• Publication Date: August 19, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781551115993 / 1551115999
  • 300 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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  • Publication Date: August 19, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781551115993 / 1551115999
  • 300 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Elizabeth Gaskell’s episodic second novel, sometimes dismissed as nostalgically “charming,” is now considered by many critics to be her most sophisticated work. The country town of Cranford is home to a group of women, affectionately called “Amazons” by the narrator, whose seemingly uneventful lives are full of conflicts, failures, and unexpected connections. A rich commentary on Victorian culture by one of its most astute observers, Cranford owes its enduring popularity to the complex pleasures it offers the reader.

This Broadview Edition provides an assortment of historical materials to put the novel in context, including Gaskell’s letters from the period of the novel’s writing, excerpts from texts read by the characters, illustrations from the novel and from contemporary periodicals, and other Victorian writings on industrialization, etiquette, and domestic life.


“Elizabeth Langland’s edition of Cranford is likely to introduce a new generation of readers to the pleasures of Gaskell’s most delightful but least immediately appreciated novel. By including in her appendices of historical materials choice selections from conduct books and writings on political and domestic economy, as well as in her informed, accessible introduction, Langland demonstrates that, appearances aside, the world of Cranford is firmly located in its Victorian context and addresses, however obliquely, some of the most intractable problems of its age—and of ours.” — Eileen Gillooly, Columbia University

Elizabeth Gaskell: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text


Appendix A: Pre- and Post-Cranford Texts

  1. Elizabeth Gaskell, “The Last Generation in England” (1849)
  2. Elizabeth Gaskell, “The Cage at Cranford” (1863)

Appendix B: Cranford Correspondence

  1. Letters of Charles Dickens (1850–53)
  2. Letters of Mrs. Gaskell (1851–65)
  3. Letters of Charlotte Brontë (1852–53)

Appendix C: Contemporary Reviews and Tributes

  1. From [Henry Forgehill Chorley], The Athenaeum (25 June 1853)
  2. The Examiner (23 July 1853)
  3. Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (September 1853)
  4. “A Few Words on Social Philosophy,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (April 1858)
  5. “Mrs. Gaskell,” The Nation (7 December 1865)

Appendix D: Industrialization and Moral Responsibility

  1. From Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)
  2. From Maria Edgeworth, The Parent’s Assistant or Stories for Children (1796?)
  3. From Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton (1848)

Appendix E: Class, Conduct, and Etiquette

  1. From Charles Day, Hints on Etiquette and the Usages of Society with a Glance at Bad Habits (1836)
  2. From Anon., Etiquette for the Ladies (1837)

Appendix F: Economies Political and Domestic

  1. From Sarah Stickney Ellis, The Women of England (1839)
  2. From Eliza Acton, Modern Cookery in All its Branches (1845)
  3. From Isabella Beeton, Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861)
  4. From J.S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy (1848)
  5. From Charles Lamb, Essays of Elia (1823)
  6. From George Eliot, Scenes of Clerical Life (1857)

Select Bibliography

Elizabeth Langland is Professor of English and Dean of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. She has published widely on Victorian literature.