Winner of the Portico Prize
Shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography of the Year
High-spirited, witty and passionate, Elizabeth Gaskell wrote some of the most enduring novels of the Victorian age, including Mary Barton, North and South and Wives and Daughters. This biography traces Elizabeth's youth in rural Knutsford, her married years in the tension-ridden city of Manchester and her wide network of friends in London, Europe and America. Standing as a figure caught up in the religious and political radicalism of nineteenth century Britain, the book looks at how Elizabeth observed, from her Manchester home, the brutal but transforming impact of industry, enjoying a social and family life, but distracted by her need to write down the truth of what she saw.
In this widely acclaimed biography, Elizabeth Gaskell emerges as an artist of unrecognized complexity, shrewdly observing the political, religious and feminist arguments of nineteenth century Britain, with enjoyment, passion and wit.
Jenny Uglow is the bestselling author of Nature's Engraver, which won the National Arts Writers Award, and A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration, which was shortlisted for the 2010 Samuel Johnson Prize. Her most recent books include Nature's Engraver, the story of Thomas Bewick, and In These Times, a history of the home front during the Napoleonic Wars.