The Monthly Elizabeth Gaskell Chronicle brings together news items, the best recent blog posts, covering a variety of opinions, arts and crafts inspired by, and events related to the authoress keeping you updated on happenings within the Gaskell world.
Wives and Daughters
Claire of The Captive Reader writes a lovely review focusing on the characters of Wives and Daughters
Gaskell’s straightforwardness has always appealed to me. Artifice and obfuscation are the talents of her minor characters, never her heroes or heroines, admirable for their plain speaking and clarity of purpose. Never is this contrast clearer than between Molly and her stepsister Cynthia. Cynthia bursts into the novel and into Molly’s life in a whirl of colour and energy. She is beautiful and captivating, spirited and somewhat mysterious. She can be all things to all people, knowing how to act best to please each member of her audience. And though the contrast between her and the honest, direct Molly is great, they quickly become close confidents, true sisters… read the full post.
Kals of At Pemberley shares her beautiful review of Wives and Daughters:
Gaskell’s writing is deceptively simple, filled with vivid and witty observations and an eye for irony that doesn’t mind mocking societal norms and follies… The text is peppered with several cultural and historical references that would be lost to a reader if not for helpful notes (provided in my excellent Penguin Classics edition). Gaskell’s greatest strength is her ability to captivate the reader and transport them to the world of Hollingford, making them emotionally bonded to the characters. Indeed it is quite magical that just at the moment I told myself it was getting dreary without Mr.Roger Hamley appearing often, two characters in the book say the same thing! Read the full post.
This novel is full of interesting historical detail (some of it quite horrifying – the conditions of the poor!), the characters and the dialogue are superb. From this far away in time it is difficult to say how realistic it all is, but it was very convincing. Why do I think it won’t appeal to a modern audience? Too much religion – it was definitely an open-hearted loving version of Christianity (not brimstone and hell fire), but I think modern audiences aren’t use to such overt religious over tones in their reading… read the full post.
Allie at A Literary Odyssey shares her notes on reading Mary Barton
The story meandered a bit, and lacked some of the spunk and fire that I loved in the other two titles I’ve read. The main character of Mary Barton seemed to flesh out about halfway through. The first half, while enjoyable, left me wanting something… read the full post.
The Life of Charlotte Bronte
KJ Swanson at her blog Bulletin Board of the Brain reviews Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte Bronte
Most 20th century Brontë biographers see Gaskell as having written a hyper-glossed apologetic for Charlotte’s feminine merits, highlighting wherever possible, no matter how illogical, that Brontë was a model daughter and housekeeper. I assumed therefore that “Mrs Gaskell” was ashamed of Charlotte’s passionate nature and literary ventures, and was trying to bury them under a safe Victorian “angel in the house” motif.
Fifteen years later, having read some of Gaskell’s fiction, I know that couldn’t be the case. Gaskell was anything but ashamed of strong women or iconoclasts. So was what Brontë biographers implied true? It was time to find out for myself… read the full post.