Gaskell Friday News & Web Round Up

Please join me every other Friday as we review news and blog posts related to the author Elizabeth Gaskell.

Book Release President of the Gaskell Society and founder of the Gaskell Society Journal, Alan Shelston, has written a new work on Elizabeth Gaskell titled Brief Lives: Elizabeth Gaskell

Highly influential among her peers, Gaskell was the author of more than six novels—including the critically acclaimed North and South and Cranford—and was a regular contributor for Dickens’ periodicals. She forged friendships with many contemporary authors—most famously, perhaps, with Charlotte Brontë. Brontë’s biography, written by Gaskell, is regarded as one of the finest examples of life-writing to this day. Famed for her adeptness at capturing local dialect and the voices of middle-class characters, Gaskell skillfully imbued all her writing with a sense of the intimate and everyday. Due to her prolific letter writing, impeccable records remain of her own daily experiences and thoughts. In this new biography, a brilliant light is shed on the life of the woman behind the writing—including her writing themes, her literary successes, her marriage, and her humanitarian work. More Information

Knutsford Guardian There will be an auction, January 24th in Knutsford, Cheshire at the Frank Marshall Auction House of the former town’s headmistresses collection of item, they are expected to fetch between £15,000 and £20,000. It includes:

A large number of maps, focusing on Cheshire, more than 100 books about the Holland family [Gaskell’s maternal family] and Elizabeth Gaskell, among other topics, and paintings, including a rare scene of the Knutsford Races in 1815. One of the earliest maps dates back to 1630 – with one book being produced in 1656 …read more.

The Musty Study Dalene wrote a lovely post on North & South and how we can learn from Margaret Hale

In North and South, Margaret does something completely uncharacteristic of a Victorian lady. She steps in between  John Thornton and an angry mob. She shields him, and is bloodied and bruised as a result. But her bloodshed is an essential part of restoration… Margaret didn’t shield John Thornton because he was her lover. In fact, they were rather at odds. That’s what makes her sacrifice that much more heroic. It’s easy to fight for those we love. It’s harder to fight for those whose opinions, philosophies, or religious beliefs differ from ours… read more.

B. Magazine Chally compares in two of her favorite novels, North & South and Daniel Deronda, in her post Iconography: Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, and Clashing Worlds in 19th Century England

I like them both so much is that they’re not about navigating comfortable worlds of privilege so much as they are about the clash of experiences. 19th century England wasn’t all garden parties and precisely angled fans, after all, but a context full of religious and political turmoil, the beginning of the end for a particular vision of England. In the minds of Gaskell and Eliot, those clashes sent up some sparks of brilliance …read more.

Polishing Mud Balls Ibeeg was recently introduced to Elizabeth Gaskell with North & South and shares some of her thoughts on the novel

The writing absorbed me into the story; the world, the characters, the social situations. I was mesmerized by it all. Matter of fact, I loved this story so much that I am pretty sure that it will make it into my top 10 favorite reads of 2010 … read more.

The Squee Traxy recently read Gaskell’s novella Lizzie Leigh and shares her thoughts on the secretive novel

Lizzie Leigh is a story about a family in the countryside somewhere, who carry a dark secret. Their daughter went off to Manchester and was dismissed from her place of work because of some sinful behaviour. On his deathbed, her father forgives her, in her absense, and once he’s gone, the mother decides to let the farm and go to Manchester to look for Lizzie… Mrs. Gaskell tells a compelling story of a mother’s longing for her lost child, and the hope that she will be found and that she’s not dead and buried … read more.


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