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Thread: Mary Barton - an industrial novel

  1. #16
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carmilla View Post
    In one of the notes in my copy of the book it explains that:

    'a Communist: Gaskell probably uses the term to refer to followers of the Socialist principles of Robert Owen (1771-1858) the utopian reformer. Communism was not established formally in Britain until 1847, when the Communist League established a Central Committee in London.'
    Robert Owen, I will have to look him up.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    I thought so myself, regarding the mortality rate. Thankfully, the rate of death started to slow down a bit after the first few chapters. There were a fair few deaths in North and South too. It is shocking to think such a plot would be plausible in a realistic (for the most part) novel.

    It wasn't the case everyone died young in them days. I was struck while reading a biography of Florence Nightingale, the C19th health reformer, how many of her family lived to very old age. Florence lived until she was 90. When I read a book about the history of economics, I was quite surprised by how old so many eminent economists were when they died. I suppose Florence and the economists were from pretty well-off backgrounds. They had enough to eat and did not have to live in overcrowded or insanitary conditions. All the same, I was surprised.
    It's very good to know that some people lived to be older. It's a nice surprise.

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    Actually, Gaskell was annoyed when her purpose was misunderstood as nothing was further from her thoughts than stirring up strife. In a letter to Mary Ewart in late 1848 she wrote 'No one can feel more deeply than I how wicked it is to do anything to excite class against class.'

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