Academic journal article The Gaskell Journal

London and South East Branch

Academic journal article The Gaskell Journal

London and South East Branch

Article excerpt

How do you judge the success of a branch of a well-established and revered literary society? One measure might be attendance, another might be the apparent and articulated pleasure of members, and a third could be the money raised for good causes like the writer's home. On all three of these counts it could be said that the 2016-17 season for the London branch has been a resounding success. Members should give themselves a pat on the back for the enthusiasm and patent enjoyment of the talks they have heard and to which they have contributed in the question and answer sessions that followed.

Notable was Katie Baker's beautifully delivered and argued talk about Gaskell's radical voice. Katie used North and South and Lizzie Leigh to illustrate her thesis effectively. We all felt that Katie has a great future in academic life and she engendered a very happy Saturday afternoon atmosphere in February. Helen McEwan, who made the journey from Brussels, and Amanda Ford, a much closer member, were equally delightful and engaging. Helen, the biographer of Winifred Gérin who was the biographer of Fanny Burney, all three Bronte sisters, Gaskell herself and Anne Thackeray Ritchie, spoke about researching and writing her biography - with particular reference to Gaskell. Illustrated with lovely pictures of Norwood, where Gérin was born and brought up, it was an illuminating talk by one biographer talking about another. …

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