Elizabeth Gaskell's first novel, a widely acclaimed work based on the actual murder, in 1831, of a progressive mill owner. It follows Mary Barton, daughter of a man implicated in the murder, through her adolescence, when she suffers the advances of the mill owner, and later through
love and marriage. Set in Manchester, between 1837-42, it paints a powerful and moving picture of working-class life in Victorian England.

From the Publisher
Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards.



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