Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens and the Railways in 19th Century Britain

22 June 2019



Image: https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/


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When railways were built in Britain in the mid-nineteenth century, they brought sudden and drastic changes. Creating enormous wealth, they united the country as never before. National economic development went hand-in-hand, however, with feelings of dislocation, uncertainty and shock. Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens registered all this with profound sensitivity, as can be seen from two short pieces of their fiction: Gaskell's Cousin Phyllis and Dickens' famous ghost story 'The Signalman'.

Ralph Pite, Professor of English, University of Bristol