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Old 07-27-2014, 04:35 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Gaskell, Elizabeth: Round the Sofa. v1 27 Aug 2014

Elizabeth Gaskell was a Victorian writer, mother, wife of a Unitarian minister, and social activist.

She was born in London in 1810, the daughter of a Unitarian minister. After her mother's death when she was four she was raised by an aunt in Knutsford, and her happy memories of Knutsford inspired Cranford, her best known work.

In 1832 she married William Gaskell, and they settled in the industrial city of Manchester where she lived until shortly before her death in 1865, busy in motherhood and being a minister's wife. The death of her only son in infancy strengthened her sense of identity with the poor and her desire to relieve their suffering, and her husband encouraged her to write. Her most prominent traits seem to me to be compassion and tolerance.

Round the Sofa was published as a collection in 1859, and contains
'Round the Sofa,' a connecting narrative which sets the scenes for the stories in the collection,
'My Lady Ludlow,' a long novella, which is 'no story at all, neither beginning, nor middle, nor end, only a bundle of recollections' about a kind and gentle aristocrat who is concerned about 'the bad consequences of teaching the lower orders anything beyond what is immediately necessary to enable them to earn their daily bread,'
'An Accursed Race' written as a scientific paper; a parody of intolerance and superstition,
'The Doom of the Griffiths,' a macabre account of a curse and its fulfilment,
'Half a Life-Time Ago' tells how 'it fell out that the latter days of Susan Dixon's life were better than the former,'
'The Poor Clare,' an even more macabre story of demon possession, and
'The Half Brothers,' - 'sad recollections... of a dear brother's life and death.'

The source texts for this edition were files from Project Gutenberg, checked against pdfs of the 1859 Sampson Low edition. I have added a bibliography, and have used British English, curled quotes, silently corrected typos, replaced diacritics and italics, set letters and inscriptions off as blockquotes with left aligned text and without quotation marks unless the writer is quoting someone, and made changes to spelling, punctuation, and hyphenation using oxforddictionaries.com.

As always please let me know of any significant errors so I can correct them.
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