Elizabeth Gaskell, Cousin Phillis

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Cousin Phillis

has been called the most perfect story in English. In addition to her career as a novel-writer, Mrs Gaskell was a prodigious writer of short stories, and this novella, written in her most mature phase as a writer (between

Sylvia's Lovers


Wives and Daughters),

is the master work of her shorter fiction. It is a tale of quiet, deep power. Narrated by Paul Manning, the story is offered as a remembered interlude from a time when Paul and Phillis were yet in their teens. Part of the subtlety of the story proceeds from the apparent slightness, the undramatic quality of the episode. Paul, newly independent, and only recently away from home, is working as a clerk under the engineer of a new branch railway line. Out of a sense of duty to his parents, Paul pays a visit to Hopeā€¦

2598 words

Citation: Billington, Josie. "Cousin Phillis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 February 2004 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=5812, accessed 26 May 2024.]

5812 Cousin Phillis 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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