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Within a few months of composing ‘My Lady Ludlow’, therefore, Gaskell had taken the decision to associate it with Edinburgh, with a society cosmopolitan yet provincial, professional, intellectual, liberal, ethnically diverse. The special character of post-Enlightenment Scotland is notorious; Scottish education, cheap, broad and egalitarian in comparison with English, had created an educated class in Edinburgh both more intellectual and more diverse in social origin than elsewhere, where a lively and intellectual salon culture flourished. Without any apparent warrant from the stories she was compiling, Gaskell chose to associate her tales with this setting.

The Works of Elizabeth Gaskell. Volume 3. Novellas and Shorter Fiction, from the Introduction


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