Cousin Phillis by Elizabeth Gaskell

This sentimental tale is not one of the novelist’s major works. However, it may be a popular story for those people who are short on time. Further, there are a few interesting points about this piece of fiction.

The contemporary reader would not have had the opportunity to read it in one go as it was published in sections. This was despite the fact that the tale was brief. Apparently, the original scheme was for a longer narrative. The result is that details might have been savoured. Nonetheless, the nature of the plot means that suspense would not have developed between episodes.

The story is worth a look because of some fine writing and its nostalgic appreciation of simple lives governed in part by Christian ethics. Nevertheless, the dynamism that would transform Britain is included in the largely pastoral text. This is because the railways, a key part of industrial capitalism, are mentioned prominently.

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