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Elizabeth Gaskell entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
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Elizabeth Gaskell, one of the foremost fiction-writers of the mid-Victorian period, produced a corpus of seven novels, numerous short stories, and a controversial biography of Charlotte Brontë. She wrote extensively for periodicals, as well as producing novels directly for the book market, often on issues of burning interest: her industrial novels appeared in the midst of fierce debate over class relations, factory conditions and legislation; Ruth took a fallen woman and mother as its protagonist just as middle-class feminist critique of gender roles emerged. Gaskell occupies a bridging position between Harriet Martineau and George Eliot in the development of the domestic novel.
Milestones
29 September 1810 EG was born Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson at 93 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, her parents' eighth and youngest child. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
18 October 1848 EG published her innovative story of industrial strife, Mary Barton, anonymously in two volumes. It was positively reviewed but also accused of being too sympathetic towards the the workers. Bibliographic Citation link.
21 October 1848 The first review of EG's novel Mary Barton was published in the Athenæum; it was positive, as were later reviews in the Examiner and the Literary Gazette. Bibliographic Citation link.
8 November 1848 Thomas Carlyle (whose words EG had used as an epigraph to Mary Barton) wrote an enthusiastic letter to her, praising her novel, which he said both he and his wife Jane had read with pleasure. Bibliographic Citation link.
13 December 1851 The first story of what became EG's Cranford, linked tales of a female community which draw on her youth in Knutsford, appeared in Household Words. Bibliographic Citation link.
June 1853 The linked stories of Cranford appeared in volume form, now divided into sixteen chapters. Following her death it became EG's best-known and most beloved work. Bibliographic Citation link.
8 May 1855 EG entered into the first known English agreement for royalty payment on a new edition of Cranford and a collection of Lizzie Leigh and Other Tales put out by Chapman and Hall. Bibliographic Citation link.
August 1864-January 1866 EG's last novel, Wives and Daughters, appeared serially and anonymously in Cornhill Magazine; it was truncated near its conclusion by her death. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
12 November 1865 EG died suddenly of a stroke at her new home in Holybourne, near Alton. Bibliographic Citation link.
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