Martin Dodsworth (essay date 1963)
SOURCE: “Women Without Men at Cranford,” in Essays in Criticism, Vol. 13, 1963, pp. 132-45.
[In the following essay, Dodsworth interprets Cranford as a plot-driven novel concerned with feminine repression of sexuality in a male-dominated world.]
Most readers seem to feel that the spirit of Cranford is most aptly expressed in the delicate—not to say charming—illustrations of Hugh Thomson. The world of Cranford is faded, full of small snobbery and great kindness; it is a feminine novel, not only as all the important characters are women, but as pre-eminently the work of a woman, ever held by the details of a room's arrangement or a bonnet's...
(The entire section is 5467 words.)