Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, (29 September 1810 - 12 November 1865), was an English novelist, biographer, and short story writer. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of Victorian society, including the very poor, and are of interest to social historians as well as lovers of literature. Some of Gaskell's best known novels are Cranford (1851-53), North and South (1854-55), and Wives and Daughters (1865).
Cranford is one of the better-known novels of Elizabeth Gaskell. It was first published, irregularly, in eight instalments, between December 1851 and May 1853, in the magazine Household Words, which was edited by Charles Dickens. It was then published, with minor revision, in book form in 1853. In the years following Elizabeth Gaskell's death the novel became immensely popular.
Elizabeth Gaskell's much loved novel of small town, rural life.
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell was born in London in 1810. Her mother, Eliza, the niece of the potter Josiah Wedgwood, died when she was a child. Much of her childhood was spent in Knutsford, Cheshire, a town she would later immortalize as Cranford. In 1832 she married a Unitarian minister, William Gaskell, and they settled in Manchester. The industrial surroundings offered her inspiration for her writings and it was here that she wrote both Cranford (1853) and North and South (1855), as well as the first biography of Charlotte Bronte. Her last novel, Wives and Daughters, said by many to be her most mature work, remained unfinished at the time of her death in 1865.