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Authors: Elizabeth Gaskell

Gothic Tales

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GOTHIC TALES

ELIZABETH CLEGHORN GASKELL
was born in London in 1810, but she spent her formative years in Cheshire, Stratford-upon-Avon and the north of England. In 1832 she married the Reverend William Gaskell, who became well known as the minister of the Unitarian Chapel in Cross Street, Manchester. For the first sixteen years of her marriage, she combined the activities of motherhood, the management of a busy household and parish work in an area notorious for its poverty and appalling living conditions. She also travelled and started to write.
Mary Barton
, her first full-length fiction, published in 1848 and set in industrial Manchester, was an instant success. Two years later she began writing for Dickens's magazine,
Household Words
, to which she contributed fiction for the next thirteen years; her most notable work being another novel of Manchester industrial life,
North and South
(1855). In 1850 she met Charlotte Brontë, who became a close friend until the latter's death in 1855. Soon after this, Gaskell was chosen by Patrick Brontë to write
The Life of Charlotte Brontë
(1857), a carefully researched and sympathetic account of this probing and sympathetic account of this great Victorian novelist. Gaskell's position as a minister's wife and as a successful writer gave her a wide circle of friends, both from the professional world of Manchester and the larger literary world. She was a committed and uncompromising artist, as Dickens discovered when, as editor of
Household Words
, he unsuccessfully tried to impose his views on her. She proved that she was not to be bullied, even by a man of such genius as he. Her later works
Sylvia's Lovers
(1863),
Cousin Phillis
(1864) and
Wives and Daughters
(1866), are usually considered to be her finest, revealing developments in narrative technique and subtleties of character portrayal. Gaskell died suddenly in November 1865 at Alton, Hampshire, in the house that she had bought with her literary eatnings.

LAURA KRANZLER
received her D.Phil. on Gothic Fiction from Hertford College, Oxford. She has written articles on Mary Shelley's
Frankenstein
and the literary theory of Virginia Woolf, and is the author of two novels.

ELIZABETH GASKELL

Gothic Tales

Edited with an Introduction and Notes by
LAURA KRANZLER

PENGUIN BOOKS

PENGUIN BOOKS

Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London
WC2R 0RL
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London
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, England

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Published in Penguin Classics 2000
Reprinted 2004
5

Introduction and Notes copyright © Laura Kranzler, 2000
All rights reserved

The moral right of the editor has been asserted

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject
to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent,
re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's
prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in
which it is published and without a similar condition including this
condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

CONTENTS

CHRONOLOGY

INTRODUCTION

FURTHER READING

NOTE ON THE TEXTS

Disappearances

The Old Nurse's Story

The Squire's Story

The Poor Clare

The Doom of the Griffiths

Lois the Witch

The Crooked Branch

Curious, if True

The Grey Woman

APPENDIX

NOTES

CHRONOLOGY

1810

29 September:
Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson born to William and Elizabeth Stevenson in Chelsea

1811

October:
Mother, Elizabeth Stevenson, dies; Elizabeth moves to Knutsford, Cheshire, to live with her mother's sister Hannah Lumb

1814

William Stevenson marries Catherine Thomson

1821–6

Elizabeth attends Byerley sisters' boarding school (school near Warwick, but moves to Avonbank, Stratford-upon-Avon in 1824)

1822

Brother, John Stevenson (b. 1799), joins Merchant Navy

1828

John Stevenson disappears on a voyage to India; no definitive information about his fate

1829

March:
William Stevenson dies

 

Elizabeth stays with uncle in Park Lane, London and visits relations, the Turners, at Newcastle upon Tyne

1831

Visits Edinburgh with Ann Turner; has bust sculpted by David Dunbar, and her miniature painted by stepmother's brother, William John Thomson; visits Ann Turner's sister and brother-in-law, Unitarian minister John Robberds, in Manchester, where she meets Revd William Gaskell (1805–84)

1832

30 August:
Elizabeth and William marry at St John's Parish Church, Knutsford; they honeymoon in North Wales, and move to 14 Dover Street, Manchester

1833

10 July:
Gives birth to stillborn daughter

1834

12 September:
Gives birth to Marianne

1835

Starts
My Diary
for Marianne

1837

January:
‘Sketches Among the Poor', No. I, written with William, in
Blackwood's Magazine

 

7 February:
Gives birth to Margaret Emily (Meta)

 

1 May:
Hannah Lumb dies

1840

‘Clopton Hall' in William Howitt's
Visits to Remarkable Places

1841

July:
Gaskells visit Heidelberg

1842

7 October:
Gives birth to Florence Elizabeth

 

Family moves to 121 Upper Rumford Road, Manchester

1844

23 October:
Gives birth to William

1845

10 August:
William (son) dies of scarlet fever at Portmadoc, Wales, during family holiday

1846

3 September:
Gives birth to Julia Bradford

1848

October: Mary Barton
published anonymously; Elizabeth is paid £100 for the copyright by Chapman and Hall

1849

April-May:
Visits London, meets Charles Dickens and Thomas Carlyle

 

June-August:
Visits the Lake District, meets William Wordsworth

1850

June:
Family moves to 42 (later 84) Plymouth Grove, Manchester

 

19 August:
Meets Charlotte Brontë in Windermere

1851

June:
‘Disappearances' in
Household Words;
visited by Charlotte Brontë

 

July:
Visits London and the Great Exhibition

 

October:
Visits Knutsford

 

December-May 1853: Cranford
in nine instalments in
Household Words

1852

December:
‘The Old Nurse's Story' in the Extra Christmas Number of
Household Words

1853

January: Ruth
published

 

April:
Charlotte Brontë visits Manchester

 

May:
Visits Paris

 

June: Cranford
published

 

September:
Visits Charlotte Brontë at Haworth

 

December:
‘The Squire's Story' in the Extra Christmas Number of
Household Words

1854

January:
Visits Paris with Marianne, meets Madame Mohl
September–January 1855: North and South
in
Household Words

1855

February:
Visits Madame Mohl in Paris with Meta

 

June:
Asked to write a biography of Charlotte Brontë by

 

Patrick Brontë
North and South
published

 

September: Lizzie Leigh and Other Tales
published

1856

1 January:
Signs petition to amend the law on married women's property

 

May:
Visits Brussels to conduct research on biography of Brontë

 

December:
‘The Poor Clare' in
Household Words

1857

February–May:
Visits Rome, where she meets Charles Norton
March: The Life of Charlotte Brontë
published, the first book to carry Elizabeth Gaskell's name on the title-page; it was soon followed by a heavily altered third edition

1858

January:
‘The Doom of the Griffiths' in
Harper's New Monthly Magazine

 

September-December:
Visits Heidelberg with Meta and Florence, and visits the Mohls in Paris

1859

March: Round the Sofa and Other Tales
published

 

Summer:
Visits Scotland

 

October:
‘Lois the Witch' in
All the Year Round

 

November:
Visits Whitby, which provides the setting for
Sylvia's

 

Lovers

 

December:
‘The Crooked Branch' published in the Extra

 

Christmas Number of
All the Year Round
, as ‘The Ghost in the Garden Room'

1860

February:
‘Curious, if True' in
Cornhill Magazine

 

May: Right at Last and Other Tales
published

 

July-August:
Visits Heidelberg

1861

January:
‘The Grey Woman' in
All the Year Round

1862

Visits Paris, Brittany and Normandy to conduct research for articles on French life

1863

February: Sylvia's Lovers
published; Elizabeth is paid £1,000 by Smith, Elder

 

March-August:
Visits France and Italy

1864

Cousin Phillis
published

 

August:
Visits Switzerland

 

August-January 1866: Wives and Daughters
in
Cornhill Magazine

1865

March-April:
Visits Paris

 

June:
Buys The Lawn, Holybourne, Hampshire, as a surprise for William

 

October:
Visits Dieppe;
The Grey Woman and Other Tales
published

 

12 November:
Dies at Holybourne

 

16 November:
Buried at Brook Street Chapel, Knutsford

 

Cousin Phillis, and Other Tales
published

1866

February: Wives and Daughters: An Every-day Story
published (Elizabeth died without quite completing it)

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