Postal Delivery: Daily Quotes from Mrs. Gaskell’s Letters – June 17th

May 25th, 1858
To: Louis Hachette, founder of Hatchette et Cie, a French publishing company

You are quite right in supposing that I should be glad to know any details of your progress, and literary plans which you may give me. I am particularly interested in all you tell me. If the journalist you have employed to keep you ‘au courant’ in English literature does not tell you of any good novels, it is because none are written. I never knew so few good romances published.

‘Year after Year’ by the Author of ‘Paul Ferrol’ is considered a failure. Dickens reads aloud, instead of writing and is said to earn more money in this way. Thackeray writes the ‘Virginians,’ a monthly serial of which doubtless you have heard. The cleverest novel that has appeared in the last six months is ‘Guy Livingston’ (in one volume). It is the story of a ‘fast’ young man; but it is a very brilliant clever book… it is rather melodramatic; but every scene is highly interesting in itself.

Painting: Charles Dickens, William Powell Frith
Source: Gaskell, Elizabeth Cleghorn, J. A. V. Chapple, and Alan Shelston. Further letters of Mrs. Gaskell . Newly updated in pbk. ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press ;, 2003. Print.
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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Barbara Kidder says:

    This is fascinating! I wonder, has anyone read the book she speaks of: Guy Livingston?

  2. Barbara Kidder says:

    Is it G.A. Lawrence’s “Guy Livingstone” (1857)? (This came up, during a brief internet search.)

    1. I just checked Chapple and Shelston’s annotations in the volume and is indeed the 1857 novel by George Alfred Lawrence. It says “Its hero, like its author and Hughes’ Tom Brown, is the product of Rugby and Oxford: in this case the novel deals with his whole life– romantic betrayal, a broken engagement, a protracted death and a death-bed reconciliation with his lost lover.”

      I’ve not read it yet but it’s on my list now. 🙂

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