UPDATE "Mrs Gaskell in Context"

full name / name of organization: 
Trevor Harris, Université François-Rabelais, Tours (France)
contact email: 

Mrs Gaskell remains a central figure in the development of the Victorian conscience, and not least an accomplished exponent of its militant, middle-class, humanitarian ethics. And her friendships with the Brontë sisters, with Carlyle or Dickens, Ruskin or Harriet Beecher Stowe, combine to alert us to the significance of her work in the context of British intellectual history.

Mary Barton (1848) and North and South (1854) complete a triptych of works which all convey a vivid image of mid-nineteenth-century life in England: the two novels published either side of the "provincial" Cranford doing so from a resolutely industrial perspective against the backdrop of the massive new manufacturing centre of Manchester.

Her ghost stories, now largely forgotten but very popular during her lifetime, testify to the alluring co-existence of the "gothic" and the "modern" in her work - itself so typical of an emerging Victorian paradox in relation to industrial development and social welfare, progress and mounting anxieties about its effects.

The editorial board of GRAAT Online (www.graat.fr) invites submissions for an issue of the review to be published in October 2010. As well as Mrs Gaskell's obvious significance as one of the major figures in the Victorian literary canon, these articles could address any aspect of Gaskell studies, including, but certainly not limited to: style and language in her work (including her use of dialect); Mrs Gaskell and the "industrial novel"; social structures and institutions in her work; Mrs Gaskell's non-fiction (letters, diaries...); Mrs Gaskell and Victorian thought; Mrs Gaskell as biographer; Mrs Gaskell and the Industrial Revolution; Manchester, Knutsford and other locations in her work; modern adaptations (Cranford was also serialised in 1951 and 1972); the relationship between Mrs Gaskell's work and twentieth-/early-twenty-first-century popular culture and (re-)visions of the past; the neo-Victorian...

Any enquiries concerning the project may be sent to Trevor Harris, Department of English Studies, Université François Rabelais, Tours, France: harris@univ-tours.fr

Contributions should be between 5,000 and 6,000 words long, formatted in accordance with the style sheet on www.graat.fr, and must be sent (as a Word or Open Office document) to the e-mail address quoted above no later than 31st July.