This is the second day when I’m fortunate enough to welcome North & South continuation writer Trudy Brasure, author of A Heart for Milton and In Consequence.
You can check out Trudy’s previous post here.
I hope you all did your homework from yesterday and have thoroughly researched the answers to the quiz questions!
You can also get your hands on Trudy’s latest book In Consequence which is a corker, so check out the giveaway info 🙂
and now, here are ….
Trudy’s PET PEEVES regarding North and South
(John withers away insipid comments with one penetrating stare…)
Mind you, I’m aware that my passion for my favorite book/film can get rather geeky and intense. But I’ve spent the last four years thinking about and discussing Gaskell’s story and characters. Forgive me.
#1 The constant comparison of Gaskell to Austen and North and South to Pride and Prejudice. Must every story with a failed proposal set in the horse and buggy days hearken us back to Austen’s patented plot? Couldn’t we look at Gaskell’s merits as a writer based on her own style and subject material? Austen and Gaskell aren’t even from the same era for crying out loud! Bronte and Dickens seem more likely comparisons for the passion and social issues dealt with in North and South. I know this annoying occurrence will never cease in my lifetime but …Grrr!
#2 The half-knowledge behind the oft-repeated fact that Gaskell was rushed to finish her ending. Yes, Dickens forced her to hurry her story’s conclusion during the serial publication of N&S in his magazine. It’s a tasty tidbit of history that sticks in the mind. Poor Gaskell – that mean ol’ Dickens! However, what many don’t realize or remember is that Gaskell went back to add two whole chapters and embellish other sections of North and South before it was published as a book. She left that end scene alone. Hmm…. ( psst! I loved the ending in the book! for more about Gaskell’s ending see my post at WestofMilton here: LINK)
#3 That PBS/Masterpiece missed airing North and South in the US. Will we ever know the mystery behind this omission? I’ve heard a few theories, but I’ll never get over this disservice to the American public. If PBS is meant to bring fine art to the masses, they certainly missed sharing one of the BBC’s finest period dramas…. and the best kiss scene ever recorded on film.
#4 Interpretations of John and Margaret based solely on the first half of the book/story. I have to wonder if some people really saw/read the whole thing. Granted that the first half is all spitfire and clashing, but the second half in which each learns to deeply consider the other’s perspective is beautifully, if more subtly, drawn. I can’t fathom that Gaskell intended her characters to stay the same throughout the arc of the story. So pardon me if I disagree wholeheartedly with those that believe that Margaret and John would be forever clashing on ideology and social morality. Where’s the proof of that in the unfolding events, actions, and words of the second half?
Does this look a girl who still holds grievances about the Master’s character and business practices?
#5 The lousy introduction to the book in the Penguin edition. This almost ruined my appetite for reading the book the first time around. With a heavy emphasis on sexual symbolism and the power struggle between male and female positions, this analysis of Gaskell’s work sapped most of the deeper meaning out of the story and highlighted the dry, intellectual wrestlings that academics feed upon. I’d like to have it out with Patricia Ingham, Ph. D. on a few of the aspects concerning John and Margaret’s relationship that I feel she interpreted completely wrong.
Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of In Consequence! The winner will be announced next Thursday.
Now’s the perfect chance to chat with me, ask me something, or (gasp!) disagree with my interpretation of the story and characters. I’d love to hear from you.
1.) Margaret is 18 in the opening scene of the book.
2.) The Lennox family is from Scotland.
3.) Anna Beresford married General Shaw. damn! missed that one!
4.) Adam Bell.
6.) Helstone is not too far from Southampton. It’s mentioned that Mr. Hale walked there once from the vicarage.
7.) George Leonards (from Southampton) had a job as a railway porter at the time of the incident.
8.) Maria and Richard Hale.
9.) False. It’s not possible to draw an accurate calendar of the events as they are indicated in the book. The Thornton dinner is on the 21st of July, yet Gaskell has Margaret going to Marlborough Mills for the water mattress three days later under “an August sun.” Frederick also arrives much too early on the scene after Margaret has written for him. (Where was the Dickens’ editing hand here I wonder. lol.)
10.) Aunt Shaw had a lap dog named Tiny.
11.) Frederick married Delores Barbour.
12.) Hannah reads from the Bible every night to the household. She tries to read from Matthew Henry’s Commentaries as she awaits John’s return from the proposal.
13.) Hannah remembers “a little daughter – dead in infancy.”
14.) False. The Great Exhibition is never mentioned in Gaskell’s work.
15.) True. In the book, Mr. Thornton learns that Margaret has a brother from Mr. Bell.
16.) True. Higgins calls Thornton a bulldog in the book as well.
17.) Thornton saw Helstone on his return from Le Havre.
18.) True. John attends both Mrs. and Mr. Hale’s funerals without Margaret knowing he has done so.
19.) Mr. Colthurst is a the vaunted guest at the dinner party in London.
20.) d. It has been two years of struggle and heartache since John first declared his love the day after the riot and that private meeting sans Henry in Aunt Shaw’s back drawing room.
How’d you do? Thanks for joining in the fun!
The Book Giveaway is now finished!