Elizabeth Gaskell

This study portrays Elizabeth Gaskell as an important social analyst who deliberately challenged the Victorian disjunction between public and private ethical values, maintaining a steady resistance to aggressive authority and advocating female friendship, rational motherhood and the power of speech as forces for social change. Since 1987, Gaskell's work has risen from minor to major status. Despite a wealth of subsequent gender-oriented criticism, however, this book's combination of psychoanalytic and political analysis is challenging in its use of modern motherhood theories. It presents the original text unchanged (except for bibliographical updating), together with a new critical Afterword. The Afterword offers detailed evaluation of all the Gaskell criticism published between 1985 and 2004 that has a bearing on the book's subject, and thus provides both a wide-ranging debate on the social implications of motherhood and a survey of Gaskell criticism over the last twenty years. This edition, with an updated bibliography and index, will bring the book to a new audience, while also offering a comprehensive overview of current Gaskell studies.

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