Conservation in <i>Cranford</i>

Jill Rappoport

in Giving Women

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199772605
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919000 | DOI:
Conservation in Cranford

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In Cranford (1851–1853), Elizabeth Gaskell imagines more than an individual giver in a whole town of women who sustain themselves through giving and conserving resources. Cranford’s system of conservation corresponds to scientific models by Joule, Faraday, and others, which emphasized how energy could be conserved through circulation. Even its plot, by stressing circulation over progression, formally mimics the version of generosity it describes. This chapter shows that the gift practices of Gaskell’s “quaint” novella were culturally informed means to form and support networks of single women.

Keywords: Gaskell; Cranford; Conservation; Sympathy; Secret; women; giving; gift

Chapter.  8663 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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