Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Elizabeth Gaskell$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Patsy Stoneman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719074479

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719074479.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

Wives and Daughters (1865)

Wives and Daughters (1865)

(p.112) 10 Wives and Daughters (1865)
Elizabeth Gaskell

Patsy Stoneman

Manchester University Press

Elizabeth Gaskell's last novel, Wives and Daughters (1865), is a critical anomaly. Only Coral Lansbury and Patricia Spacks see that the structure of families and the socialisation of girls is its central, and important, subject matter. The novel for the first time makes central what had earlier been an unacknowledged problem; the education of daughters by wives to be wives. It begins at the beginning, with ‘the old rigmarole of childhood’, and the first two chapters are full of references to fairytales. Just as many fairytales suggest rites of passage or initiation tests by which girls and boys become women and men, so Wives and Daughters begins with motherless Molly Gibson at the age of twelve. In spite of a certain relish for the ‘levelling’ effects of sexuality in Wives and Daughters, Gaskell was in no doubt that uninhibited sexuality was a danger rather than a freedom.

Keywords:   Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters, families, socialisation, girls, education, daughters, wives, sexuality, fairytales

Manchester Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.