Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Elizabeth Gaskell's Bicentennial

September 29th 2010 is the 200th year since the birth of my favourite author Elizabeth Gaskell. I came to appreciate her talents by introduction to the miniseries North and South, produced by the BBC in 2004, starring my favourite actor, Richard Armitage. Since watching that beautiful adaptation I have read the book on which it was based, as well as several more of her works.

I have mentioned Mrs. Gaskell in several posts so rather than repeat myself, here is a link to the one in which I visit her home in Manchester.

There are quite a few bloggers out there in blogland who are celebrating her birthday today. My blogger buddies Maria Grazia, Charleybrown, Traxy, and Jane Greensmith have all done posts in her honour. We all wish more people were aware of the talent of this often overlooked, but immensely talented Victorian author. If you haven't already read one of her novels or short stories, you will be very pleased and surprised if you do!

One of the little details that makes me so fond of Richard Armitage (who plays mill owner John Thornton in North and South) is that he actually read Mrs. Gaskell's book before he even showed up for the audition. Although it may sound like an obvious thing to do, I doubt that very many actors would take the time to do this. 

Here's hoping that more people discover the works of Elizabeth Gaskell so that she gets all the attention and appreciation that she deserves.


Charleybrown said...

I didn't know that Gaskell was your favourite author! That's good to know! Was that before OR after you were introduced to Mr. A?

I'm envious of your trip to Manchester but glad you had the chance to visit her home!
Thanks for the mention!

Phylly3 said...

@Charleybrown -- I had never even heard of her before I watched North and South! Both she and Mr. Armitage are England's best-kept secrets!

JaneGS said...

I was also so impressed that Richard Armitage read the book before playing the part...another instance of his overall classiness.

Thanks for the mention and for stopping by yesterday.

Gaskell truly is a treasure.

Phylly3 said...

@JaneGS -- very much agree!!