Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell’s House
Elizabeth Gaskell’s second novel challenged contemporary social attitudes by taking as its heroine a fallen woman. Ruth Hilton is an orphan and an overworked seamstress, an innocent preyed upon by a weak, wealthy seducer. When he heartlessly abandons her she finds shelter and kindness in the home of a Dissenting minister and his sister, who do not reject her when she gives birth to an illegitimate child. But Ruth’s self-sacrificing love and devotion are tested to the limit by a twist of fate that brings her past back to haunt her.
Gaskell’s depiction of Ruth lays bare Victorian hypocrisy and sexual double standards, and her novel is a remarkable story of love, of the sanctuary and tyranny of the family, and of the consequences of lies and deception.
Celebrating the life and literature of Elizabeth Gaskell, Manchester’s most famous Victorian writer. A restored Victorian middle-class house in the heart of a UNESCO City of Literature.
House, Garden and Tea Room open every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 11am-4.30pm (last entry 3pm). Second-hand books also on sale from the House.
Pre-booking advised via the website.
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