The humour in `Cranford‘ (1853) is so sly it is can be difficult to believe it was written over 150 years ago. Originally published in instalments and edited by Charles Dickens, the novel follows a delightful group of women in a small town who are united by all being single, poor, and proud. Written with acute observation,`Cranford‘is in equal parts affectionate, moving and darkly satirical. `Cranford‘ has been adapted for television by BBC three times, and the latest version from 2007 featured Dame Judy Dench and Dame Eileen Atkins.
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-1865) was an English novelist, short story writer, and biographer, best known for her novels `North and South‘ and `Wives and Daughters‘ as well as her biography of Charlotte Brontë. Gaskell was viewed as a minor author until the 1950s where it became evident that her depiction of industrial environments and social problems was brilliant and poignant.