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Cranford (Anglais) Poche – 25 février 2010

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Revue de presse

"Bathed in a poignant, dreamlike mood found nowhere else in fiction" (Guardian)

"A comic masterpiece" (Independent) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Présentation de l'éditeur

The formidable Miss Deborah Jenkyns and the kindly Miss Matty live in a village where women rule and men usually tend to get in the way. Their days revolve around card games, tea, thriftiness, friendship and an endless appetite for scandal (from the alarming sight of a cow in flannel pyjamas to the shocking news of the titled lady who marries a surgeon). But, like it or not, change is coming into their world - whether it is the new ideas of Captain Brown, a bank collapse, rumours of burglars or the unexpected return of someone from the past.

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très beau roman d'Elisabeth Gaskell - si vous êtes romantique n'hésitez pas vous passerez un très bon moment avec ce bouquin -
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10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Three Charming Stories 28 décembre 2014
Par Patricia C. Stendal - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This volume contains three independent novels. The first one, The Cranford Novellas consists of stories about a small town where the society is composed and controlled by elderly women. The stories are written in first person by a younger woman who lives in a different town but who frequently visits Cranford as a house guest of the Jenkyns sisters, two spinsters who rank high in the society. The older, Miss Deborah Jenkyns. is severe and controlling while Miss Matty, the younger, is sweet and loving. The narrator, Mary Smith, is enveloped into the society and makes pithy comments on the culture of Cranford, which has been frozen in time in a state that is old-fashioned even to her Victorian notion. A few men characters come into the story and add spice to the tale. Interesting characters are well developed, and I understand that Cranford was produced as a TV mini-series. This is an amusing read.

The second novel is Mr. Harrison's Confession. The story starts in a cozy drawing room in the home of Mr. Harrison. (I don't know why he isn't called Dr. Harrison, as he is a medical doctor.) His brother has just returned to England after spending many years in Ceylon. The brother, Charles, asks the doctor how he wooed and won his charming wife. Mr. Harrison warns that it will be a long story, but with Charles' encouragement, he launches into the tale. As a new young doctor, working under Mr. Morgan, an established village doctor, Mr. Harrison becomes embroiled in a horrendous romantic tangle that seems impossible to resolve. He finds that three young women think they are engaged to him at the same time, and that does not include the girl he loves and wants to marry. Read the story to see how it comes out.

I give it four stars instead of five only because I feel it doesn't quite reach the level of many books of my favorite Victorian author Margaret Oliphant.

The third novel is My Lady Ludlow. This story is also told in the first person by Margaret Dawson, a young girl who at sixteen is the oldest daughter of a large family of nine children. Upon the death of her clergyman father, Margaret's mother, who boasts some noble blood and connections, sends out letters far and wide to loosely related persons asking for help in raising her large family. An answer comes back from Lady Ludlow offering to take Margaret and incorporate her into her household where she is raising five young women who are somehow related to her, no matter how distantly. Margaret becomes one of the five. The rest of the novel centers around the Hanbury Estate of which Lady Ludlow is the noble person in charge.

Lady Ludlow has also been the mother of nine children, but has lost them all except for the oldest, Lord Ludlow, lord of the Ludlow estates but who presently is representing England as ambassador to a European country. Lady Ludlow on the other hand is the lady of the estate of her own family Hanbury. Lady Ludlow believes strongly in the superiority of the nobility and very much looks down on the common people. She is very annoyed by a young clergyman, Mr. Gray, who has ideas of educating the poor on her estate. The plot is well developed and centers around the "modern" idea of having a school for the poor. Lady Ludlow, who in spite of her superiority complex is a charming, lovable little person with a soft heart, is very opinionated against the idea, and at one point she tells Margaret a long story about how the ability of a common boy to read caused the death of a friend of hers, a young noble Frenchman, and his beloved on the guillotine. Margaret by this time has become a cripple and because of her disability spends much time in a soft chair in Lady Ludlow's room and to some extent becomes her confident.

As well as her prejudice against the social rise of commoners, the lady also has a strong dislike towards Dissenters, and feels that illegitimate children should be treated as though they do not exist. While not a major thrust of the book, these two prejudices of Lady Ludlow's are dealt with as well. I appreciated seeing these social issues through the eyes of a gentlewoman of the early 19th century.
45 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "Our Society" 23 août 2010
Par Westley - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
"Cranford" is likely the best known novel of Victorian author Elizabeth Gaskell. The novel follows the day-to-day social lives of a group of upper-middle-class women in the small, fictional town of Cranford, England. Rather than having a strong narrative, the novel delivers a tableau of social goings on that illuminate the characters and their lives. These stories are told largely through the eyes of a younger lady (Miss Mary Smith) who often visits from a nearby town. The ladies of Cranford are not rich, but wealthy enough to belong to a certain social strata, and much of the comedy derives from their careful considerations of who to include and exclude at various social gatherings. Miss Matty is essentially the main protagonist, and she is a basically kind woman if a bit miserly, especially when it comes to candles. She and her friends typically look to the most prominent member of Cranford female society, Miss Jamieson, and then assiduously follow her lead. Unfortunately, Miss Jamieson is sometimes rather narrow-minded, unlike the other ladies, which creates certain socially awkward situations.

This enjoyable novel may seem a bit meandering to some readers, given that there is not a main narrative thread. The novel was originally published in serialized form in "Household Words" (edited by Charles Dickens), which may partially help explain its lack of a strong plot. Indeed, the 2007 BBC mini-series versions of "Cranford" included stories from several of Gaskell's other novels. However, the stories here all add up to a devastatingly accurate picture of small town life and the sometimes vicious yet amusing ways in which people in them behave. Gaskell clearly understood human nature, and readers are likely to recognize many truths about human foibles in her stories. I found myself laughing and touched often.

Note: This review is for the Kindle version. The text is well-arranged and does not contain any noticeable errors, although there are lots of spaces in between section and subsections (which actually makes reading easier). This version has no extras, such as a biography of Gaskell or an introduction to the text; however, such materials are so easily available on the internet now that this exclusion is not a major debit.
67 internautes sur 67 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Cransford Chronicles 4 septembre 2008
Par egreetham - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This Viking edition includes "Mr. Harrison's Confession," "Cranford," and "My Lady Ludlow," the three novellas
combined to produce the Cranford BBC series. The works are quite different from each other, "My Lady Ludlow" differing the most in tone and style.

"Mr. Harrison's Confession" is the droll account of a young doctor who comes to Dunscombe (a Cranford stand-in) to practice with the much older Mr. Morgan, an old friend of his father's. As young Harrison makes the transition from the lively streets of London to the quaint lanes of the little town to which he has moved, he is involved in many humorous misunderstandings--and especially troublesome are those caused by a prankster friend of his! There are poignant moments too, as Mr. Harrison and the townspeople learn to know each other, and the young doctor finds love.

"Cranford" is the most fully fleshed out of the three novellas, and easily the most readily absorbed by the modern reader. To one who grew up in New England of swamp Yankee parentage, the mindset of the Cranford ladies is completely familiar. Why care about dress when everyone in your town knows what clothes you own, and why care when you are away where no one knows you at all? The various subplots of the story are very reminiscent Sarah Orne Jewett, who wrote a few decades later in the US--"The Country of the Pointed Firs," for example. The novel comprises several interlocking stories centering on Miss Matilda Jenkyns, her family and her friends who inhabit the little town of Cransford--a town of Amazons. Very few men live in the village. Though many of the stories are humorous, there are those that touch the heart.

"My Lady Ludlow" is the most old-fashioned of the three novellas--set decades before the others at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and full of sentiment. Lady Ludlow, herself in old age, must learn to change as the world around her does. The story, narrated by a young woman in frail health, from the vantage point of later years, contains a lengthy and melodramatic subplot reminiscent of "A Tale of Two Cities."

"Cranford" is a wonderful piece of work, and the other two novellas are very enjoyable. Especially if you liked the BBC series, you'll enjoy this book.
169 internautes sur 173 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Classic historical literature which is actually fun to read. 12 mai 2008
Par J. Lesley - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Let me begin this review by saying that if you are thinking about reading this book only because of the BBC series, you will find it very disappointing. The makers of that series used the authors name, the title of the book and some of the characters but the remainder of their production is pure invention. I am enjoying watching the BBC program, but it is not this book.

Ms Charlotte Mitchell provides an Introduction and Notes for this book. It is my belief that it is essesntial to read the Introduction in order to fully understand Cranford. Elizabeth Gaskell had written a series of stories which appeared at irregular intervals in a magazine edited by Charles Dickens titled Household Words. The stories first appeared together as a novel in 1853. Ms Mitchell uses the Introduction to explain the chronology for the publishing of this and other novels by Elizabeth Gaskell. She also takes this opportunity to explore the question of whether or not Cranford was ever meant to be taken seriously by readers of Ms Gaskell since her other novels are so very different in tone from this one.

One of the things I really appreciate which Ms Mitchell did was to include the Notes section to explain words and phrases which appear in the book which were very well understood in the 1800's but which may be unfamiliar to readers today. I read a lot of historical romantic fiction and these Notes gave me concrete explanations for words and phrases I have been too lazy to research for myself. I thought I knew what they meant before, now I know for sure. Items such as:

1. gigot - a sleeve style described as leg-of-mutton
2. baby-house - a dolls house
3. sarsenet - a soft thin silk material
4. blind man's holiday - a proverbial term for night or twilight

Ms Mitchell states in the Introduction that Gaskell later came to regret the fact that she had caused Colonel Brown to be killed in the first story. If he had remained a character longer in the series, I think that Cranford might have gone in a very different direction. As it is, Cranford is the story of a certain class of women, either unmarried or widowed, who live in a small English villiage. The main character is Miss Matty Jenkyns who only comes into prominence after the death of her older sister, Miss Deborah. The women relish their lack of male inhabitants and see themselves as lucky in not having to deal with the ways of men, which they see as uncouth and almost barbaric (they will speak too loud!). There is a very strict social structure among these women, even as to what time of day they can visit each other and what kind of clothes they should be wearing when the visits take place. These rules are in place to keep everyone on an even keel, so that everyone understands the rules, and no one may change the rules without the approval of the most prestigious ranking member of their set.

Cranford is a study in contrasts. The differences in the male approach to the world, with their freedoms, and the female approach to the world, with all the restrictions placed upon them. I can honestly say that I had fun reading this book. I grinned, smiled, chuckled and even laughed out loud. No episode was too tiny to cause a complete, unrealistic upheaval among the ladies of Cranford. One of my favorite parts of the story concerns how they all react when rumor and half-truths have them convinced that a gang of thieves and burglars are roaming the countryside. It is funny and heartwarming but also sad to see the lengths they go to in order to protect themselves and their households from these thieves who are, in reality, simply the result of gossip and overactive imaginations. Another part I am particularly fond of is when the main characters allow themselves to unbend to the extent of divulging to their friends what their worst fear is. Miss Matty revealed that she was afraid each night that a man was hiding under her bed. Her method of reassuring herself that no person was there was actually quite astute and surprising for this woman's character. But Cranford is not all warm feelings and quaint happenings. There are real tragedies which effect these women and move their lives into totally different directions.

This book is told in the narrative style, something which I usually do not like. There is very little dialogue. The name of the narrator is not even mentioned until page 137. I had read the persons name in the Introduction but I was very surprised to see that this type of presentation did not detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. It is not the most exciting book I have ever read, it is not a very long book, and it does not require much stretching of the readers intellect but I enjoyed all of the time I spent reading it and will certainly read it over and over.

Very highly recommended for any reader who enjoys historical fiction. It is not a romance, more a journal of the everyday lives of women who depend on themselves and their friends for comfort and companionship.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The English Way 16 février 2016
Par Lewis Woolston - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I had previously read "Wives and Daughters" by the same author and enjoyed it so I thought I would give this a try. I am a dedicated anglophile in my literary taste. I have a strong preference that my reading should have a lot of writers who are English and dead.
Cranford centres on a little village in the English countryside of the same name. The majority of the inhabitants are women, widows and spinsters living genteel lives on inherited money. Their days are spent socializing with each other and the village and church parish fill up their lives. The scene is charming and makes one homesick for a time and a place I've never actually lived in.
The real substance of this novel is the relationships of the women with each other and how they endure the various turns of life. Some harbour secret regrets for never marrying and having children and live quiet lives of loneliness and desperation as elderly spinsters too proud and decent to let anyone know how they suffer. Others grieve for family long dead and gone and confine their hope for the life hereafter as promised by their church.
The whole novel is beautiful and deserves to be read as an ode to vanished small town English life as well as the secret lives of women.
I would gladly read it again.
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