The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Gaskell, Elizabeth Cleghorn
GASKELL, Elizabeth Cleghorn, an English authoress, born at Chelsea about 1810, died at Alton, Hants, Nov. 12, 1865. Her maiden name was Stevenson, and she was the wife of a Unitarian clergyman, who was for some time a resident of Manchester. Her first novel, “Mary Barton,” published in 1848, is a striking picture of the daily life of a large manufacturing town. The pathetic power of many of the scenes delineated, and the literary merit of the book, gave Mrs. Gaskell at once a position among the first writers of fiction of the day. She afterward became a contributor to “Household Words” and “All the Year Round,” And her tales, after having appeared in these journals, were republished in book form. Her principal works of fiction besides the one already mentioned were: “Moorland Cottage” (1850); “Ruth” (1853); “Cranford” (1853); “North and South” (1855); “Lizzie Leigh;” “ Round the Sofa ” (1859); “Right at Last”(1860); “Sylvia's Lovers” (1863); and “Wives and Daughters” (1866). Most of them were republished in this country and translated into French. The work, however, which attracted the greatest attention was “The Life of Charlotte Brontë” (2 vols. 8vo, 1857). It was written in a charming style, and, as Mrs. Gaskell had been a personal friend of the author of “Jane Eyre,” she was able to furnish many interesting details of her private life.