|Going Home at Dusk, by John Atkinson Grimshaw|
fever, in one of her letters she wrote:
The greater part of the first volume was written when I was obliged to lie down constantly on the sofa, and when I took refuge in the invention to exclude the memory of painful scenes which would force themselves upon my remembrance. It is no wonder then that the whole book seems to be written in the minor key;Others deemed it was one-sided and many masters were outraged:
“Half the masters here a bitterly angry with me-- half (and the best half) are buying it to give to their work-people’s libraries."I'm about halfway and, yes, there have been many tragedies and deaths, while they could seem unrealistic Mary Barton takes place around the 'hungry forties' when potato crops were blighted-- the working class survived on potatoes and oatmeal. We also have to bear in mind that Manchester was extremely over-populated, over a few decades the number had more than doubled and it wasn't designed to sustain so many, resulting in appalling living conditions which in turn brought disease and cholera. Her prose isn't as well-developed as by the time she writes Ruth but her warmth of feeling creates some beautiful passages:
He wondered if any in all the hurrying crowd had come from such a house of mourning. he thought they all looked joyous, and he was angry with them. But he could not, you cannot, read the lot of those who daily pass you by in the street. How do you know the wild romances of their lives; the trials, the temptations they are even now enduring, resisting, sinking under?I've managed to avoid spoilers despite the fact I've been researching about Gaskell but one thing I have learned is she wrote it with the title of John Barton (Mary's father) it was only at her publisher's insistence that it was changed. I'm not yet convinced the portrayal of the masters is so one-sided Jem Wilson's employer seems just but there could be something pivotal I've yet to read with regards to that part of the story.