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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

A Classic Tale

Mary Barton caused a furore when first published in October 1848. Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘Tale of Manchester Life,’ with its no-holds-barred depiction of the vast gulf between the cotton masters and their ‘clemmed’ (starving) mill workers, sparked a furious debate in Cottonopolis. Was Gaskell’s novel true to life? Did Mary Barton, as its detractors claimed, exacerbate tensions between the classes rather than promoting greater understanding?
You can find out more in my special feature on Mary Barton in the November issue of History Today.

My book Narrow Windows, Narrow Lives looks at the reality of everyday life for workers in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution in Lancashire. Remember to order early for Christmas!

Image: The Dinner Hour, Manchester. Engraving by R. Kent Thomas (1816-1884.) for Lancashire by Grindon, Leo H., (Seeley & Co., 1892.)


JaneGS said...

Will your article on Mary Barton be available online. I would very much like to read it. I'm also interested in reading your book, Narrow Windows, Narrow Lives as my mother's family were mill workers in Lancashire in the 1840s.

Sue Wilkes said...

Hi there Jane, thank you for stopping by. You'll be able to read it online at the History Today website here: but you have to subscribe or pay per view.
You can order Narrow Windows, Narrow Lives from Amazon or the History Press (the links are on the left hand side of my blog.)