Herewith some suggested secondary readings for these texts. Low marks for scholarly presentation, for which, in haste, I apologise! I’ve also put up (see side bar) a lecture on Mary Barton and Hard Times that I gave at a conference last summer.
Rosemarie Bodenheimer, ‘Private Grief and Public Acts in Mary Barton,’ Dickens Studies Annual 9 (1981), 195-216.
Catherine Gallagher, The Industrial Reformation of English Fiction (U. Chicago Press, 1995).
Elaine Freedgood, ‘Checked Curtains and Global Cotton Markets in Mary Barton’, in The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel (Chicago Up, 2006).
Jonathan Grossman, ‘Mary Barton’s Tell-Tale Evidence’, in The Art of Alibi: English Lawcourts and the Novel (Johns Hopkins UP, 2002).
Jill Matus (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Gaskell (CUP, 2007).
Mary Poovey, Making a Social Body: British Cultural Formation, 1830-64 (Chicago UP, 1995)
Hilary Schor, Scheherazade in the Marketplace: Elizabeth Gaskell and the Victorian Novel (Oxf. UP, 1992).
Kathleen Tillotson, Novels of the Eighteen Forties (Clarendon Press, 1954)
Jenny Uglow, Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories (Faber and Faber, 1993) [biography]
Catherine Gallagher, The Industrial Reformation of English Fiction (U Chicago Press, 1995)
Anne Humpherys, ‘Louisa Gradgrind’s Secret: Marriage and Divorce in Hard Times’, Dickens Studies Annual 25 (1996), 177-95.
Robert E. Lougy, ‘Dickens’s Hard Times’, in Dickens Studies Annual 2 (1972), 237-54
Hilary Schor, ‘Hard Times and A Tale of Two Cities: The Social Inheritance of Adultery’, in Dickens and the Daughter of the House (Cambridge UP, 1999).
Hilary Schor, ‘Novels of the 1850s: Hard Times, Little Dorrit and A Tale of Two Cities’, in John O. Jordan (ed.) Cambridge Companion to Charles Dickens (Cambridge UP, 2001), 64-77.
Sally Ledger, ‘From Flunkeyism to Toadyism in the Age of Machinery: From Bleak House to Little Dorrit’, in Dickens and the Popular Radical Imagination (Cambridge UP, 2007)
Raymond Williams, Culture and Society 1780-1950 (chapter on the Industrial Novel)
Gillian Beer, Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth Century Fiction (London: Routledge, 1983)
Robert M Young, Darwin’s Metaphor (1984)
David Amigoni ed. Charles Darwin’s Origins of Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays (Manchester University Press, 1995)
George Levine, Darwin and the Novelists: Patterns of Science in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (Harvard University Press, 1988)
Josephine McDonagh, George Eliot (Northcote House, 1997)
Sally Shuttleworth, George Eliot and Nineteenth Century Science: The Make-Believe of a Beginning (1984)
Bernard Semmel, George Eliot and the Politics of National Inheritance (Oxford University Press, 1994)
J Hillis Miller, ‘Narrative and History’ English Literary History 41 (1974) 455-73
Neil McCaw, George Eliot and Victorian Historiography: Imagining the National Past (2000)