The Female Voice and Industrial Fiction: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton

  • Carolyn Lambert
Part of the British Women’s Writing from Brontë to Bloomsbury, 1840-1940 book series (BWWFBB, volume 1)


Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton (1848) is among the better known of the decade’s social problem novels, highlighting the female voice through its depiction of domestic mechanisms in a specifically working-class and industrialized setting. In the novel, female voices are characterized through romance plots but also through literal renderings of voice, including oral storytelling traditions and song, as well as Esther’s frustration as she struggles to tell her own story in her own voice. At the climax of the novel, public and private modes merge through the female voice, as women are heard offering their testimony in court.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn Lambert
    • 1
  1. 1.Brighton UniversityBrightonUK

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