Cousin Phillis

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Cousin Phillis (1864) is a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. It was published in four parts, though a fifth and sixth part were planned. The story is about 19-year-old Paul Manning,[A 1] who moves to the country and befriends his mother's family and his (second) cousin Phillis Holman, who is confused by her own placement at the edge of adolescence.

Most critics agree that Cousin Phillis is Gaskell's crowning achievement in the short novel. The story is uncomplicated; its virtues are in the manner of its development and telling. Cousin Phillis is also recognized as a fitting prelude for Gaskell's final and most widely acclaimed novel, Wives and Daughters, which ran in Cornhill Magazine from August 1864 to January 1866.


  • Paul Manning (the narrator, Phillis's cousin)
  • Mr Manning (Paul's father)
  • Mr Edward Holdsworth
  • Mr Holman (independent church minister)
  • Mrs Holman
  • Miss Phillis Holman
  • Mr Ellison (Mr Manning's business partner)
  • Miss Lucille Ventadur (at last Mr Holdsworth's wife)
  • Betty (the servant at Holman house)


  1. ^ Paul is seventeen at the beginning of the story, but he turns nineteen before meeting his cousin Phillis.

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