“REALISM WHICH IS AKIN TO GEORGE ELIOT’S”
GASKELL, Elizabeth. Cranford. London: Macmillan, 1914. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter red calf gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. $600.
Early illustrated edition of Gaskell’s most beloved novel, with a preface by Anne Thackeray Ritchie, illustrated with frontispiece and numerous line-cut vignettes by Hugh Thomson, handsomely bound by Morrell.
"These delightful chapters of real life constitute the purest piece of humoristic description that has been added to British literature since Charles Lamb" (Lord Houghton). First published serially in Dickens' Household Words (1851-53), Cranford's "greatest charm…, which has kept it unfailingly popular, is its amused but loving portrayal of the old-fashioned customs and 'elegant economy' of a delicately observed group of middle-aged figures in a landscape" (Drabble, 238). Gaskell is writing of "characters she knows with a realism which is akin to George Eliot's" (Kunitz, 245). The illustrator of this lovely edition, Hugh Thomson, "takes first place… among the genteel book illustrators" (Harthan, 238). "His style reflected the nostalgia of the time, his fine line drawings of rural characters and gentle countrified society appealed to the imagination of the public" (Olivia Fitzpatrick). He had a knack for "period costumes, coaches and horses, and elegant furniture; and his brisk style give his work irresistible charm" (Hodnett, 218). Originally published in book form in 1853. Bookplate.