Elizabeth Gaskell – North And South Audiobook
Nord et Sud is a novel that I found fascinating, moving and which offers a fine analysis of the beginnings of the industrial revolution in the 19th century, of the balance of power, of power struggles between bosses and workers.
I particularly appreciated the quality of the writing, the dialogues, the reflections developed, which give rise to lively debates between Margaret and John. The depth of the psychological analysis is also remarkable.
All the characters touched me and I regretted having left them: Margaret Hale, charismatic figure of this story, courageous and intelligent young girl; John Thornton, arrogant and hard boss of a factory, of a spinning mill, whose personality evolves over the chapters and becomes more endearing, especially towards the end where he shows his moral strength, equal to that of Margaret, his sense of dignity, his will to work for social peace, to establish friendly relations with the workers, to arrive at a better mutual understanding in the interest of each one. He wants to put into practice his innovative ideas for the time, they echo those of Margaret. North And South Audiobook free .
This initially antagonistic couple will eventually get closer. They made me think, at times, to Rodrigue and Chimene in the Cid ofCorneille,through their constant desire to remain dignified and proud at all costs, not to be degraded in the eyes of the other, fear to lose respect. John is won over by Margaret’s intelligence.
Elizabeth Gaskell was the wife of a pastor who was also won over by her intelligence and beauty. The life she led alongside her husband, met with relatives in Manchester, is probably the source of her sensitivity to social issues.
She wrote her texts forweekly Charles Dickens’, which focused on the beginnings of the industrial revolution in Difficult Times. This novel uses tale and satire in the imaginary city of Coketown (the city of coal) to evoke the situation in Manchester but North and Southseem to me more successful in its evocation of the problems linked to the obsession with capital, with productivity. , the cost of labor. This attitude tends to transform the human being into accounting data. This critique of utilitarianism, of the importance given to political economy to the detriment of the imagination, literary sensibility and intellectual life is present in the two novels which complement each other and explain the understanding that there was between Dickens and Gaskell. These two novels seem to me to still have a resonance with our time even though they date from the 19th century.
Beyond the very interesting ideological, political and social reflections, North and South is also rich in moving scenes and secondary characters that I will remember for a long time, like Bessy, the daughter of Nicholas Higgins, a union worker. Margaret met them on a walk and discovered, thanks to them, that everything is not as simple as in John’s speeches. Coming from a modest background, fatherless, John learned to work for a fabric merchant and had to leave school early. He is convinced that with the will, everyone can follow his example and rise to the rank of boss and the power that goes with it. He despises “weak people” and their lack of willpower. But Bessy, too, worked hard in the workshops, for a pittance, and only gained there a fatal disease which devoured her lungs by dint of breathing dust.
Elizabeth Gaskell describes a social class sacrificed on the altar of unregulated economic development and the wealth of a conquering and power-hungry minority. What about individual freedom, the legitimate right to have a little rest and happiness so that life is worth living for these men and women too and is not just a long way of the cross? , made only of bondage and suffering?
Elizabeth Gaskell observes the society of her contemporaries with finesse and also analyzes the mechanisms of power within the union. It thus poses an essential question: does man have the right to be free or must he always obey a collective, on the one hand the union, on the other the boss, at risk, he refuses to be excluded and doomed to a tragic fate, as is the case with one of the characters. John’s mother is also a remarkable character, “a very strong woman with great will”, who loves her son unconditionally, who gives him back. John will prove to be a man of integrity and deserves this love, he who refuses to “run the risk of ruining other people for miserable personal advantage” by indulging in stock market speculation, as so many others will. maintain and increase their wealth.
Nord et Sud is a beautiful novel, which combines romanticism, in the literary sense of the term (sensitivity, imagination, political commitment) and economic and social reflection. I discovered Elizabeth Gaskell recently, thanks to Babelio, and I find that her novels deserve to be better known and stepped out of the shadows that her contemporary and friend, Charles Dickens, by his fame, perhaps unwittingly contributed to throw on them.