Elizabeth Gaskell

Mrs Gaskell

1810 (London) – 1865 (Holybourne, England)

Brontë was a great friend; they corresponded extensively, though only met in person a few times (her shyness once led her to hide behind Gaskell’s curtains rather than meet her visitors). Dickens, Stowe and Ruskin all also came to stay; Dickens helped her by publishing some of her stories in his magazine, though irritated her by wanting to give them happier endings. The Brownings and Carlyle corresponded. Darwin was a distant cousin (they met a few times), Nightingale a friend (Gaskell stayed with her to write without distraction). Gaskell’s Brontë biography is notable for being the first by a woman novelist, of a woman novelist.

Elizabeth Gaskell knew…