The Gaskell Society and its partners host a year-round programme of meetings and special events, most of which are open to everyone. We’re very friendly – and we’d love to meet you, whether or not you choose to join the Society. 

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September 2019

Goodness, Truth and Beauty in the Works of John Ruskin and his Contemporaries

6 September, 9:45 am - 6:30 pm
Anglia Ruskin University, East Road
Cambridge, CB1 1PT United Kingdom
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In her review of Ruskin’s 'Modern Painters 3', George Eliot writes: ‘The truth of infinite value that he teaches is realism- the doctrine that all truth and beauty are to be attained by a humble and faithful study of nature, and not by substituting vague forms, bred by imagination on the mists of feeling, in a place of definite, substantial reality.’ Through the nineteenth-century, Ruskin, Eliot and a number of Victorian reformers sought to clarify the divine and human sources…

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London & South East Gaskell Society Meeting

14 September, 12:45 pm - 4:30 pm
Francis Holland School, 39 Graham Terrace
London, SW1W 8JF United Kingdom
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£5

Out in Public with Gaskell's Women A talk by Dr Flore Janssen Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels form perfect illustrations of the mid-nineteenth-century debates around women in the public sphere. Crossing class boundaries and addressing the world of work, novels like Mary Barton, Ruth, and North and South show women whose work and personal commitments require them to assert their presence in the public sphere, both literally, walking alone in busy streets, and figuratively, in their engagement with matters of law and business. This talk addresses…

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Victorian Book Group – Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family

19 September, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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The September meeting is about Thomas Mann's 1901 novel which details the decline of a wealthy German merchant family over four generations. The Victorian book group continues its focus on reading (and rereading) classic works of fiction. Our scope spans the long nineteenth century and often includes neo-Victorian novels. We are especially interested in writings by and about women, and always feature one work by Elizabeth Gaskell. In 2019, we will explore the genre of the family saga and continue…

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Gaskell Memorial Service

22 September, 10:45 am - 12:00 pm
Brook Street Chapel, Adam's Hill
Knutsford, WA16 8DY
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Every year, on a Sunday close to what would have been Elizabeth Gaskell's birthday, we lay flowers on her grave and on the nearby grave of the Gaskell Society's founder, the much-missed Joan Leach. We then go into the chapel for a special service. You are most welcome to join us. 10.45 am  Laying flowers on the graves 11.00 am. Gaskell service

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Gaskell Society Autumn Meeting

28 September, 10:30 am - 3:30 pm
Knutsford Methodist Church, Princess Street
Knutsford, WA16 6BY United Kingdom
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The Joan Leach Memorial Lecture: 'Narrating Sexuality' by Carolyn Lambert Gaskell was intrigued by questions of gender & sexuality and explored these in her writing in surprising ways. This presentation focuses on Gaskell's presentations of masculinity in her shorter fiction but also her subversive challenges to cultural expectations of femininity. Carolyn Lambert is a visiting lecturer at the University of Brighton where she teaches nineteenth-century literature.  She is the author of The Meanings of Home in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Fiction (Brighton: Victorian Secrets, 2013)…

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Elizabeth Gaskell’s Birthday Talk: Elizabeth Gaskell and Gossip

29 September, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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We’re celebrating Elizabeth Gaskell’s birthday with a glass of wine and a good gossip! The Gaskell Society’s Elizabeth Williams will discuss Elizabeth Gaskell’s sharp eye and sharper tongue in this fascinating talk on Gaskell and gossip. Is gossip just malicious tittle-tattle, or could it be a compelling kind of story-telling? Find out more, as we delve into Elizabeth Gaskell’s writings to decide just what her gossip entails! Please join us for a complimentary glass of wine prior to the talk…

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October 2019

Manchester Meeting at Cross Street Chapel

1 October, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street
Manchester, M2 4WG United Kingdom
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£5 – £6

The Whitfield Collection, Knutsford Library A talk by Linda Clarke, Archivist at Cheshire Archives & Local Studies Knutsford Library holds a wonderful collection of Gaskell-related books, letters, cuttings, photographs, journals, foreign language editions, dramatisations, literary criticisms and background material, originally collected by Professor A Stanton Whitfield (1900-1975). Linda will talk about this publicly available collection and its relevance and interest to the Gaskell enthusiasts of today.       The talk will begin at 1:30pm, but doors open at 1.00pm,…

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Victorian Book Group – The Age of Innocence

17 October, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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October sees the turn of Edith Wharton's 1920 novel, set in New York's high society of the 1870s. The Victorian book group continues its focus on reading (and rereading) classic works of fiction. Our scope spans the long nineteenth century and often includes neo-Victorian novels. We are especially interested in writings by and about women, and always feature one work by Elizabeth Gaskell. In 2019, we will explore the genre of the family saga and continue our investigation of how…

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November 2019

Manchester Meeting at Cross Street Chapel

5 November, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street
Manchester, M2 4WG United Kingdom
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£5 – £6

Elizabeth Gaskell’s French Connection A talk by John Greenwood, Editor of the Gaskell Newsletter John will talk about the important influences of all things French on Gaskell and her writing. His particular focus will be on the actual presence of the French language in Gaskell’s novels, short stories and articles.  The talk will begin at 1:30pm, but doors open at 1.00pm, so please feel free to bring a packed lunch and eat with us. The chapel provides tea and coffee for…

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London & South East Gaskell Society Meeting

9 November, 12:45 pm - 4:30 pm
Francis Holland School, 39 Graham Terrace
London, SW1W 8JF United Kingdom
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£5

Connectedness in Cranford A talk by Annick Pommier Elizabeth Gaskell led a highly connected life. She built a vast and varied social network over a relatively short period of time and the thousand or so letters that she wrote give us a glimpse of a woman for whom forging and maintaining connections was essential. Her need to connect was not confined to her personality and social life and extends to her works. In her presentation, Annick will explore some of the…

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Victorian Book Group – Fathers and Sons

21 November, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, 84 Plymouth Grove
Manchester, M13 9LW United Kingdom
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November's meeting is all about Ivan Turgenev's classic novel. Now in its 4th year, the Victorian book group continues its focus on reading (and rereading) classic works of fiction. Our scope spans the long nineteenth century and often includes neo-Victorian novels. We are especially interested in writings by and about women, and always feature one work by Elizabeth Gaskell. In 2019, we will explore the genre of the family saga and continue our investigation of how the British novel developed…

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December 2019

Christmas Buffet Lunch

3 December, 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The Portico Library, 57 Mosley Street
Manchester, M2 3FF
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£12.50 – £14.50

The Agony & the Recipe: the Victorian Invention of the Woman’s Magazine A talk by Margaret Beethan, Lecturer (Retired), Dept. of English, Manchester Metropolitan University Margaret has published extensively on Victorian women’s magazines: her book A Magazine of Her Own? Domesticity & Desire in the Women’s Magazine, 1800-1914 asks the question – ‘Was the 19th century woman’s magazine like a corset - a source of pleasure or an instrument of control?’ She is also the joint author of Victorian Women’s…

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February 2020

London & South East Gaskell Society Meeting

Saturday 8 February, 2020, 12:45 pm - 4:30 pm
Francis Holland School, 39 Graham Terrace
London, SW1W 8JF United Kingdom
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£5

Was it quite impossible but that your Ruth should die?: Elizabeth Gaskell’s self-sacrificial heroine and the Life of Charlotte Brontë  A talk by Dr Angharad Eyre How did Elizabeth Gaskell manage to present the controversial Charlotte Brontë as a popular Victorian heroine? This was no easy task, especially given Gaskell’s own disapproval of Brontë’s novels. Nevertheless, Gaskell’s Life of Charlotte Brontë secured Brontë’s place in respectable Victorian culture for the rest of the century. This paper explores the various religious literary traditions…

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May 2020

London & South East Gaskell Society Meeting

Saturday 9 May, 2020, 12:45 pm - 4:30 pm
Francis Holland School, 39 Graham Terrace
London, SW1W 8JF United Kingdom
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£5

Eco-Gothic and Mary Barton A talk by Dr Lindsey Stewart This talk will consider how Mary Barton presents emotional and psychological distress and argue that, in this novel, Gaskell uses eco-gothic tropes to frame the environment as pathological. Lindsey is a member of our branch and a Visiting Fellow in the English Department at the Open University, having received her PhD from the OU last year. She is currently converting her research, which considered the medical and cultural uses of the Victorian…

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As you’ll appreciate, arrangements can change, so please be sure to check details before you leave home.