Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

North and South--Book and BBC

Have made me give up American Pastoral, and work, and breathing, for a few days.

But how worth it it's been! What a fantastic story.
I'm in literary love.


I love it when a wonderful book and a wonderful movie adaptation are each wonderful in a different way. Although the Gaskell book exposed social ills, Victorian-style, and featured more romantic chemistry and less caricatures than a Dickens novels, the movie successfully managed to amp up the drama on both counts by taking us into the mill and casting the unconventionally gorgeous Daniela Denby-Ashe and the properly smouldering and rough-shod Richard Armitage.

I haven't been that absorbed in a book in ages; the edgy love story wasn't all that pushed me through it either. Margaret Hale is an incredible character; flawed but fiesty, kindly inclined but young and naive. Gaskell's style is properly Victorian without being difficult. I love her straightforwardness. She's like an Eliot for the working classes.

I also found the novel to be incredibly proto-feminist in the way that it advocates a union between female and male to bring about social change. Gaskell has presented us with a strong woman whose kindness influences a formerly male-run institution to move forward in a compassionate way, and to me that's not a cop-out, it's incredibly insightful for its time. And actually for ours. Because feminism isn't just about women being badasses and assuming power, it's also about formerly patriarchal institutions gaining a bit of gentleness. You know who understands that? Elizabeth Gaskell, that's who!

Hillary Clinton, are you listening?


  1. I'm in love too - but I haven't read the book! I guess I'd better rememdy that soon!

  2. yes, my obsessiveness made me pick up the book as soon as I had finished the series, and neglect everything else for a few days. But it was worth the pounding headache I got! Both great in their own ways. First time since I read David Copperfield over a year ago I've read something Austen or Bronte worthy (my ultimate measure of a book's success)

  3. very tru...gaskell/eliot '08?