'He's spoilt my life,- he's spoilt it for as long as iver I live on this earth' The compelling story of an ordinary girl's tragic passion for a man who disappears, Sylvia's Lovers (1863) is Elizabeth Gaskell's last completed novel. Set in a fictional Whitby at the end of the eighteenth century, the novel is a modern revenge tragedy in which well ...
'He's spoilt my life,- he's spoilt it for as long as iver I live on this earth' The compelling story of an ordinary girl's tragic passion for a man who disappears, Sylvia's Lovers (1863) is Elizabeth Gaskell's last completed novel. Set in a fictional Whitby at the end of the eighteenth century, the novel is a modern revenge tragedy in which well-intentioned actions have unforeseen and terrible human consequences. Sylvia is loved by two men, her serious cousin Philip and the charismatic sailor Charley Kinraid. When one of them betrays her, her path in life seems fixed. Against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars and the ever-present threat of press-gangs, the story darkens when Sylvia's father is roused into vengeful violence. But this trouble proves only the precursor to a greater calamity that will radically alter Sylvia's future. Gaskell's novel, richly engaging with the legacy of the Bronte sisters, is her most extensive literary exploration of the tragic depths of unregarded, unhistoric, but vividly imagined lives. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Raised by caring, older parents on a country farm on the outskirts of a seaside English town, Sylvia, when we are first introduced to her, is exactly as we would expect her to be: immature, flighty, stubborn and headstrong. She's still very likable, though, because her nature isn't cruel or selfish. Because of this, it's easy to sympathize with her as she is torn between the love of two men: one a dashing young sailor who sweeps her (like many of his other conquests) off her feet with his romance and gallantry and the other a steadfast, loyal merchant who stumbles and falters in his relentless pursuit of her happiness and love. She never has the option of really choosing between them, though, for other forces - namely, a press gang whose sole intent is to gather "recruits" for the battle against Napoleon - intervene and alter the entire course of her life. One of her lovers is spirited away while the other is left behind, closely guarding the secret of his opponent's whereabouts. As Sylvia faces trial after trial, she is forced to turn to this less-respected lover for help and security. But what happens when she discovers the treachery he has hidden underneath his love? Can love save her? Him? The answer lies in the climax of the book and is a unique combination of sadness and hope... Only then do we see all of the book's themes come together into a beautiful lesson on love, honesty and forgiveness.
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