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Elizabeth Gaskell, 1851, pastel drawing by George Richmond. Public domain image.

Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)

A selective list of online literary criticism and analysis for the English Victorian era novelist and story writer Elizabeth Gaskell, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources


Introduction & Lighter Reading

"Elizabeth Gaskell bicentenary marked with exhibition." UK Guardian 20 July 2010.

Uglow, Jenny. "Band of women: Often silly and stubborn, the ladies in Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford stories were also resilient and full of warmth." UK Guardian 3 Nov. 2007.

"Elizabeth Gaskell." Victorian Web, ed. George Landow. Biography, works, and brief coverage of Gaskell's characters, style, and narrative technique.

North and South, a version made for television by the BBC, with video excerpts available.

On the restoration of the historic Elizabeth Glaskell house in Manchester, England, with photos.

Billington, Josie. "Elizabeth Gaskell." Literary Encyclopedia. Eds. Robert Clark, Emory Elliott, Janet Todd. An introduction to Elizabeth Gaskell, from a database that provides signed literary criticism by experts in their field [subscription service].


Web Sites

"Anna Jameson, Harriet Martineau and Their Friends." A searchable database for two women involved in the reform campaigns of the day, who had contact with Elizabeth Gaskell and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Part of the Victorian Women Writers' Letters Project.

The personal papers of Elizabeth Gaskell. The special collections at John Rylands Library, U of Manchester, which also houses archives relating to non-conformist churches, trade unions and labor history.

Web site for the Gaskell Society, includes information about writings on and by Elizabeth Gaskell.

84 Plymouth Grove, the beautiful house in Manchester that Elizabeth and William Gaskell purchased in 1850, partly with the earnings from her writing.

Brook Street Chapel, Knutsford, the Unitarian chapel which Elizabeth Gaskell attended as a girl; includes a biographical page on her.

Cross Street Chapel, Manchester, where in 1828 William Gaskell was appointed junior minister (in preference to James Martineau),and where 6:11:57 Mr. Gaskell continued as minister until his death in 1884.

Excerpt from The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 by Friedrich Engels. This was Engels' first book, which he wrote during his stay in Manchester from 1842 to 1844.


Literary Criticism

Hotz, Mary Elizabeth. "Taught by Death What Life Should Be": Elizabeth Gaskell's Representation of Death in North and South." Studies in the Novel 2000.

Koustinoudi, Anna. "Disavowal, Defence and Voyeurism in the Narration of Elizabeth Gaskell's Cousin Phillis." College Literature Spring 2008.

Meir, Natalie Kapetanios. "'Household forms and ceremonies': narrating routines in Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford." Studies in the Novel 38, 1 (Spring 2006) [sub ser, questia].

Shelston, Alan. "Elizabeth Gaskell and Manchester." Portico Library, March 1996.

Starr, Elizabeth. "'A great engine for good': the industry of fiction in Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton and North and South." Studies in the Novel Winter 2002 [sub ser, questia].

Surridge, Lisa. "Working-Class Masculinities in Mary Barton." Surridge notes, "The industrial revolution caused massive shifts in the organization and control of family life, resulting in an adjustment of class and gender relations across large sections of English society." First page of article only. Victorian Literature and Culture 28 (2000) [first page only, jstor].

Wilkes, Joanne. "'Have at the masters': literary allusions in Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton." Writes Wilkes, "I am concerned to show, how a number of "high-culture" literary allusions are geared to dignify the feelings and experiences of the working-class characters in the eyes of middle- and upper-class readers. The major part of the article then goes on to draw out the significance of two important clusters of allusions that relate, firstly, to the Barton/Carson class-conflict plot, and secondly, to the ambivalent figure of John Barton's sister-in-law, the prostitute Esther." Studies in the Novel Summer 2007.


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