Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Old Nurse's Story - Gaskell's Finest Ghost Story

I just posted The Old Nurse's Story with annotation and illustration. If you haven't read it yet, it's worth reading, and this time I provided the audio recording that I did for LibriVox last fall.


The Old Nurse's Story was first published in the Extra Christmas Number of Household Words in December, 1852. Chronologically, it was published between her first and second novels, Mary Barton and Ruth. Although The Old Nurse's Story is recognized as being one of the best examples of the classic Victorian ghost story, Gaskell clashed with Charles Dickens, editor and publisher of Household Words, over the way she handled the ending of the story. He rewrote it and sent her the proof, which she promptly rejected, causing him to write back that..."I have no doubt, that according to every principle of art that is known to me from Shakespeare downwards, that you weaken the terror of the story by making them all see the phantoms at the end."

If you're interested in other Gaskell stories that I've posted, visit JaneGS.com.


  1. This sounds intriguing. I will go and check it out. I need to read more Gaskell.

  2. I wanted to come back and let you know that I enjoyed your reading of the story. I makes me want to write a ghost story. I have never paid much attention to the genre. Thanks!

  3. Teresa - thanks for the feedback. I've found that I really enjoy recording stories as well as reading/writing them. Enjoy diving into the ghost story genre--it's fertile territory!