Elizabeth Gaskell

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gaskell, Elizabeth


Born Sept. 29, 1810, in London; died Nov. 12, 1865, in Holybourne, Hampshire. English author.

Gaskell’s first major work was the social novel Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (1848; Russian translation, 1860), which showed how hunger and poverty can lead the working people to thoughts of insurrection. Gaskell was the first English novelist to work with the theme of the Chartist struggle. The novel Cranford (1853) depicts the life of the small-town provincial. In the novel Ruth (1853), the story of a female worker who refuses to marry the “gentleman” who had seduced her is treated with respect, but religious and sentimental tendencies are intensified in North and South (1855). However, in both Sylvia’s Lovers (1863) and Wives and Daughters (1866; unfinished), one can find realistic passages. Gaskell also wrote a biography of Charlotte Brontë (vols. 1-2, 1857). Karl Marx placed Gaskell, along with Dickens and Charlotte Brontë, among the “brilliant pleiad of English novelists…” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 10, p. 648).


Works, vols. 1-8. Edited by A. W. Ward. [London] 1907.
Letters. [Manchester, 1966.]
In Russian translation:
Sever i Iug. Moscow, 1857.
Ruf. In Vremia, 1863, no. 4. (Unfinished.)
Gorodok Krenford. St. Petersburg, 1867.
Zheny i docheri. In Otechestvennye zapiski, 1867, vols. 171-75.
Meri Barton. [Introduction by A. Elistratova] Moscow, 1963.


Shiller, F. P. “Elizaveta Gaskel’.” Iz istorii realizma XIX v. na Zapade. Moscow, 1934.
Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 2, part 2. Moscow, 1955.
Grossman, L. “Dostoevskii i chartistskii roman.” Voprosy literatury, 1959, no. 4.
Hopkins, A. B. Elizabeth Gaskell: Her Life and Work. London [1952].
Pollard, A. Mrs. Gaskell: Novelist and Biographer. Cambridge, Mass., 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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