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Home > Archived Newsletter Messages > April, 2009

Archived Newsletter Messages

April, 2009

Sent: April 12, 2009

Welcome to my first e-news posting!


When I crafted my web site last summer, my plan was to send out a welcoming e-news communication mid-Fall. Like my resolve to get my Christmas cards mailed before Christmas, it didn’t happen. Now I have a reason to communicate.


As you probably know, I have been maintaining annual supplements of publications on Elizabeth Gaskell that have appeared since the cut-off year of my last book (2001). When I started these, I had only three years to juggle. As time passed, having separate supplements for each year became increasingly cumbersome. As I began adding my semi-annual updates in January, I decided the time had come to merge the seven separate supplements into a single listing. I have done that with the new posting.


What developments am I seeing? The first to note is the sheer number of items. My first annotated bibliography of English-language sources identified 339 items that were published during the fifteen-year period of 1976-1991. Granted, I DID miss a few, but only a few – especially those originating in countries other than England, the United States and Canada – sources I will be enumerating on this web site in time (after I retire in August). The ten year span covered by my last annotated guide (1992-2001) included 566 books, book chapters, journal articles, PhD dissertations and Masters/Honors theses. To date, for the period 2002-2008 (just seven years), I have identified 536 books, book chapters, journal articles, PhD dissertations and Masters/Honors theses.


The second pattern to note is the geographical expansion of scholarly interest in the life and writings of Elizabeth Gaskell. In addition to the fourteen countries that I identified and enumerated during my presentation at Canterbury (Australia, Canada, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, and the United States) you can add Greece, Sweden and Turkey as countries that are home to scholars who have written English-language publications on Elizabeth Gaskell. That is rather exciting!


In terms of which works are attracting scholars’ attention, there are some subtle shifts in emphasis. There is more interest in Cousin Phillis, Sylvia’s Lovers, and Lois the Witch, as well as a broader range of her short fiction (“An Accursed Race”, “A Dark Night’s Work”, “Doom of the Griffiths”, “The Half-Brothers”, “Libby Marsh’s Three Eras”, “Lizzie Leigh”, “Morton Hall”, “My French Master”, My Lady Ludlow, “The Poor Clare” and “The Well of Pen-Morfa”. Topical encyclopedias and handbooks regularly include entries on Gaskell and on individual works. There is interest in her influence in America and her interest in both American and continental writers. New correspondence has surfaced and small details about her life have been revealed to add to our understanding of this complex woman.


On a topic OTHER than Gaskell, I would like to report that a woman contacted me because she had purchased a copy of my Aunt Ethel’s book, A Lovely Garden and out of curiosity about the author, she began exploring the Internet, only to find my web site and its entry on her. She sent me an e-mail to let me know how much she had enjoyed reading about her. I was delighted! I think Aunt Ethel would have been too.


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