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Cousin Phillis

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Book Overview: 

Cousin Phillis is a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell about Paul Manning, a youth of seventeen who moves to the country and befriends his mother's family and his second cousin Phillis Holman, who is confused by her own placement at the edge of adolescence. Most critics agree that Cousin Phillis is Gaskell's crowning achievement in the short novel. The story is uncomplicated; its virtues are in the manner of its development and telling. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
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'It was not quite, sir,' replied I, vanquished by his manner; 'but it shall be in future.'

'Come, that's right. You and I shall be friends. Indeed, it's not many a one I would bring in here. But I was reading a book this morning, and I could not make it out; it is a book that was left here by mistake one day; I had subscribed to Brother Robinson's sermons; and I was glad to see this instead of them, for sermons though they be, they're . . . well, never mind! I took 'em both, and made my old coat do a bit longer; but all's fish that comes to my net. I have fewer books than leisure to read them, and I have a prodigious big appetite. Here it is.'

It was a volume of stiff mechanics, involving many technical terms, and some rather deep mathematics. These last, which would have puzzled me, seemed easy enough to him; all that he wanted was the explanations of the technical words, which I could easily give.

While he was looking. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I love the way Elizabeth Gaskell captured the quirks of small town life in Cranford. I can just imagine the protagonist, Mary Smith, trying to keep a straight face during one of Miss Poles speeches or Miss Mattys nervous episodes. A really amusing book.

As for Cousin Phillis... I can't say I enjoyed

Am listening to an audio book of "Cranford". Enjoying the stories all over again.

2009 Review*********************************
I watched the BBC "Cranford" DVD set with Judi Dench as Miss Matty. This got me interested in Elizabeth Gaskell, so I got this book from the library to read.

Elizabeth Gaskell

I've watched the drama series and wanted to compare with the original story.
Surprising how much they changed the story for the tv drama. They totally mixed it
up and added a huge story line that wasn't in the book at all! There was no Lady
Ludlow, Mr. Carter, Harry, and many others were made up as wel


Beautifully written story set in a Cheshire village during the early 19th century about an aging rector’s daughter (Mattie). Depicts the dilemmas facing unmarried women of the time who have been left with inadequate funds.

Left to their own devices there were few options for such women's sel

Cranford depicts the story of a small town of Cranford in which the middle and upper classes are dominated by women ( basically old widows and unmarried women). These women are very respectable, genteel and a bit poor but they all pretend to have quite a lot of money although none of them

I really enjoyed this collection of Elizabeth Gaskell's novellas. Cranford is without a doubt my favourite and solid four stars, while Cousin Phillis is a bit too usual for my taste. The novellas create a contrast between themselves; while Cranford is absolutely hilarious, Cousin Phillis is a tragic

Cranford is a satirical story about the goings on in a small English village.

Cousin Phillis is about love, loss, and finding the strength to move on.

Overall, I thought both of these novellas were a bit boring, yet still enjoyable. If they were full length novels I would not have rated them higher t

Cousin Phillis is as good a short novel you'll ever read.

I came to Cranford without having seen the recent television adaptation but somewhat wary because it had been dismissed as "women gossiping." One might as well describe Romeo and Juliet as "families squabbling."

Perhaps no English village in the time of sedan chairs and candlelight was quite as idyl

Cranford is one of the better-known novels of the 19th century English writer Elizabeth Gaskell. It was first published in 1851 as a serial in the magazine Household Words, which was edited by Charles Dickens. The fictional town of Cranford is closely modelled on Knutsford in Cheshire, which Mrs. Ga

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