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Sylvia's Lovers
  • Bandtyp: Häftad
  • Språk: Engelska
  • Utgiven: 201609
  • Antal sidor: 394
  • Vikt i gram: 526
  • ISBN10:1539083047
  • ISBN13:9781539083047

Sylvia's Lovers


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This is an intriguing read, not only because the historical background is well researched and the writing lively, but because everyone seems to interpret what the author was trying to accomplish differently.

It is set during the mid-1790s in the small coastal whaling community of 'Monkshaven' modeled on Whitby that Gaskell visited in 1859. The novel takes place during the early years of the Napoleonic wars that consumed England, and much of the world, for the next twenty years.

This is a book about the working class of northern England, the simple folk that farmed, manned the shops, and went to sea in whaling ships season after season. England's war with France changes everything though; and we see these changes come to Monkshaven through the eyes of young Sylvia Robson, her father and mother, and her cousin Philip Hepburn. While there is a deep-seated patriotic fervor among the residents of Monkshaven, there is also a profound anger at the government for its use of impressment gangs (press gangs) to find able-bodied men to man the ships of the Royal Navy. Men were forcibly taken from their families and livelihoods, assigned to ships, and sailed off to war; from which many never returned.

Sylvia is an uneducated and relatively naive young woman more inclined to her flights of fancy rather than following the calm more steady influence of her mother. Sylvia's cousin, Philip, loves her with his heart and soul and endeavors to teach her to read, write, and to learn some arithmetic; but Sylvia only has eyes and feelings for her friend's cousin, the whaling harpooner, Charlie Kinraid. In large part, it is around this romantic triangle of Sylvia, Philip, and Charlie that the rest of the novel really turns.

This is a novel about justice, injustice, the consequences of one's actions (or inactions), and the notion of real redemption and forgiveness. In this novel, Elizabeth Gaskell has created some very realistic characters that make decisions that some of us might question, but feel right for the character. Some of these decisions lead to some terrible and final outcomes. Ultimately though, the circle is closed and the novel's protagonists find the right paths.

Another very important and interesting aspect of this novel is Gaskell's use of the vernacular and local dialect of the people she was writing about. In this case, her use of the dialect of Yorkshire in her character's dialogs give an incredibly gritty and earthy feel of authenticity to the novel; particularly the differences in speech between the educated and uneducated.

A fine example of the Classic English Novel. Slow-paced and well drawn, it takes its time weaving you into its spell... and then all of the sudden you realize you can't rest until you find out how the painful dilemma is solved. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

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