Gaskell and I: About the Host

© Gaskell Blog

I was introduced to Elizabeth Gaskell by the beautiful BBC production of North & South. I read a comparison of it to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice on the Republic of Pemberley. Intrigued, I went to my local library, which happily has a wonderful collection of British Drama, and found it on the shelves. It brings cultural prejudice into perspective –as well as social. Watching the Hales adapt to a totally different atmosphere and the beautiful romance that develops between John Thornton and Margaret Hale; I was captivated.

The BBC Production of North & South with Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage

She remained on my reading list and I watched the lovely adaptations of Wives and Daughters and Cranford. Thinking it was high time I read one of her works Cranford was my first on my list for 2010. Now she has become one of my favorite authors. English Literature is one of my passions and this blog is my journey as I learn more about Elizabeth Gaskell’s work, life, and the society of the Victorian era. It’s my wish to make it informative: sharing what I’ve learnt with other Gaskell enthusiasts and hopefully to introduce people to her lovely writing.

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. I am a huge fan of Mrs Gaskell after reading her biography of Charlotte Bronte years ago but, apart from Cranford, had not read any of her books until I saw the North and South dramatisation. As well as being excellent it also introduced me to the utterly divine Richard Armitage!!

    Since then I have read many of her books and love her. I think my favourite is Wives and Daughters and may i recommend that you obtain this on DVD as well? It is quite superb and has Sir Michael gambon as the squire in a simply sublime performance.

    1. Richard Armitage is a wonderful actor and the one I admire most.

      I have W&D (and all the Gaskell adaptations to date). Sir Michael is, indeed, an incredible actor! The Squire is my favorite role I’ve seen him in –he’s superb in Longitude as well.

      Delighted to have you with us, Elaine! 🙂

  2. Katherine,

    I was introduced in Gaskell’s world by North and South (BBC)! I really liked the tv series, and now I’m excited to read her books!

    1. It is lovely! 🙂
      I can’t wait to read your thoughts on the novel, Adriana.

  3. Dessie says:

    Thank you for all the work and time you have put into this. I think it is safe to say that all here are very much appreciative. I’m glad to be a part of this. I own the DVD’s of Cranford and Wives and Daughters and had not heard of Elizabeth Gaskell until I watched them for the first time (just within this past year.) I look forward to getting to know more about her and her works!

    1. Thank you, Dessie, I’m touched by your appreciation. 🙂 It’s a pleasure for me to research and write.

      Glad to have you joining us for the group read.

      I owe so many thanks to the BBC, their beautiful productions have certainly expanded my bookshelves. And so many of us were introduced to Gaskell through them.

  4. Janeite Deb says:

    Hello Katherine – so glad you are doing this, but alas! I am on the road and forgot my Cranford! I will try to pick one up and follow along – I only knew of Gaskell as the writer of Victorian fiction who also introduced the private life of Charlotte Bronte to the wider world. I have had 4 of her books on my shelves for years – but only finally started to read her after viewing North and South last year – and like you I was captivated by the story and saw all the similarities to P&P – I read the book and found it nearly perfect – and like you, it is now on my top 10 list of favorite books – have since read W&D and Mary Barton is up next. And was looking forward to doing Cranford with you – will try to catch up when I get a copy! You are doing a wonderful thing!
    Best,
    Beb

    1. I hope that you’re having a good time on your travels! 🙂 I was so glad to read that you and Laurel Ann had a great time at the Austen AGM.

      I loved Wives and Daughters. It would be hard to choose between it and North and South but I think it just might win by a feather.

      Thank you, Deb! 🙂

      Please join us when you can.
      Safe journey!

      All the best,
      Katherine

  5. Tami Coxen says:

    Hello Katherine!I agree with Dessie in thanking you for your hard work and this blog. I first made Elizabeth Gaskell’s acquaintance when I caught Cranford on Masterpiece theater (PBS). I was told that the book and the movie were not the same, but just in reading the first chapter or two before I heard of this discussion, I know that I will enjoy the book as much as I did the movie! I also saw North and South. Loved it and became an instant fan of Richard Armitage. Since then I have become an admirer of Gaskell’s work. I very much look forward to discussing her and ladies of Cranford with you all!

    1. Oh, thank you, Tami! It’s a pleasure! 🙂

      The Cranford adaptation is a mixture of Mrs. Gaskell’s Cranford and her short stories Mr. Harrison’s Confessions, and My Lady Ludlow.

      I’m so glad that you postponed your reading to join us. That’s hard to do, the first chapters are always so intriguing. 😉

  6. junebugger says:

    Same here. It was through N&S that I discovered Gaskell. I’m guessing you read the book afterwards? N&S is one of the very few books that I prefered the tv adaptation of. I guess it’s because I fell in love with Armitage as Thornton. But in the book Thornton was a bit less cynical and ever-scowling

    1. I loved the novel, just finished reading it this evening. I like both, perhaps the novel a little more as we learn more about each of the characters.
      But the adaptations is one of the best that the BBC has done and Richard Armitage is the perfect Mr. Thornton.

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