On Reading North and South & travelling to 1850s England

I read Elizabeth Gaskell’s book North and South this week, and between the richly detailed, sensitive characters, the dry wit, and the beauty of the novel, it was a read that was well worth the investment in time. But the book is also a testament to the social and economic structure of the world in the 1850s. Above, my audio reflections on the read.

Would love to have a broader conversation about the book, and so for those who have read it, please do share your thoughts!

Accidental Speech

“I was quite sorry when Miss Thornton came to take me to the other end of the room, saying she was sure I should be uncomfortable at being the only lady among so many gentlemen. I had never thought about it, I was so busy listening; and the ladies were so dull, papa – oh so dull! Yet I think it was clever too. It reminded me of our old game of having each so many nouns to introduce into a sentence.’

‘What do you mean, child?’ asked Mr Hale.

‘Why, they took nouns that were signs of things which gave evidence of wealth – housekeepers, under-gardeners, extent of glass, valuable lace, diamonds, and all such things; and each one formed her speech so as to bring them all in, in the prettiest accidental manner possible.’

~ North and South, p.202 (published 1854)