The Reader Online on “the most underrated novel in English”

In 1969 critic Laurence Lerner called Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters “the most underrated novel in English.” And Henry James wrote of it, “The hours given to the novel’s perusal seem like actual hours spent.” On The Reader Online, contributor Josie Billington writes a wonderful appreciation of the book, suggesting that,

… the relative neglect of Wives and Daughters might best be explained by the very quality which, for an admirer such as Henry James, gave it a right to the status of ‘genius’; that’s to say its subtlety and the corresponding absence of the kind of decisive life-moment or revelatory event which might compel a reader of a novel by George Eliot or by Charles Dickens.

The full piece can be found at

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