Monday, November 07, 2011

Gaskell 20 Questions...19 Answers!

Back in September, I posted the questions that the Gaskell Society posed in their latest bulletin. Despite having read Jenny Uglow's bio of Gaskell while I was reading most of her major works a couple of years ago, I didn't do very well answering the questions.

Now, after spending some quality time with the bio (the index, that is) and my friend, Google, here are my answers. There's only one left that I haven't uncovered yet.

1. What was the address of Elizabeth Stevenson's London birthplace?

Gaskell was born Elizabeth Stevenson on 29 September 1810, at 93 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, which was then on the outskirts of London

2. In which month and year did she die?
She died 12 November 1865(1865-11-12) (aged 55) in Holybourne, Hampshire, England

3. What was the second name of Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell's daughter, Julia?

Julia, the fifth living child of Elizabeth and William Gaskell, was christened Julia Bradford Gaskell. Born in 1846 and a favorite of Charlotte Bronte, who once wrote to her Elizabeth, “Could you manage to convey a small kiss to that dear but dangerous little person, Julia? She has surreptitiously possessed herself of a minute fraction of my heart, which has been missing ever since I saw her.”

4. Who was the music teacher to the Gaskell family at Plymouth Grove?

According to Wikipedia, "conductor Charles Hallé also visited Elizabeth Gaskell at Plymouth Grove. Hallé visited the house often, teaching Meta Gaskell how to play the piano."

5. Name 4 other names which appear with ECG in the window of Poets' Corner.

John Bunyon, William Cowper, George Herbert, James R. Lowell

I'm not entirely comfortable with this answer. Wikipedia entry for Poet's Corner says "As floor and wall space began to run out, the decision was taken to install a stained glass memorial window (unveiled in 1994 in memory of Edward Horton Hubbard), and it is here that new names are added in the form of inscribed panes of glass. There is room for 20 names, and currently (early 2010) there are six names on this window, with a new entry (Elizabeth Gaskell) planned for 25 September 2010." Since Gaskell's name was added, there should be 7, but I only found four. The others are described as being on a "Panel on Hubbard memorial window"--those with that designation are Fanny Burney, Robert Herrick, A.E. Housman, Christopher Marlowe, Alexander Pope, and Oscar Wilde.

6. What was the cause of death of ECG's son, William?

Willie died of scarlet fever as an infant during a family holiday in North Wales.

7. Which of ECG's novels finish with these words--"That woman!"?

North and South

I didn't even need to look this one up!

8. In North and South, where is Captain Lennox's regiment stationed?

Corfu, a Greek island in the Ionian Sea...didn't have to look up that one either!

9. What was the name of Aunt Lumb's daughter?

Mary Anne - she was 20 when Elizabeth's mother died and she suggested to her mother that they give the infant a home with them in Knutsford.

10. Which continental city is featured in Dark Night's Work?

Rome - I haven't read this story yet, but it sounds interesting, fraught with conflicting emotions and moral ambiguity Gaskell explores so well.

11. Which publication was Mr Davis reading in The Squire's Story?

Gentleman's Magazine

12. Which word did ECG use to describe the drains at Plymouth Grove?

Horrid - apparently the drains at Plymouth Grove plagued her

13. By what name did William Gaskell call his wife?


14. Where was ECG when she wished she had a book to write instead of just a letter?

Haven't figured this one out yet? Anyone know this one?

15. What did Lizzie Leigh want her baby to be called?

Anne, same as her mother.

16. Which ECG novel has a link with Winchester?

Sylvia's Lovers - Phillip stays awhile at St. Sepulchre's after he comes back to England, and I think it is modeled Henry de Blois' foundation of St. Cross in Winchester. That's what I gleaned from a Google search that landed me on a copy of Sylvia's Lovers, and that was what the introduction seemed to be saying.

17. Name 3 doctors who appear in ECG's fiction?

Gibson (W&D), Harrison (Mr. Harrison's Confession, 1851), Donaldson (both N&S and W&D)

18. Which surname does ECG use in both Wives and Daughters and The Half Brothers?

Preston - Mr. Preston from Wives and Daughters makes my skin crawl.

19. Which short story by ECG begins with this line -- "Mr and Mrs Openshaw came from Manchester to settle in London."

The Manchester Marriage (1858)- another short story I haven't yet read.

20. Which ECG biographer has recently become the President of The Literary Alliance of Literary Societies?

Jenny Uglow, who wrote a wonderful bio of Gaskell.


  1. I'd definitely need to look up most of those - apart from 'That woman!'

  2. I think you'd be referring to this letter:

    Which would make the answer "Chatsworth"?

  3. Jason - I think you are right! Thanks for the answer. I read the letter through--what a delightful correspondent ECG was.

  4. Glad that I could help! Yes, I read a few of her letters when I was studying Florence Nightingale - she was an excellent correspondent. ITs a shame she never wrote an epistolary novel!