Academic journal article The Gaskell Journal

London and South East Branch

Academic journal article The Gaskell Journal

London and South East Branch

Article excerpt

I feel delighted to be able to report another excellent year of meetings and fund raising for the society. Attendance remains buoyant with the usual loyal band of members, plus new members arriving regularly, and interest from the continent. We have one member who comes over from France complete with camper van and family (the latter do not attend the meeting) - how is that for enthusiasm? Perhaps one reason for our success is the added attraction of retail therapy in the form of Peter Jones and the King's Road. I know many members pop into the shops either on the way to or from the meetings, which makes them part of a pleasant day out.

Our talks have been wide-ranging and have provoked interesting, informed discussions which often over-run our official finishing time. Tracy Vaughan enlightened us about one of Gaskell's neglected short stories, 'Lizzie Leigh'. She is an engaging speaker who generated much debate. It's always gratifying that members are familiar with the texts because it makes the discussion wellinformed, and most of us learn from the afternoon. I love the fact that we can go home armed with more nuggets of information about Gaskell's works and life.

In November, as a departure from our usual format, we joined King's College London for a day conference on 'Victorian Afterlives' which explored aspects of Gaskell's work in other forms. The day proved to be a cornucopia of different artistic approaches to Gaskell's works, revealing not least the fact that North and South has produced contemporary spin-offnovels. Catherine Woodward, who is involved now with the Society's web site, suggested that one of Rosy Thornton's novels and David Lodge's Nice Work owe much of their inspiration to North and South. …

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