15 February, 2009

More Connections with Gaskell's Stories

I finished North and South last week, in the wee hours of the morning, having spent three weeks pouring over this terrific story. I did not want to string it out slowly as I did with Cranford, although I was a little sad to come to the end of it.

I have already written some about Mrs. Gaskell in previous posts about Cranford and literary Connections and my early reflections on the novel North and South, the Norton Critical edition, well worth having for all the extras included within.

Tonight, while doing some more online research into her other works, I noted one of her stories written in 1859, My Lady Ludlow. Then I remembered a "Lady Ludlow" in the movie version of Cranford, and I wondered where she came from. Gaskell wrote Cranford from 1851-1853, so much earlier than My Lady Ludlow.

It seems (from early inspection of Chapter one) that the creators of the movie version of Cranford might have infused this character into the script. Why, I do not know, yet. At first (before I knew she was a real Gaskell character) I thought it was to create a little conflict and tension to the rather calm goings-on in the fictional-named town of Cranford (but based on the real town of Knutsford, where Gaskell spent some of her younger years). The formulaic writing and movies of today must have "tension" to hold our interest, we are told, so I chalked it up to that.

There is one other storyline that is in the Cranford movie that is not in the book, either. Perhaps the characters are from one of her other stories, as well. I look forward to finding out!

Ha! I've just found out...yes. Gaskell's novella, Mr. Harrison's Confession, does supply the third plotline in the BBC movie version of Cranford! Mystery solved, and I am relieved. Wives and Daugthers and North and South were both adhered to quite nicely (with the occasional line of one character in the book being given to another in the movie version).

Do, friends, pick up some of these books when you are looking for a good, old-fashioned story to get lost in and even learn from.

Ciao for now!


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