Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell

Excerpt

Whether to entitle this book Elizabeth Gaskell or Mrs Gaskell presented something of a problem. The final decision may be seen as a tribute to her independence and strength of character; it in no way implies that she considered her primary role as other than a wife and mother, with all the duties and responsibilities this involved in mid-nineteenth century England. It is in fact of considerable interest to see how well she was able to combine her dependent position as Mrs Gaskell with her role as Elizabeth Gaskell, a writer of substantial standing among her contemporaries.

It has been a particular pleasure for me to spend time studying the life and work of Elizabeth Gaskell, and to revisit the area in which she lived. It has revived many memories, for I grew up in and knew well the Manchester and Cheshire areas which were her home for many years; I even went to school in Dover Street, where she lived when she first came to Manchester as a married woman. For the opportunity to indulge in this nostalgia, I must especially thank my editor, Miriam Kochan, and express my gratitude for the great encouragement and help she has given me.

My other great, indeed incalculable, debt is to my sister-inlaw, Adèle Kitrick, who has performed the marathon task of typing (and retyping) this book, deciphering without complaint my semi-legible scrawl. She has also given me invaluable help in matters of expression and the nitty-gritty details of punctuation; any faults now remaining are entirely my responsibility.

I should also like to express my sincere appreciation to the many other friends who have kindly supported my endeavours in writing this book.

Tessa Brodetsky Oxford, 1985 . . .

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