"Glazed Expression: 'Mary Barton,' Ghosts and Glass"
Ellison takes a look at Elizabeth Gaskell's reading of a visual system that routinely fails to see the poor. In Mary Barton, Gaskell offers several accounts of defective, limited or partial middle-class visual practices. She also draws connecting lines between the imperfectly glimpsed, if not spectral bodies of the poor, the emaciations of famine and the concurrent removal of labor-traces from the spectacular display of commodities set behind glass.
Studies in the Novel