A Note on Four Fictional Heroines | bellitumsblog

It was probably not a good idea to read Colm Tóibín’s recently published Nora Webster immediately after finishing Charlotte Brontë’s Villette. My impatience with the former novel was further compounded by reading Mrs Gaskell’s Mary Barton first published in 1848. Mary Costello’s  Academy Street which, like Tóibín’s novel, appeared in 2014 somewhat restored my sympathy with the twentyfirst century fictional heroine.

Gaskell’s heroine serves as a device to illustrate the horrors of industrial revolution Manchester. Will Mary Barton be seduced by her wealthy admirer? Will she survive? Will she…

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