The Ladies' Tea Guild

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Elizabeth Gaskell to be honored at Westminster Abbey.

image from Clipart ETC.
Along with many of you, I really enjoyed watching the recent adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's work, Cranford, which was broadcast on KTEH and KQED in this area last year. It turns out that Elizabeth Gaskell is about to be included -- with Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, and other 19th century English novelists -- in a memorial window in Westminster Abbey, overlooking Poet's Corner. I wish I could be there to see it! Here's the link:

Maybe the South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild needs to have Tea with Elizabeth Gaskell when the new Cranford Christmas special is broadcast ...

The Gaskell Society
The Elizabeth Gaskell House in Plymouth Grove
Wikipedia entry for Elizabeth Gaskell
Elizabeth Gaskell's pages on the Victorian Web
Cranford at Internet Movie Database website


Anonymous said...

She had this great ability to portray people as they really were in all kinds of different places in society. How was she so insightful? It's amazing. Just like the mystery of how Shakespeare was able to understand the society of wealthy people. Who revealed the secrets of different classes to these writers? --Spirituality of Tea

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

Yes, I'm always amazed by the understanding of some of the older writers who, you would think, wouldn't generally know all that much about certain things. I haven't researched Mrs. Gaskell's life much, but I know she was rich enough to have access to lots of books, and conversed with other writers of her day. From what I've read, she knew Charles Dickens, and could, for example, pick his brain through letters and conversations, to help her understand the working classes. I think the most successful and enduring writers must have done things like that -- write letters and converse with a lot of different people -- otherwise how would their work ring true with their readers and have such lasting power?

I majored in English in college, but I didn't read Mrs. Gaskell much until I first saw the recent adaptation of _Cranford_. Then I looked her up and found that you can download some of her works for free on Google Books ...

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)