Elizabeth Gaskell Bicentenary Blog Tour: Your Gaskell Library


Welcome to the 14th stop on today’s celebration of Elizabeth Gaskell’s birthday – September 29, 1810!  Please join me in this blog tour honoring Gaskell as 15 bloggers, under the direction of Laurel Ann at Austenprose, each post something related to Gaskell – a look at her life and times, book reviews, movie reviews, a tour to her home in Manchester [see at the bottom of this post for the links to the various posts on the blog tour], and my post on “Your Gaskell Library” ~  where to find Gaskell in print, online, on your iPhone,  on your iPod, and on film – she is Everywhere!  By the end of the tour you will know more about Gaskell than you thought possible and be the better for it!!  There is also the opportunity to win a Naxos recording of North and South by just making a comment on any of the blogs.  Enjoy yourself as we all wish a hearty Happy Birthday to Mrs. Gaskell!


I wanted to see the place where Margaret grew to what she is,
even at the worst time of all,
when I had no hope of ever calling her mine…

North and South

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-1865) is best known to us as the author of the then-controversial biography of Charlotte Bronte, where she laid bare the oddities of the Bronte household, publicizing the behavior of the semi-mad father and the destructive life and affairs of the son. But Gaskell was a well-respected and popular author in her own day; we have been seeing a resurgence of that popularity with the broadcast of Wives & Daughters (1999), North & South (2004) [the film that rocketed Richard Armitage to fame, and rightly so!], and Cranford (2007, 2009). So I give a very brief review of her life and works [this was originally posted here], followed by a select bibliography. 

Born in Cheshire to William Stevenson, a Unitarian minister, Elizabeth was raised by her aunt, the sister of her mother who died shortly after her birth.  The town of Knutsford and the country life she experienced there became her setting in Cranford and her “Hollingford” in North & South.  She married William Gaskell of Manchester, also a Unitarian minister, in 1832, had four daughters and one son, who died in infancy.  The loss of her son had a devastating effect on her and to keep herself from sinking into an ever-deeper depression, she took pen in hand and started to write.  She published her first book Mary Barton in 1848 (using the pseudonym Cotton Mather Mills), though there is some speculation that she actually started to write Sylvia’s Lovers (1863) first but put it aside to write the more socially conscious Mary Barton.  Gaskell, according to Lucy Stebbins, was chiefly concerned with the ethical question of ”The Lie”, i.e. a belief that “deception was the greatest obstacle to the sympathetic understanding which was her panacea for individual and class quarrels.” (1)  This reconciliation between individuals of different classes and between the wider world of masters and workers was her hope for humanity and it was this zeal that often led her into false sentiment in her novels and stories.(2)  But because she saw both sides of the labor question and pitied both the oppressor and the oppressed, she was thus able to portray with often explicit candor the realities of her world.  But Stebbins also says that life was too kind to her as a woman to make her a great artist.  Her tales of vengeance and remorse were written more to satisfy public taste, after she started publishing in Dickens’ Household Words.  And David Cecil calls Gaskell “a typical Victorian woman….a wife and mother”….he emphasizes her femininity, which he says gives her the strengths of her detail and a “freshness of outlook” in her portrayals of the country gentry, while at the same time this femininity limits her imagination.  In comparing her to Jane Austen, Cecil writes: 

         It is true Mrs. Gaskell lived a narrow life, but Jane Austen, living a life just as narrow, was able to make works of major art out of it.  Jane Austen…was a woman of very abnormal penetration and intensity of genius. ….. [Gaskell] cannot, as Jane Austen did, make one little room an everywhere; pierce through the surface facts of a village tea-party to reveal the universal laws of human conduct that they illustrate.  If she [Gaskell] writes about a village tea-party, it is just a village tea-party…(3) 

   Cecil is critical of her melodrama, her “weakness for a happy ending”, her overlong works that lack imagination and passion.  But he does credit her four major works (Sylvia’s Lovers, Cranford, Wives & Daughters, and Cousin Phillis) as classic and worthy English domestic novels.  

[Cranford, illustrated by Hugh Thomson.  London : Macmillan, 1891..
This copy is also available at the Illustrated Cranford site. ]

Anne Thackeray Ritchie, in her introduction to Cranford, published in 1891, also compares Gaskell to Austen, and finds the latter lacking: 

Cranford is farther removed from the world, and yet more attuned to its larger interests than Meryton or Kellynch or Hartfield….Drumble, the great noisy manufacturing town, is its metropolis, not Bath with its successions of card parties and Assembly Rooms.” …. and on love, “there is more real feeling in these few signs of what once was, than in all the Misses Bennett’s youthful romances put together…only Miss Austen’s very sweetest heroines (including her own irresistible dark-eyed self, in her big cap and faded kerchief) are worthy of this old place….”  and later, “it was because she had written Mary Barton that some deeper echoes reach us in Cranford than are to be found in any of Jane Austen’s books, delightful though they be. (4) 

Margaret Lane in her wonderful book of essays on biography, Purely for Pleasure [which also includes the essay “Jane Austen’s Sleight-of-hand”], has two essays on Mrs. Gaskell.  Lane calls her one of the greatest novelists of the time, and especially praises Wives & Daughters over Cranford for its stature, sympathies, mature grasp of character and its humour, and its effect of “creating the illusion of a return to a more rigid but also more stable and innocent world than ours” and we feel refreshed in spirit after a reading. (5) 

Wives & Daughters, Gaskell’s last work, and considered her finest, was published as a serial novel in Cornhill, the last unfinished part appearing in January 1866.  Gaskell had literally dropped dead in the middle of a spoken sentence at the age of 55, and the work remained unfinished, with only a long note from the Cornhill editor following the last serial installment.  Wives and Daughters tells the story of Molly Gibson and her new stepsister Cynthia, and their coming of age in the male-dominated mid-Victorian society of “Hollingford.” 

But it is Lane’s essay on “Mrs. Gaskell’s Task” in which she so highly praises Gaskell’s achievement in her biography of Charlotte Bronte.  While Gaskell obviously suppressed some facts (the letters to M. Heger) and exaggerated others (Mr. Bronte as a father and Branwell as a son), Lane says “her great biography remains a stirring and noble work, one of the first in our language…. and it is in essence ‘truer’ than anything about the Brontes which has been written since…”(6) 

Such contrary opinions!…certainly reminiscent of Austen’s admirers and critics!   Perhaps as Pam Morris says in her introduction to W&D, “Gaskell resists any simple categorization…her work ranges across the narrative forms of realism and fairytale, protest fiction and pastoralism, melodrama and the domestic novel.”(7) 


1.  Lucy Poate Stebbins. A Victorian Album: Some lady Novelists of the Period (Columbia, 1946) p. 96.
2.  Ibid.
3.  David Cecil.  Victorian Novelists: Essays in Revaluation (Chicago, 1962) p. 187.
4.  Anne Thackeray Ritchie.  Preface to Cranford (Macmillan, 1927) pp. vii, xix.
5.  Margaret Lane.  Purely for Pleasure (Hamish Hamilton, 1966)  p. 153.
6.  Ibid, p. 170.
7.  Pam Morris.  Introduction to Wives and Daughters (Penguin, 2001) p. vii. 

I append below a “Select Bibliography” of Gaskell’s works, biographies and critical works, as well as links to what can be found online, iPhone, audio, and film – and most everything Gaskell wrote IS available.  Many of her writings were originally published in the periodicals of the day, such as Howitt’s Journal, Sartain’s Union Magazine, Harper’s Monthly Magazine, Dickens’s Household Words and All the Year Round, and Cornhill Magazine; and many of these writings were later published in collections of tales. And, like Dickens, some of her novels were originally published in serial form [Cranford, North and South, Wives and Daughters].  I list below the novels as first published in book form, a list of short stories and essays with date of original appearance in print, and a list of current editions you can find in your local bookstore [I list only the Oxford, Penguin and Broadview editions – there are many others and reprints of all kinds – best to look for an edition with a good introduction and notes.]  There is a lot of information here, with links to even more information available on the web – there is no lack of writing on Mrs. Gaskell! – But what I really want to emphasize are her short stories, which often get lost in the hoopla about her major novels – there are many as you will see, with links appended – try some – you will not be disappointed!  


Bibliography: Selected list   [see links below for more complete bibliographies] 

Works:  Books, Short Story Collections 

  1. Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life. 2 vols. London: Chapman & Hall, 1848; 1 volume, New York: Harper, 1848.
  2. Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras: A Lancashire Tale. London: Hamilton, Adams, 1850.
  3. The Moorland Cottage. London: Chapman & Hall, 1850; New York: Harper, 1851.
  4. Ruth: A Novel. 3 vols. London: Chapman & Hall, 1853; 1 volume, Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields, 1853.  
  5. Cranford. London: Chapman & Hall, 1853; New York: Harper, 1853.
  6. Hand and Heart; and Bessy’s Troubles at Home.  London:  Chapman and Hall, 1855.
  7. Lizzie Leigh and Other Tales. London: Chapman & Hall, 1855; Philadelphia: Hardy, 1869.
  8. North and South. 2 vols.  London: Chapman & Hall, 1855; 1 vol., New York: Harper, 1855.
  9. The Life of Charlotte Brontë; Author of “Jane Eyre,” “Shirley,” “Villette” etc.. 2 vols. London: Smith, Elder, 1857; New York: Appleton, 1857.
  10. My Lady Ludlow, A Novel. New York: Harper, 1858;  republished as Round the Sofa. 2 vols. London: Low, 1859.
  11. Right at Last, and Other Tales.  London: Low, 1860; New York: Harper, 1860.
  12. Lois the Witch and Other Tales. Leipzig: Tauchnitz 1861.
  13. Sylvia’s Lovers.  3 vols.  London: Smith, Elder, 1863; 1 vol. New York: Dutton, 1863.
  14. A Dark Night’s Work.  London: Smith, Elder, 1863; New York: Harper, 1863.
  15. Cousin Phillis: A Tale. New York: Harper, 1864; republished as Cousin Phillis and Other Tales.  London: Smith, Elder, 1865.
  16. The Grey Woman and Other Tales.  London: Smith, Elder, 1865; New York: Harper, 1882.
  17. Wives and Daughters: An Every-Day Story.  2 vols.  London: Smith, Elder, 1866; 1 vol., New York: Harper, 1866.


Works:  Short Stories and Essays [in order of publication] – most of these are available online at The Gaskell Web, Project Gutenberg, IPhone (Stanza – Munsey’s), etc. 

  1. On Visiting the Grave of my Stillborn Little Girl (1837)
  2. Sketches Among the Poor, No.1 (1837)
  3. Notes on Cheshire Customs (1839)
  4. Description of Clopton Hall (1840)
  5. Life In Manchester:  Libbie Marsh’s Three Eras (1847)
  6. The Sexton’s hero (1847)
  7. Emerson’s lectures (1847) [attributed]
  8. Christmas Storms and Sunshine (1848)
  9. Hand and Heart (1849)
  10. The Last Generation in England (1849)
  11. Martha Preston (1850) – re-written as “Half a Lifetime Ago”
  12. Lizzie Leigh  (1850)
  13. The Well of Pen-Morfa (1850)
  14. The Heart of John Middleton (1850)
  15. Mr. Harrison’s Confessions (1851)
  16. Disappearances (1851)
  17. Our Society in Cranford (1851)
  18. A Love Affair at Cranford (1852)
  19. Bessy’s Troubles at Home (1852)
  20. Memory at Cranford (1852)
  21. Visiting at Cranford (1852)
  22. The Shah’s English Gardener (1852)
  23. The Old Nurse’s Story (1852)
  24. Cumberland Sheep Shearers (1853)
  25. The Great Cranford Panic (1853)
  26. Stopped Payment at Cranford (1853)
  27. Friends in Need (1853)
  28. A Happy Return to Cranford (1853)
  29. Bran (1853)
  30. Morton Hall (1853)
  31. Traits and Stories of the Huguenots (1853)
  32. My French Master (1853)
  33. The Squire’s Story (1853)
  34. The Scholar’s Story (1853)
  35. Uncle Peter (1853)
  36. Modern Greek Songs (1854)
  37. Company Manners (1854)
  38. An Accursed race (1855)
  39. Half a lifetime Ago (1855) [see above “Martha Preston”]
  40. The Poor Clare (1856)
  41. The Siege of the Black Cottage (1857) – attributed
  42. Preface to Maria Susanna Cummins Mabel Vaughan (1857)
  43. The Doom of the Griffiths (1858)
  44. An Incident at Niagara Falls (1858)
  45. The Sin of a Father (1858) – re-titled Right at Last in collection
  46. The Manchester Marriage (1858)
  47. The Half-Brothers (1859) – in Round the Sofa collection
  48. Lois the Witch (1859)
  49. The Ghost in the Garden Room (1859) – re-titled “The Crooked Branch” in Right at Last collection
  50. Curious if True (1860)
  51. The Grey Woman (1861)
  52. Preface to C. Augusto Vecchi, Garibladi at Caprera (1862)
  53. Six Weeks at Heppenheim (1862)
  54. Shams (1863)
  55. An Italian Institution (1863)
  56. The Cage at Cranford (18863)
  57. Obituary of Robert Gould Shaw (1863)
  58. How the First Floor Went to Crowley Castle (1863)
  59. French Life (1864)
  60. Some Passages from the History of the Chomley Family (1864)
  61. Columns of Gossip from Paris (1865)
  62. A Parson’s Holiday (1865)
  63. Two Fragments of Ghost Stories [n.d]

Works ~ Collections: 

  • The Works of Mrs. Gaskell, Knutsford Edition, edited by A. W. Ward. 8 vols. London: Smith, Elder, 1906-1911.
  • The Novels and Tales of Mrs. Gaskell, edited by C. K. Shorter. 11 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1906-1919.
  • The Works of Elizabeth Gaskell, ed. Joanne Shattuck, et.al.  10 vols.  London:  Pickering and Chatto, 2005-2006.  Click here for more info on this set.

Currently in print ~ Individual Works and Collections: [only the Penguin, Oxford and Broadview Press editions are noted here – there are a number of available editions of Gaskell’s individual works – search on Abebooks, Amazon, or visit your local bookseller; and there are any number of older and out-of-print editions available at these same sources!]

  • Cousin Phillis and Other Stories.  Intro by Heather Glen. Oxford, 2010.
  • Cranford.  Intro by Patricia Ingham.  Penguin 2009; intro by Charlotte Mitchell.  Oxford, 2009;  Intro by Elizabeth Langland.  Broadview, 2010.
  • Gothic Tales. Intro by Laura Kranzler.  Penguin 2001.
  • Life of Charlotte Bronte.  Intro by Elizabeth Jay.  Penguin 1998; Intro by Angus Easson.  Oxford, 2009.
  • Mary Barton.  Intro by MacDonald Daly.  Penguin, 1997; Intro by Shirley Foster.  Oxford, 2009;  Intro by Jennifer Foster.  Broadview, 2000.
  • North and South.  Intro by Patricia Ingham.  Penguin, 1996; Intro by Sally Shuttleworth.  Oxford, 2008.
  • Ruth.  Intro by Angus Easson.  Penguin, 1998; Intro by Alan Shelston.  Oxford, 2009.
  • Sylvia’s lovers.  Intro by Shirley Foster.  Penguin, 1997;  Intro by Andrew Sanders.  Oxford, 2008.
  • Wives and Daughters.  Intro by Pam Morris.  Penguin, 1997

What’s Gaskell Worth Now?

Austen’s works show up at auction fairly regularly, but what about Gaskell – how does she compare to the high prices that Austen’s first editions command?  There is an upcoming Sotheby’s auction set for October 28 in London:  The Library of an English Bibliophile, Part I – all of Austen’s first editions are in the sale with high-end estimates; there are three Gaskell titles in the sale, so this gives a good idea of value:

  • Mary Barton.  London: Chapman and Hall, 1848.  First edition.  est. 4,000 – 6,000 GBP
  • Ruth.  London:  Chapman and hall, 1853.  First edition.  est. 2,000-3,000 GBP
  • North and South.  London:  Chapman and hall, 1855.  First edition.  est. 2,000-3,000 GBP.

 Letters / Diaries: 

  • Chapple, J.A.V. and Arthur Pollard, eds.  The Letters of Mrs. Gaskell. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1966.
  • Chapple, J. A.V.; assisted by by J. G. Sharpes. Elizabeth Gaskell: A Portrait in Letters.  Manchester: 1980.
  • Chapple, John and Alan Shelston, eds. Further Letters of Mrs. Gaskell. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2001.
  • Chapple J. A. V. and Anita Wilson, eds.  Private Voices: the Diaries of Elizabeth Gaskell and Sophia Holland.  Keele:  Keele UP, 1996.
  • Whitehill, Jane, ed.  The Letters of Mrs. Gaskell and Charles Eliot Norton, 1855-1865.  London: Oxford UP: 1932.


  • Selig, R. L.  Elizabeth Gaskell; A Reference Guide.  Boston: G.K. Hall, 1977.
  • Jeffery Welch, Elizabeth Gaskell: An Annotated Bibliography, 1929-75. New York: Garland, 1977.
  • Weyant, Nancy S.  Elizabeth Gaskell: An Annotated Bibliography, 1976-1991. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1994.
  • ______________.   Elizabeth Gaskell: An Annotated Guide to English Language Sources, 1992-2001.  Metuchen, NJ:  Scarecrow, 2004. 
    See also Weyant’s online Supplement, 2002-2010 [updated semi-annually]
  • See the Gaskell Web page for an online bibliography


  • Chapple, John.  Elizabeth Gaskell: A Portrait in Letters.  Manchester:  Manchester UP, 1980.
  • ___________. Elizabeth Gaskell: The Early Years.  Manchester:  Manchester UP, 1997.
  • Easson, Angus.  Elizabeth Gaskell. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979.
  • Ffrench, Yvonne.  Mrs. Gaskell.  London:  Home & Van Thal, 1949.
  • Foster, Shirley.  Elizabeth Gaskell:  A Literary Life.  Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
  • Gerin, Winifred. Elizabeth Gaskell: A Biography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976.
  • Handley, Graham.  An Elizabeth Gaskell Chronology.  Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
  • Hopkins, Annette Brown. Elizabeth Gaskell: Her Life and Work. London: Lehmann, 1952.
  • Pollard, Arthur.  Mrs. Gaskell: Novelist and Biographer. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1966.
  • Uglow, Jenny.  Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories. London: Faber and Faber, 1993.
  • Unsworth, Anna.  Elizabeth Gaskell: An Independent Woman.  London:  Minerva, 1996.


  • Barry, James Donald. “Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell,” in Victorian Fiction: A Second Guide to Research, edited by George H. Ford. New York: MLA, 1978.
  • Beer, P. Reader, I Married Him. . . . London: Macmillan, 1974.
  • Cecil, David.  Victorian Novelists: Essays in Revaluation.  Chicago, 1962.
  • Craik, W. A.  Elizabeth Gaskell and the English Provincial Novel. London: Methuen, 1975.
  • Easson, Angus, ed.  Elizabeth Gaskell: The Critical Heritage.  London, 1992.
  • Ganz, Margaret. Elizabeth Gaskell: The Artist in Conflict. New York: Twayne, 1969.
  • Lane, Margaret.  Purely for Pleasure.  London: Hamish Hamilton, 1966.  See chapters on “Mrs. Gaskell’s Task” and “Mrs. Gaskell:  Wives and Daughters’.
  • Lansbury, Coral. Elizabeth Gaskell: The Novel of Social Crisis.  London:  Paul Elek, 1975.
  • Lucas, John. “Mrs. Gaskell and Brotherhood,” in Tradition and Tolerance in Nineteenth Century Fiction, by D. Howard, J. Lucas, and J. Goode. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966.
  • Matus, Jill L. The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Gaskell.  Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007.
  • Morris, Pam.  “Introduction to Wives and Daughters”.  New York: Penguin, 2001.
  • Ritchie, Anne Thackeray.  “Preface to Cranford”.  New Edition.  London: Macmillan, 1907.
  • Rubenius, Aina.  The Woman Question in Mrs. Gaskell’s Life and Work.  Uppsala: Lundequist ; Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1950; reprinted by Russell and Russell in 1973.
  • Sharps, John Geoffrey Sharps. Mrs. Gaskell’s Observation and Invention: A Study of the Non-Biographic Works.  London: Linden, 1970.
  • Spencer, Jane.  Elizabeth Gaskell.  London: Macmillan, 1993.
  • Stebbins, Lucy Poate. A Victorian Album: Some Lady Novelists of the Period.  New York: Columbia UP, 1946.
  • Wright, Edgar. Mrs. Gaskell: The Basis for Reassessment.  London: Oxford UP, 1965.





  1. Mary Barton
  2. North & South
  3. Cranford 
  4. Wives & Daughters  
  5. Life of Charlotte Bronte
  1. An Accursed Race
  2. Cousin Phillis
  3. Cranford
  4. Curious, if True Strange Tales
  5. A Dark Night’s Work
  6. Doom of the Griffiths
  7. The Grey Woman and other Tales
  8. Half a Life-Time Ago
  9. The Half-Brothers
  10. A House to Let
  11. Life of Charlotte Brontë — Volume 1
  12. Life of Charlotte Bronte — Volume 2
  13. Lizzie Leigh
  14. Mary Barton
  15. The Moorland Cottage
  16. My Lady Ludlow
  17. North and South
  18. The Poor Clare
  19. Round the Sofa
  20. Ruth
  21. Sylvia’s Lovers — Complete 
  22. Sylvia’s Lovers — Volume 1 
  23. Sylvia’s Lovers — Volume 2
  24. Sylvia’s Lovers — Volume 3
  25. Victorian Short Stories: Stories of Successful Marriages (as Contributor)
  26. Wives and Daughters  
  1. Cranford    
  2. Dark Night’s Work, A
  3. Doom of the Griffiths, The
  4. Half a Life-Time Ago
  5. Lizzie Leigh
  6. Mary Barton    
  7. My Lady Ludlow
  8. Poor Clare, The
  9. Wives And Daughters    
  10. An Accursed Race
  11. Half-Brothers, The    

Ebook editions at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders: 

  • The [Kindle] Works of Elizabeth Gaskell – at Amazon, for $3.99 you can download most of her works to your Kindle; but if you search further, there are several free downloads of the individual novels, and other various collections; review the contents before selecting.
  • Barnes & Noble:  same as Amazon, some collections for $3.99, many free options.
  • Borders:  has various similar options 

iPhone Apps:   

Whatever you use for books on your iPhone, there are plenty of free Gaskells available.  I use Stanza, which is a free app [there are many others – visit your iTunes store and search “books” under Apps and see what I mean!], and from there you can choose the following: Feedbooks has several; Project Gutenberg has the same as online noted above; but Munsey’s takes first prize for having the most – seems to have all the novels and stories as best I can make out – so if you are stranded at an airport or in stopped traffic, what better way to pass the time than a Gaskell short story?! 


  1. Cousin Phillis (unabridged)
  2. Cranford (unabridged)
  3. North and South (abridged)
  4. North and South (unabridged)
  5. Wives and Daughters (unabridged)
  6. Wives and Daughters (abridged)
  • Silksounds:  has only My Lady Ludlow, read by Susannah York  [very good!]
  • CSA Word:  Best of Women’s Short Stories, vol. 1& 2.  Read by Harriet Walter [a.k.a. Fanny Dashwood] Includes Gaskell’s “Right at Last” and “The Half Brothers”; CSA Word also has an abridged version of Mary Barton [read by Maggie Ollerenshaw] and North and South [read by Jenny Agutter].
  • LibriVox:
  1. North & South
  2. Other Gaskell works in various states of completion 

 [see the various blog posts listed below for movie reviews]

  1. Wives & Daughters (1999)
  2. North & South (2004) – with Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe ~ sigh!
  3. North & South (1975)  – with Patrick Stewart and Rosalind Shanks
  4. Cranford (1972) 
  5. Cranford  / Return to Cranford (2007, 2009)
  6. Cousin Phillis (1982)
  7. The Gaskell Collection – DVDs  – includes 7 discs:  W&D, N&S, CRANFORD and all special features.


Well, there’s a fine list for winter reading, listening and viewing! And somewhere in the middle of all that, treat yourself to a re-watch of Armitage in North and South! [and then of course READ it again … here is a link to an older blog post about the book and movie


This is a rather quick list of goodies – if any of you know of a particular edition of a book, or an ebook, or an audio edition you particularly like, or a movie that I do not mention, please let me know so I can add it to the list – thank you! 

Follow this link to to the next blog on the Elizabeth Gaskell Bicentenary Blog Tour by Tony Grant at London Calling:  Plymouth Grove – A Visit to Elizabeth Gaskell’s home in Manchester


The Gaskell Blog Tour:  Here is the complete tour through the 15 blog posts celebrating Gaskell’s Birthday today: and remember that one lucky commenter will win a copy of an unabridged edition of North and South by Naxos AudioBooks read by Clare Willie. That’s 18 hours of Margaret Hale and John Thornton sparring and sparking in Gaskell’s most acclaimed work.  Here is a list of participants. You can visit them in any order and all comments during the contest will count toward your chance to win. Good luck and Happy Birthday Mrs. Gaskell!





Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.” Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters

[Posted by Deb]

MORE Austen on the Block!

Sotheby’s  has just announced the following October 28th  auction in London:


The Library of  an English Bibliophile, Part I.    Jane Austen is duly represented and is among the great company of the Brontes, Burney, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Gaskell, Eliot (George and T. S.), Darwin, Fielding, Hardy, James, Joyce, Keats, Mary Shelley, Wollstonecraft, and many more, and interesting in only having ONE Dickens [Lot 40, A Christmas Carol, est. 150,000 – 200,000 GBP]

Here are the five Austen lots: [# 1-5]


12mo (187 x 114mm.), 3 volumes, first edition, half-titles, watermarks, uncut in the original publisher’s boards, original pink paper labels on spines, preserved in folding brown cloth chemises and quarter brown morocco slipcase, rebacked preserving most of the original spines, occasional spotting and foxing, some slight marginal stains on D10-D11 in volume 1, minor discolouration and staining of a few gatherings in volumes 2 and 3, short tears on B11 and H5 in volume 2 (affecting three lines and two lines respectively), tiny paper flaw on I2 in volume 2, some slight wear to boards.

ESTIMATE 40,000 – 60,000 GBP 


12mo (182 x 110mm.), 3 volumes, first edition, watermarks, uncut in the original publisher’s drab boards, half-titles, advertisements dated November 1812 inserted at the beginning of volume 1, preserved in folding blue cloth chemises and quarter blue morocco folding box by Zaehnsdorf, spines repaired (some cracks and slight tears present), upper joint of volume 3 slightly split, without spine labels (volume numbers stamped on spine), skilful repairs to inner margin of half-title, title-page and first text leaf of volume 1.

ESTIMATE 75,000 – 100,000 GBP 


12mo (186 x 110mm.), first edition, half-titles, uncut in the original publisher’s blue-grey boards with grey-brown spines, preserved in quarter brown morocco folding box, rebacked preserving significant portions of the spines, original spine labels, tear to lower corner of P1 in volume 1 (not affecting text), occasional spotting, some slight further wear to binding.

ESTIMATE 20,000 – 30,000 GBP 


12mo (176 x 104mm.), 3 volumes, second edition, half-titles, contemporary or near contemporary blue half morocco, marbled boards, speckled edges, leaves C6-7 in volume 1 partially loose, some slight foxing and spotting, one gathering in volume 3 crudely opened, some slight wear to edges of binding.

ESTIMATE 1,500 – 2,000 GBP 


12mo (189 x 112mm.), 4 volumes, first edition, watermarks, half-titles as called for by Gilson, uncut in the original grey-brown boards, original spine labels, preserved in red quarter morocco folding box, some spotting and foxing, neat repairs to a few minor tears on spines, some wear to labels and edges and extremities of binding, boards slightly spotted, corners very slightly bumped.

ESTIMATE 20,000 – 30,000 GBP


You can view the entire catalogue with pictures and fuller description online at the Sotheby’s website.  An Exhibition is to be held in Paris, then London prior to the auction on October 28th [see site for details]; a catalogue can be purchased for $53.

Can’t wait to see Part II!

[Image of  Thomas Rowlandson’s “Doctor Syntax at an Auction” from The Private Library]
[Posted by Deb]

Austen on the Block!

Auction Alert!   Heritage Auction Galleries has announced its upcoming “Signature Rare Books Auction”, October 14-16 – Beverly Hills, CA.  Auction #6048.  You will all be happy to see that all of Jane Austen’s first editions will be on the block! – all in lovely bindings and now viewable online and open for bidding: [note the opening bid and estimated value, and buyer’s premium; if there is a reserve it has not been noted] 

*First Edition of Jane Austen’s Fourth Novel in a Full Morocco Binding by Rivière & Son:

 [Jane Austen]. Emma: A Novel. In Three Volumes. By the Author of “Pride and Prejudice,” &c. &c. Vol. I. [II. III.] London: Printed for John Murray, 1816.  Opening bid:  $7500.  [estimated value = $15,000+] 


*First Edition of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park in an Attractive Full Morocco Binding by Rivière & Son:

 [Jane Austen]. Mansfield Park: A Novel. In Three Volumes. By the Author of “Sense and Sensibility,” and “Pride and Prejudice.” Vol. I [II. III.]. London: Printed for T. Egerton, 1814 (Volume II with imprint: London: Printed for T. Egerton, Whitehall, 1814).  Opening bid:  $5,000.  [est. $10,000+]


*First Edition of Jane Austen’s Posthumously Published Northanger Abbey and Persuasion Attractively Bound in Full Morocco Gilt by Rivière & Son:

[Jane Austen]. Northanger Abbey: and Persuasion. By the Author of “Pride and Prejudice,” “Mansfield-Park,” &c. With a Biographical Notice of the Author. In Four Volumes. Vol. I. [II. III. IV.]. London: John Murray, 1818.   Opening bid: $3,750. [est.$7500+]


*A Lovely First Edition of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

[Jane Austen]. Pride and Prejudice: A Novel. In Three Volumes. By the Author of “Sense and Sensibility.” Vol. I. [II. III.] London: Printed for T. Egerton, Military Library, Whitehall, 1813.  Opening bid:  $15,000.  [est. $30,000+]


*Scarce First Edition of Jane Austen’s First Published Novel, in a Full Morocco Binding by Rivière & Son:

[Jane Austen]. Sense and Sensibility: A Novel. In Three Volumes. By a Lady. Vol. I. [II. III.]. London: Printed for the Author, By C. Roworth, Bell-yard, Temple-bar, and Published by T. Egerton, Whitehall, 1811.  Opening bid:  $20,000.  [est. value $40,000+]


See the Heritage Auction Galleries website for full descriptions of each title.


 Oh Jane, whatever would you say?! – Let the bidding begin! 

[Posted by Deb]

Win a copy of “Darcy’s Voyage”

Book Giveaway Alert! –  Head on over to romance writer Linda Banche’s blog, read visiting author Kara Louise’s post about her new book Darcy’s Voyage, A Tale of Unchartered Love on the Open Seas, and ‘Why Regency Women Sailed to America’ ~ then leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book.  In this re-telling of Pride & Prejudice, Ms. Louise has Darcy and Elizabeth meeting on board a ship bound for America – interesting stuff!

[Note: this book was originally titled “Pemberley’s Promise” and is being re-released with its new title Darcy’s Voyage by Sourcebooks this month.]

[and visit Linda’s blog again on September 23rd, when C. Allyn Pierson, author of Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister, will be offering two copies of her book as well – a great way to stock up on winter reading!]


[Posted by Deb]

Jane Austen in Brazil ~ Please Welcome Adriana Zardini!

Dear Readers:  I have invited Adriana Zardini to write occasional posts for our JASNA-Vermont blog, and today I append her first post.  I “met” Adriana during last winter’s Oxford University online Jane Austen class , where we were all infected with her obvious love of Austen!  Her insights and comments were invaluable and I all the more impressed because English is not her native tongue.  She has started the Jane Austen Society of Brazil, writes a wonderful blog The Jane Austen Club  [“Jane Austen Sociedade do Brazil”  – a bilingual blog in Portuguese and English, with others available, all compliments of Google], and is a very busy Mom and teacher.  In this first post, Adriana  begins by telling us about how she first discovered Austen and the joy of discovering fellow Janeites in Brazil…


Hello! I’m Adriana Zardini, the president of Jane Austen Society of Brazil [JASBRA] and it’s a pleasure to me to write in Deb’s blog! I met Deb in an online course at Oxford University about Jane Austen in beginning of this year.  Since then, we always send emails and messages at Facebook.

I’m an English teacher in a private College here in Brazil and I teach in a federal high school too. I teach Portuguese for foreign students and really love computers and internet. Last year I finished my master degree in Technological Education and I evaluated some software to learn/teach English in my research. Nowadays, I’m preparing to take the Doctor’s degree exams, I intend to research about literature discussed online and its effects in readers understanding of the books. I’m married to Carlos Eduardo and we have a daughter called Isabella (she’s 8 years old). As a good Janeite, Isabella knows who is Mr Darcy and Jane Austen’s books! Of course, she didn’t read Jane’s books yet, but I already bought Austen’s books for little girls (in English). I want to read the books to her, and later she can decide if she wants to read the unabridged Austen’s books.

Here’s my family:

Carlos Eduardo, Isabella and me

I read a Jane Austen’s book for the first time when I was undergraduate. I took a teaching and a bachelor’s degree in Arts and Language, and my major is English Language and its literatures (British and American). When we’re studying the British literature from the 19th century in 1999, our teacher Thais Flores, asked us to read Emma and discuss the movie (with Gwyneth Paltrow). At that time, I had lots of other books to read about British and American literature, so I was impossible to read the other books from Jane Austen. In 2001, when I was studying at The City University of New York, I bought some Austen’s books and started reading it! I really like them!

In 2006, the orkut.com was a success here in Brazil, so I entered in a community called Orgulho e Preconceito (Pride and Prejudice) and there I made new friends from all over Brazil; I met some girls from my city too. Since people asked so many questions about Jane in this community, in February, 2008 I started a blog called Jane Austen Club in order to put information about the writer, her books and movies/tv series based on her books. I discovered this was the first blog/website in Portuguese entirely dedicated to Austen! People started to leave their comments and I started to write more posts too. In the end of 2008, I went to Rio de Janeiro and there I met lots of girls! I used to take my Jane Austen doll with me, so Jane was seen in Rio too! Of course, the girls from other cities in Brazil meet each other frequently! And when I had to travel to a different city I tried to find Janeites there too!

Here are the photos from the meeting in Rio:

Stand up – From the left to the right : Rozely, Simone, Lia and Andrea.
From the left to the right: Ana Maria, Márcia, Elaine and me (black t-shirt)

And here’s Jane in Rio!


In 2009, I decided to invest in Jane Austen’s biographies and books related to her in order to learn more about the author. In this year too, we had a meeting here in my city, Belo Horizonte, and we decided to start a Jane Austen Society here in Brazil since we wanted a formal group, not just people talking they love Jane and her books. Here is the picture from this meeting:

From the left to the right: Ana Maria, me, Cláudia and Pollyana

We had just 2 months to plan and organize our First National Meeting. In the next post I will talk more about our First National Meeting, ok?


Thank you Adriana for sharing with us your beginnings with Jane Austen – we look forward to hearing more about you and your fellow Brazilian Janeites! And how wonderful that we can all connect so easily in this modern world of online classes, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs!

Further Reading:

[Post by Adriana Zardini, via Deb]

‘Talk Like Jane Austen Day’

Alert Janeite Bonnie sent me this link:  Talk Like Jane Austen Day,

in Celebration of the 199th anniversary of the publishing of Sense and Sensibility, 30 October, 2010.  This site has a growing list of words and language customs that Austen used that have lost their meaning to us – the list will be added to, so check back again… some examples:

Nice ~  fussy, over particular, affected

Numbers ~ not “twenty four”, but “four and twenty” 

Only ~ use instead of “just” as in “Only think of the Marquis of Granby being dead.”

Own ~ use instead of admit as in “I own I think our political horizon still lowers” 

Scruple ~ To doubt, to have reservations, as in “We have talked of it again this morning, and I am convinced that if you can make it suit in other respects you need not scruple on his account.”

and a link to Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary in case you want to look anything up…

Thanks Bonnie for passing this on!

[Posted by Deb]

It’s all about The Men

Here are a few interesting posts about men’s clothing, two Regency related from the fairly new [since May 2010] multi-author blog, Historical Belles and Beaus, and the other on Victorian men’s fashions from the Victorian Magazine Blog.

Regency author Linda Banche has written two posts on “Gorgeous Men in Tight Breeches and Ruffled Shirts” – where she addresses the often frustrating-to-the-reader mistakes in the cover depictions  [those open shirts were really not the thing!] and the descriptions of the man’s dress [trousers, not pants]

           Gorgeous Men, Post #1   and   Gorgeous Men, Post #2

The Victorian Magazine blog, Victoriana, offers a collection of men’s various fashion options for their various activities in “Guys ‘Just Want to Have Fun'”: 


The Jane Austen Centre Online Magazine offers a number of articles and images on Regency men’s fashions:


And a number of men’s fashion plates at The Regency Fashion Page


and ALL those images of Men Dressing at the Costumer’s Manifesto and Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion


I could go on, and on.. if you search google for “Regency Men’s Fashions”, a mere 402,00 are retrieved – certainly a daunting task…  this just gives a small taste of what is out there – and see also the post at Historical Hussies, on “Pants Breeches and Pantaloons, Oh My!”

[Posted by Deb]


Strange Bedfellows ~ Jane Austen and Simon Cowell

From Tom Meltzer of the Guardian:  

“Who made Britain what it is today? ~ Barack Obama’s new children’s book pays tribute to 13 iconic figures who have helped shape America. So which great Britons have done the same for their country?” 

Nice to know that Jane Austen made the list:

More British even than etiquette itself is an awareness of the daftness of our manners and social norms. Jane Austen combined biting social commentary with observations as accurate and hilarious as anything from The Office. Though her work has come to be associated with period drama, her real achievement was to prove that, beneath the bonnets and parasols, the minds of British women were razor-sharp .

She’s among good company – the others in Meltzer’s list?  Boudicca; Elizabeth I; William Shakespeare; Admiral nelson; Charles Darwin; Queen Victoria; Winston Churchill; Margaret Thatcher; The Beatles; Trevor McDonald; Stephen Fry; and Simon Cowell. [!]

See the full article here at The Guardian, along with some scathing comments on those included and those left out – [Dickens for instance?] – the reason I hate lists…

Austen’s Life Abridged for the Young

Lives of the Writers:  Comedies, Tragedies (and What the Neighbors Thought); written by Kathleen Krull; illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt. Harcourt Brace, 1994. ISBN:  0-15-201032-7


I picked up this book a few weeks ago because it had a chapter on Jane Austen, and so another book to add to my collection, as well as yet another Austen image – and now finally have taken a moment to read it:

Here are some quotes: 

…although she had several proposals, she never married.  She never met a man who appreciated her intelligence and education, and she couldn’t bear the idea of marrying just for money.

Austen was reserved with strangers, who found her arrogant or even fierce, but her family treated her as an agreeable mouse.  None of them thought much about the writing she was always doing; it was just something that kept Jane busy, like the needlework the other women did.

At dinner parties, she didn’t say much, but the next day she might write a letter about ‘another stupid party last night,’ or ‘I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow.’

As much as she wanted to be a humble sister and obedient daughter, she was also extremely proud of the small sums she earned when her family persuaded her to start publishing her books.  She wrote, ‘If I am a wild beast, I cannot help it.’

She always wore a cap and her clothes were never quite in fashion.

Austen was a world-class aunt … [and to her nieces and nephews] she was a pretty, funny storyteller.

In her obituaries, she was revealed as the author of six novels. [me here: she had only published four at her death, P and NA published posthumously, and all the obituaries did not disclose the fact of her authorship – but I quibble]]

There are a few perfect thoughts expressed about Austen liking Pride & Prejudice better than any of her other books; and Emma being about “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like”; and how few in her own family knew she had written Sense & Sensibility; and how she practiced the “piano” in the morning and prepared breakfast.

I’ll let all this speak for itself – they certainly got some things right, but all this conjecture about her being arrogant and fierce and mouse-like at the same time and being unfashionable and never meeting a man who appreciated her intelligence [surely there must have been some – she just didn’t marry them!] – this is like the updated version of the Victorian view of Austen – I thought we were past all that, and what do we really know anyway? – I just hate to see it perpetuated for a new generation!  [the only source listed in the bibliography is Park Honan’s 1987 biography, Jane Austen: Her Life.] – and not to even mention the “bobble-headed” image [though she is kinda cute!]

If Austenblog’s cluebat is sitting around anywhere, I could surely put it to good use…

Any thoughts??  I’m off to read about Shakespeare…

[Other authors covered:  Murasaki Shikibu; Miguel de Cervantes; William Shakespeare; Hans Christian Andersen; Edgar Allen Poe; Charles Dickens; Charlotte and Emily Bronte; Emily Dickinson; Louisa May Alcott; Mark Twain; Frances Hodgson Burnett; Robert Louis Stevenson; Jack London; Carl Sandburg; E.B. White; Zora Neale Hurston; Langston Hughes; and Isaac Bashevis Singer.] – and the book by the way, won numerous literary awards:  Horn Book Honor Book; PW’s Best Book of the year; Booklist’s Editor’s Choice; SLJ Best Book of the Year; ALA Notable Book; etc…

All quotes from the book, pp.25-27; Austen illustration, p. 24; see the author’s website here.

[Posted by Deb]

‘Sense & Sensibility’ Marvel edition ~ An Interview with Nancy Butler

This is today on the B&N Romance Blog  ~ Marisa O’Neill posts her interview with the Marvel Comics / Jane Austen adaptations writer Nancy Butler:

Marisa O’Neill: What gave you the idea to create graphic books from the Jane Austen classics?

Nancy Butler: I’ve been friends with Marvel senior editor Ralph Macchio for many years. Since we first met, I’ve been nagging him to create comics that would bring in more female readers. Whenever he described the Marvel Illustrated line, he kept bringing up “boy” books . . . Treasure Island, Moby-Dick, Three Musketeers, etc. I finally asked him why they didn’t do something that would appeal to female readers. “Like what?” he asked. Pride and Prejudice immediately popped into my head. He was a bit skeptical, but when he pitched it to marketing, they bit. And then they asked him if he knew someone who could write the adaptation. Ralph knew my background writing Regency romances, knew I had a fan following and contacts in the Austen world, so he suggested me.

MO: Why Pride and Prejudice?

NB:  I pointed out to Ralph that between the enduring BBC series with Colin Firth, the Bridget Jones movies, and the Kiera Knightly movie, P&P was hot, hot, hot. He thought I was exaggerating, but before the hardcover compilation was even available for sale, the Jane Austen Society had ordered enough copies to put the project in the black. The sales manager also reported that they were getting more emails about that comic than almost any other title on their list. Ultimately, P&P was reviewed in Entertainment Weekly, spent 13 weeks on the NY Times Graphic Novel bestseller list, and was the featured photo in an article on graphic adaptations in Publisher’s Weekly. I was also interviewed by Vanetta Rogers of Newsarama and by Bill Radford, the comics guru at the Colorado Springs Gazette. (Bill told me his column on P&P was among the most shared for 2009.) Naturally, after all this attention, Marvel was eager to do another Austen title and they chose Sense and Sensiblilty.

MO: How do you go about condensing each book to fit into the installments?

NB: This is the tricky part. First of all, I had never done an adaptation before. And I had to learn the Marvel style—which involves creating a detailed plot and then writing a script after the art is done. I knew I couldn’t condense every part of these complex novels into five 22-page comics. So I focused on the parts I knew people expected to see . . . all the favorite “beats”—the clever exchanges, the arguments, the catty comments, the heartfelt revelations. Once I built that basic framework of “must have” scenes, I filled in directly from Austen to flesh out the stories. Whenever possible, I use Austen’s dialogue and observations. I’m always amazed—after each issue is completed—by how much I was actually able to fit in there! My great hope is that readers don’t find the comics either crowded or choppy.

MO: Did you work closely with the graphic artist?

NB: Yes, it’s critical to have good communication with the artists, especially since they weren’t as familiar with the Regency era as I was. I worked with Hugo Petrus of Barcelona on P&P. Hugo has a very traditional comic style that some felt was wrong for Austen. But I liked his attention to detail. Sonny Liew of Singapore did three of the P&P covers . . . and based on favorable reader response, Marvel decided to have him do the interiors of S&S. His style is more lyrical and idiosyncratic, and I think it fits Austen very well.

[see the full text at the BN Romance Blog]

Note that Issue # 4 [cover above] was released on August 25, 2010; Issue #5 will be released on September 22; and the hardcover edition on November 10th.  At $3.99 / comic and $19.99 for the hardcover, this might be the least expensive [and most fun!] addition to your Austen collection! so call your local comic book store today!  [in Burlington, this is Earth Prime Comics on Church Street].

[Posted by Deb]