Cranford is Mrs Gaskell's best-known and best-loved work. Until relatively recently it continued to be regarded as the quaintly comic and nostalgic depiction of provincial life which was enthusiastically embraced by Mrs Gaskell's contemporaries and which the work itself appears to be. Cranford began life, after all, as a short story (now the first two chapters of the book) written for Dickens's periodical Household Words and worked up from an earlier story-essay, “The Last Generation in England”, in which Mrs Gaskell had made use of her childhood experiences of the small country town of Knutsford. These opening chapters offer a distilled version of Cranford entire. Their distinctive hallmark is a …
Billington, Josie. "Cranford". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 November 2001; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5808, accessed 25 April 2015.]