A collection of Letters by Marianne, Meta, Florence and Julia Gaskell, daughters of the great Unitarian novelist, written between 1856 and 1914.
Available in PDF (strongly recommended) ePub and Mobi formats (with inevitable loss of design features)
Irene Wiltshire’s fascinating collection of letters by Marianne, Meta, Florence and Julia Gaskell opens a door into the social and cultural lives of a well-connected middle-class Victorian family. The letters run from 1856 to 1914. Over fifty are addressed to Charles Eliot Norton, friend of Ruskin and Longfellow, who became Professor of Art at Harvard and editor of the prestigious North American Review. Marianne and Meta Gaskell met Norton in Italy in 1857 and Meta corresponded with him until his death in 1908. Nearly fifty are to W E A Axon, a self-educated Manchester Unitarian who became a noted librarian, antiquarian and poet; and nearly forty to Ephemia (Effie) Wedgwood, great-grandaughter of Josiah.
Events that impinged on the lives and the letters of these women include the Indian Mutiny, the assassination of Lincoln, the Franco–Prussian War, the Boer Wars and Fenian agitation. They witnessed the effects in England of the American Civil War, followed the demands for electoral reform, and engaged in the religious controversies of the day. Related to the Darwins, they took a close interest in the impact of Darwin’s Descent of Man. Their letters cover, with equal verve and character, the latest news, Palestrina, a fancy dress ball, Ruskin on Venetian painters, the Pre-Raphaelites, and what it is like to play Beethoven’s piano pieces under Sir Charles Hallé’s tuition. And they shed light on the network of Unitarian friends and scholars who undertook the stewardship of Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing.
This scrupulously researched and richly annotated edition will appeal to anyone interested in Anglo-American relations, in Mrs Gaskell, in women’s networking, in Victorian ideas and social life, and in the intellectual culture of dissenting circles.
About the author
Irene Wiltshire took a BA from Manchester Metropolitan University and an MA at at Salford University where her PhD Dissertation (2002) was on Elizabeth Gaskell’s Romantic inheritance. Her research has been presented in scholarly journals, at the Wordsworth Summer Conference and at conferences of the British Association of Victorian Studies. She contributed to the Gaskell bicentenary volume, Elizabeth Gaskell, Victorian Culture and the Art of Fiction (2010) edited by Sandro Jung.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-84760-204-6 364 pp RRP £23.45 but only £19.95 (+ P&P) if purchased direct from Lulu.com.
There is also an A4 format paperback with 30% larger print for the partially sighted, at £22.50.
A Kindle version at $19.99 from all Kindle stores.
Library PDFS from MyiLibrary, EBSCO and Ebrary.