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by Elizabeth Gaskell
Gaskell's depiction of a fallen woman as her heroine shocked contemporary readers. Ruth is seduced and heartlessly abandoned but finds shelter and love with her illegitimate child until a twist of fate brings her past back to haunt her. This new edition explores the novel's radicalism and cultural influence.
'I think I must be an improper woman without knowing it, I do so manage to shock people.' Elizabeth Gaskell's second novel challenged contemporary social attitudes by taking as its heroine a fallen woman. Ruth Hilton is an orphan and an overworked seamstress, an innocent preyed upon by a weak, wealthy seducer. When he heartlessly abandons her she finds shelter and kindness in the home of a dissenting minister and his sister, who do not reject her when she gives birth to an illegitimate child. But Ruth's self-sacrificing love and devotion are tested to the limit by a twist of fate that brings her past back to haunt her. Gaskell's depiction of Ruth lays bare Victorian hypocrisy and sexual double-standards, and her novel is a remarkable story of love, of the sanctuary and tyranny of the family, and of the consequences of lies and deception. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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Tim Dolin is the author of George Eliot in the Authors in Context series for Oxford World's Classics, and he has introduced Charlotte Bronte's Villette and Hardy's A Pair of Blue Eyes for the series. He has edited three Hardy novels for Penguin and his book on Thomas Hardy in the Life and Times series was published by Haus in 2008.
Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell
Used - Very Good
Oxford University Press
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