Welcome to the 7th stop on the Elizabeth Gaskell 200th Anniversary Blog Tour! Please join me and other Elizabeth Gaskell enthusiasts in honoring her on her birthday today with a blog tour featuring a biography of her life and times, reviews of her books, novella’s and movies, reading resources, and a photo tour of her homes. I cannot say how honored Stiletto Storytime is to be a part of this tour. While my blog may not a period blog, this time in literature holds my heart. Elizabeth Gaskell is one of my personal favorite authors. She is almost like a friend I curl up with when in need of comfort, North & South is not only one of my top five book books but also one of my top five film adaptations as well. To sum it up…I adore her work.
Here on Stiletto Storytime I was to review Gaskell’s work Sylvia’s Lovers which I am enjoying on my Nook but if I could be enjoying a real copy, above is the one I would choose. It has character and was my favorite of the many covers I viewed. I crave old books and this one is one I long to own.
“Set in the isolated whaling port of Monkshaven, Sylvia’s Lovers (1863) exposes the tyrannical press-gangs, one of which carries off Sylvia’s lover, the harpooner Charley Kinraid. Sylvia, left penniless and believing Charley dead, marries her cousin; when her first love returns a hero from the Napoleonic wars, treachery is revealed and Sylvia must make a fateful choice in this strange and powerful dramatization of human destruction.”
I say I was to review…because I have a confession…I have not finished. You see this is the last of Gaskell’s works for me. I have read it all. It’s hard when you realize that there will be no more from one of your favorite authors. That her words are limited. And so I have savored every moment of Sylvia’s Lovers, with its rough and yet lyrical dialect, its humorous depictions of characters I can see vividly in my head such as Sylvia’s father:
“He had a strong notion of being a kind of domestic Jupiter.”
“That’s all t’ women know about it. Wi’ them it’s “coompany, coompany, coompany,” an’ they think a man’s no better than theirsels. A’s have yo’ to know a’ve a vast o’ thoughts in myself’, as I’m noane willing to lay out for t’ benefit o’ every man. A’ve niver gotten time for meditation sin’ a were married; leastways, sin’s left t’ sea. Aboard ship, wi niver a woman wi’n leagues o’ hail, and upo’ t’ masthead, in special, a could.”
As I said I am reading it slowly…and enjoying each of its over 400 pages…at times re-reading passages aloud. To me this better pays tribute to Ms. Gaskell. Better to do it this way than to have rushed through this last treasure for me to get my review up in time. I will not. I will savor every page and sigh when I finish for another great writer will have gone silent. What better review or recommendation can one give than that? For with Gaskell no matter which book you choose, you have chosen well.
In Sylvia’s Lovers I have read as Gaskell does what she does best: spin a story as if a web, a little love, social commentary of humorous intent, memorable characters and the shining of light upon injustice. In Sylivia’s Lovers, we are to learn about the “press gangs”, emissaries of the King’s Navy sent to take men into their ranks by force. Yet another social injustice of a time before that I was unaware of. Perhaps in my confession there is folly but well….
“Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.”
Wives and Daughters
- 1.) Elizabeth Gaskell’s life and times: Vic – Jane Austen’s World
- 2.) Mary Barton (1848) Book: Kelly – Jane Austen Sequel Examiner
- 3.) Cranford (2007) Movie: Laura – The Calico Critic
- 4.) Ruth (1853) Book: Joanna – Regency Romantic
- 5.) North and South (1854–5) Book: Laurel Ann – Austenprose
- 6.) North and South (2004) Movie: Maria – Fly High
- 7.) Sylvia’s Lovers (1863) Book: Courtney – Stiletto Storytime
- 8.) Wives and Daughters (1865) Book: Katherine – November’s Autumn
- 9.) Wives and Daughters (1999) Movie: Elaine – Random Jottings
- 10.) The Life of Charlotte Bronte (1857) Book & (1973) Movie, The Brontes of Haworth: JaneGS – Reading, Writing, Working, Playing
- 11. Mr. Harrison’s Confessions (1851) Book: Alexandra – The Sleepless Reader
- 12. My Lady Ludlow (1859) Book: Alexandra – The Sleepless Reader
- 13. Cousin Phillis (1864) Book: Alexandra – The Sleepless Reader
- 14.) Your Gaskell Library – Links to MP3′s, ebooks, audio books, other downloads and reading resources available online: Janite Deb – Jane Austen in Vermont
- 15) Plymouth Grove – A Visit to Elizabeth Gaskell’s home in Manchester: Tony Grant – London Calling