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‘Knutsford’ Meeting (online) – working class representation

Tuesday 23 February, 2021, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Dr Diane Duffy has selected three texts for discussion,  all of which detail a mill strike and include at least one woman who witnesses/becomes involved in the action.  She has arranged the texts in date order, starting with 1849 – Bronte’s Shirley – a text which has been noted as the forerunner of Helen Burton’s novel, no-one mentions Gaskell here. In 1854-5 we have North and South by Gaskell and this is followed in 1858 by Helen Burton’s novel, Bertha Darley.

Download and read the texts here

Download and read Diane’s Points to Ponder

Her idea is to compare and contrast the presentation of the workers/rioters and the leading female characters in these extracts: we have Constance and Bertha in Bertha Darley and Margaret in North and South and Shirley, Caroline in Shirley. There are also differences in style and content selected to include that affect the way we read and interpret each story.

Of course, she expects that the discussion will lead to exploration of the political situation at the time and the influence of religion on each writer’s attitude to that situation.

We’re not able to meet in Knutsford at time of writing, but we’ll let you know when that situation changes – and it will!

In the meantime, we’ll meet over Zoom, with invitations being sent to members by email nearer the time. 

The events are free and open to all. If you’re not a member of the Gaskell Society, you’re still welcome to join us. Just contact us and we’ll send you an invitation. 



Tuesday 23 February, 2021
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
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online only United Kingdom