Elizabeth Gaskell manuscripts now available online

Posted on July 25, 2015 by

The University of Manchester Library have made available the world’s largest online collection of the writings of Elizabeth Gaskell. From the University press release:

Highlights from the collection are the unedited ‘warts and all version’ of her biography of Charlotte Brontë and the original handwritten manuscript of Wives and Daughters. This was left incomplete as she died on 12 November 1865 before she was able to finish it and is the only ‘complete’ manuscript of any of Gaskell’s novels which survives.

Aside from its literary importance, the collection is of serious linguistic interest. As a woman and a Northerner by upbringing, and one who used dialect forms to conscious effect in her work, Mrs Gaskell is an exceptional figure in the history of English in the nineteenth century, and the collection should prove a gold mine for linguists. Hopefully this online availability will prompt some up-and-coming researchers to take a fresh look at her output.

You can view the Gaskell Collection online here.

Featured image: collage from the Manchester Evening News report.