Gaskell, Elizabeth

29 September 1810 - 12 November 1865


British novelist and short story writer (who also wrote an acclaimed biography of Charlotte Brontë), with pronounced interest in social reform, as is evidenced in her novels, including such important C19 works as North and South and Mary Barton; friend and mentee of Charles Dickens, who so respected her work that he placed one of her stories as the first work in the first number of his literary magazine Household Words.

Sites:
Gaskell Overview
An excellent introduction to Gaskell, this site includes biographical information as well as a number of critical and contextual discussions. [Victorian Web]
The Gaskell Web.
Includes chronology and e-texts. [Mitsuharu Matsuoka, Nagoya U]
Elizabeth Gaskell
Biographical overview, with some good links to contextual info. [BBC History]
Biographical note
[Unitarian Universalist Biographical Dictionary]
Brief biographical note
[Peter Landry, Bibliographies]
Brief biographical note
[Columbia Encyclopedia, Bartleby]
Brief biographical note
Part of the PBS website for the 2002 production of Gaskell's Wives and Daughters.
Brief biographical note
[Gothic Labyrinth]
Brief biographical note a LitGothic etext
[John W. Cousins, A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, 1910]
Gaskell Hyper-Concordance
Part of the The Victorian Literary Studies Archive, this concordance allows you to search etexts by Gaskell (both novels and short stories).
Portrait
[National Portrait Gallery, London]
Another portrait
Gaskell goes glam. [Corvey Women Writers on the Web, Sheffield Hallam U]
  Elizabeth Gaskell


Etexts:
All etexts are from Gaskell Web, Mitsuharu Mitsuoka, Nagoya U, unless otherwise indicated.

"Clopton House" (17K)
"The Crooked Branch" (100K)
"Curious If True" (36K)
"Disappearances" (26K)
"The Doom of the Griffiths"  (82K)
A powerful tale of a family curse.
"The Grey Woman" (127K)
"Lois the Witch" (204 K)
"The Old Nurse's Story"
In many ways an exemplary Victorian ghost story, this tale was first published anonymously in the 1852 Christmas issue of Dickens' Household Words. It is, according to Angus Easson (author of Elizabeth Gaskell [1979]), "[o]ne of her best short stories" (24) and "a splendid ghost story . . . in a class with 'Turn of the Screw'" (219-220). Personally I might quibble with the last part of that, since Henry James's classic story is of rather a different sort than Gaskell's overtly supernatural tale, and that makes me wonder about what sort of "class" we're talking about, but it's a very fine piece of work no matter how you slice it. It's also been said to have "strongly Wordsworthian overtones: the story of the rejected mother and her child, cast out onto the fells to die is a latter-day Lyrical Ballad" (Alan Shelston, "The Supernatural in the Stories of Elizabeth Gaskell," Exhibited by Candlelight [Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1995], 142). Add to all this the fact Gaskell had 4 daughters of her own, and 2 sons who died in infancy, and it leads to the inevitable conclusions that you must read this story if you have not yet done so.
- at LitGothic: annotated PDF version
- at Nina Auerbach's site, U Penn  (52K)
- at Gaslight  (51K)
- at Mitsuharu Matsuoka's Gaskell Web
"The Poor Clare" (137K)
"The Squire's Story" (35K)


Books:
Penguin Classic's Gothic Tales by Gaskell, edited by Laura Kranzler, includes a number of Gaskell's ghost stories.


Discussion:
GASKELL-L.
For discussion of all things Gaskell. majordomo@creighton.edu
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"Elizabeth Gaskell."