Elizabeth Gaskell: Her Life and Writing

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Elizabeth Gaskell: Her Life and Writing

<p>The worst fate to befall the literary reputation of Elizabeth Gaskell was being known as Mrs Gaskell. That was enough for critics to dismiss her as sweetly feminine, pious and ignorant for over a

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The worst fate to befall the literary reputation of Elizabeth Gaskell was being known as Mrs Gaskell. That was enough for critics to dismiss her as sweetly feminine, pious and ignorant for over a hundred years. Having now recovered her first name, Gaskell is held in high regard for her engagement with major social issues, her detailed world building, and the respect she shows to all her characters. Join us as we explore her life and her writing, her friendships with Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte, and just how daring (and entertaining) a writer this good woman was.


SUGGESTED READING

  • North and South
  • Cranford
  • Wives and Daughters
  • Cousin Phillllis
  • Ruth
  • Mary Barton
  • Sylvia’s Lovers
  • Life of Charlotte Bronte


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Reputation
  • Early life: Parents, Class, Religion, Education, Juvenilia
  • Marriage: Wife to Gaskell, Minister’s wife, Religion, Charity, Class, Mother
  • Writing: Mary Barton, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Cranford, Ruth, North and South, Other genres – ghost stories
  • Later life: Biography of Charlotte Bronte, Prosperity, Travel, Daughters, Wives and Daughters, Death
  • Legacy: Screen adaptations, Museum, What she deserves to be remembered for


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Outline her life story.
  2. Assess the choices she made professionally and personally.
  3. Describe her relationships, personal and professional.
  4. Evaluate the quality of her work.
  5. Compare the screen adaptations with her stories.
  6. Want to (re)read her books.