Cousin Phillis (1864) is a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. It was published in four parts, though a fifth and sixth part were planned. The story is about 19-year-old Paul Manning,[A 1] who moves to the country and befriends his mother's family and his (second) cousin Phillis Holman, who is confused by her own placement at the edge of adolescence.
Most critics agree that Cousin Phillis is Gaskell's crowning achievement in the short novel. The story is uncomplicated; its virtues are in the manner of its development and telling. Cousin Phillis is also recognized as a fitting prelude for Gaskell's final and most widely acclaimed novel, Wives and Daughters, which ran in Cornhill Magazine from August 1864 to January 1866.
Paul Manning (the narrator, Phillis's cousin)
Mr Manning (Paul's father)
Mr Edward Holdsworth
Mr Holman (independent church minister)
Miss Phillis Holman
Mr Ellison (Mr Manning's business partner)
Miss Lucille Ventadur (at last Mr Holdsworth's wife)
Betty (the servant at Holman house)
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, (née Stevenson; 29 September 1810 - 12 November 1865), often referred to as Mrs Gaskell, was an English novelist and short story writer. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of Victorian society, including the very poor, and are of interest to social historians as well as lovers of literature. Her first novel, Mary Barton, was published in 1848. Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Brontë, published in 1857, was the first biography of Brontë. Some of Gaskell's best known novels are Cranford (1851-53), North and South (1854-55), and Wives and Daughters (1865).
Gaskell was born Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson on 29 September 1810 in Lindsey Row, Chelsea, at the house which is now 93 Cheyne Walk. She was the youngest of eight children; only she and her brother John survived infancy. Her father, William Stevenson, a Unitarian from Berwick-upon-Tweed, was minister at Failsworth, Lancashire, but resigned his orders on conscientious grounds and moved to London in 1806 with the intention of going to India after he was appointed private secretary to the Earl of Lauderdale, who was to become Governor General of India. That position did not materialise, however, and instead Stevenson was nominated Keeper of the Treasury Records. His wife, Elizabeth Holland, came from a family from the English Midlands that was connected with other prominent Unitarian families, including the Wedgwoods, the Martineaus, the Turners and the Darwins. When she died 13 months after giving birth to her youngest daughter,she left a bewildered husband who saw no alternative for Elizabeth but to be sent to live with her mother's sister, Hannah Lumb, in Knutsford, Cheshire.
While she was growing up, Elizabeth's future was uncertain, as she had no personal wealth and no firm home, though she was a permanent guest at her aunt and grandparents' house. Her father married Catherine Thomson in 1814 and they had a son, William (born 1815), and a daughter, Catherine (born 1816). Although Elizabeth spent several years without seeing her father, to whom she was devoted, her older brother John often visited her in Knutsford. John was destined for the Royal Navy from an early age, like his grandfathers and uncles, but he had no entry and had to join the Merchant Navy with the East India Company's fleet. John went missing in 1827 during an expedition to India.......
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