“Cranford” by Elizabeth Gaskell

Centred around the fictional village of Cranford, this book by Elizabeth Gaskell is a charming, comic look at the genteel early Victorian village community with its predominately female population resolved to maintain their traditions and society, resisting the onward march of the progress.

While I loved the writing style, the subject and the characters, I found I’d been spoiled by watching the BBC adaptation first. The trouble with reading the book second was that the stories and events were in a different order to the adaptation, different characters got married (or even died!) than did on the television, and whereas dialogue is obviously important in the visual medium, the style of the writing (similar to a journal) didn’t include much actual dialogue and the nature of conversation is implied rather than written.

I think if I’d read the book before having seen the series I would have loved it, and although I can usually isolate the two mediums and view them as separate entities, in this case, I just couldn’t achieve that. I will, however, look to read North and South by Gaskell, as I’ve never seen it on screen, and I think I will enjoy the style, and the period, characters and society the author writes about.

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One thought on ““Cranford” by Elizabeth Gaskell

  1. After seeing the series I looked at my bookshelf and found Cranford among my antique books. I’d always planned on reading it, but never did. I’ve pulled it down just in case I get the urge.

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