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Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

Wives and Daughters is a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell which primarily published in the Cornhill Magazine as a series from 1864 to 1866. The last portion of the novel is written by Frederick Greenwood.

It is written in instalments during Elizabeth’s stay with a beautician, Mary Elizabeth Mohl at her residence on the Rue de Bac street in Paris. It was not totally completed When Mrs Gaskell passed away in 1865.

Wives and Daughters is a novel by the English author Elizabeth Gaskell of the Victorian era. It is first published serially in The Cornhill Magazine and then in book form in 1866. The novel was incomplete at the time of her death in 1865.

It is s famous for the last and the finest work of Gaskell. It has to do with the engaged fortunes of many families in the town of Hollingford.

Wives and Daughters Summary

The novel, Wives and Daughters opens with Molly Gibson who has been raised by her single father. It portrays the maturity of Molly Gibson who is a sincere young woman. Her father who is a doctor of the town, marries Hyacinth Kirkpatrick, an attractive but trivial widow and erstwhile governess of the household of Lord Cumnor.

Although Molly dislikes her stepmother but befriends her stepsister Cynthia who has been educated in France and far more rebellious. Cynthia is secretly engaged to Lord Cumnor’s land representative, Mr Preston, who is rumoured to be a gambler.

Mr Gibson finds out the secret affection of Mr Coxe towards Molly and sends her to Hamley’s to stay with them. Molly is warmly welcomed to the house of Squire Hamley and his disabled wife. Squire Hamley’s two sons are Osborne who is a clever but superficial person who has married a French Roman Catholic ex- nursery maid hastily and dies young, and Roger who is an honest scientist.

Roger gets engaged to Cynthia, but at the end eventually marries Molly.
Cynthia ultimately marries a barrister of London. The novel remains incomplete at the time of Gaskell’s death and later on, Frederick Greenwood completed it.

Wives and Daughters Analysis

Elizabeth Gaskell writes a novel that is a collection of excellent character sketches which together create a novel about the happiness and sorrows of the people of Hollingford. the story revolves around a young girl’s growth and change.

This text is established in the Cornhill Magazine version of the novel. This one also incorporates notes on textual variations between this edition and the original one. A note on the novel’s introduction and ending discuss the novel’s investigation of themes.

Significance of Hollingford

Hollingford is an English provincial town that gives the main idea in which country life and her central figures interact as their stories proceed. It is a small community of simple people. This place is representative of many English country towns with old and backdated aristocracies. It is a small community of country folks, with a few irregularities.

Hollingford is a very dull, backdated and slow-paced place, on which the novel is based. The women of this place should be in the home, doing needlework or reading pretty books and novels, doing the household chores.

Molly Gibson, the central figure of the novel, lives her whole life in Hollingford. Despite her familiarity with the town and its people, she is under the regulations of her own timidity and modesty.

The leader of the citizens is the count and countess Cumnor. Other inhabitants include figures such as the two Misses Browning, as representatives of small English country towns. These women represent the past, concentrating here and there with disapproval at change.

Not all Hollingford people can go to London or other cosmopolitan cities for a change of air. This cause for much talk, anticipation and great preparation is an event at Cumnor Towers.

Cumnor Towers

Cumnor Towers is an official residence and estate of the count and countess, Cumnor, who carry on the old traditions of noblesse oblige by occasionally hosting balls for their country folks to display their gentility and culture. The count and countess live in waning respectability, and their daughter, Lady Harriet.

Mr Gibson and his daughter have to adjust to his new wife’s tendency posh domesticity and her emulative taste of the aristocratic Cumnors’ elegance. Mr Gibson’s forced silence in all of his wife’s wishes and desires leave attention for Molly’s emotional sufferings.

Eventually, this home becomes a jail to Molly. Mr Gibson finds out the secret affection of Mr Coxe towards Molly and sends her to Hamley’s.

Hamley Hall

Hamley Hall is the home and estate of Squire Hamley, which represents an aspect of country society that contradicts strongly to that of the old fashioned aristocracy.

Wives and Daughters Famous Quotes

• “Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.”

• “How easy it is to judge rightly after one sees what evil comes from judging wrongly.”

• “How easy it is to judge rightly after one sees what evil comes from judging wrongly.”
• “I would far rather have two or three lilies of the valley gathered for me by a person I like than the most expensive bouquet that could be bought!”

Wives and Daughters film

The novel was adapted by television in 1971.
BBC produced a serial based on the novel with a cinematic screenplay in 1999. It was written by Andrew Davies. The movie Wives and Daughters features Justine Waddell, Bill Paterson, Rosemond Pike, Francesca Annie, Keeley Hawes and others.

Frequently asked questions

• Who wrote Wives and Daughters?
Famous English author of the Victorian era, Elizabeth Gaskell wrote the Wives and Daughters novel.

• What year Wives and Daughters was set in?
Wives and Daughters was set in 1832.

• Where was Wives and Daughters filmed?
Wives and Daughters was filmed in London, UK.

• Ending of Wives and Daughters.
The original novel has no certain end and it’s incomplete. In the BBC edition, Roger marries Molly and they return to Africa.