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Elizabeth Gaskell and the Art of the Short Story

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Edited By Francesco Marroni, Renzo D'Agnillo and Massimo Verzella

This volume presents a collection of original and interconnected essays which aim to chart Elizabeth Gaskell’s literary imagination by focusing on diverse aspects of her short stories. It includes the papers read at the conference on «Elizabeth Gaskell and the art of the short story», organized by the Centre for Victorian and Edwardian Studies (CUSVE, «G. d’Annunzio» University, Pescara, 2010), to celebrate the bicentenary of her birth. While offering fresh insights into Gaskell’s shorter fiction, this collection provides an introduction to the many issues that absorbed her literary attention. Most importantly, by considering the growing significance of some neglected aspects of her works and the cultural and ideological context in which she lived, the contributions collectively delineate Gaskell’s artistic tensions, ethical sensibility and social commitment in a rapidly changing world. In their overall critical design, the contributors intend to shed light on the complex web of dialogic suggestions underlying her fiction, while at the same time revealing the extraordinary and multifaceted inventiveness of one of the most important Victorian writers.

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Contents INTRODUCTION Elizabeth Gaskell’s narrating voices: Signs and metaphors for a changing world ........................................... 7 Part 1: Unweaving the text: a new language for a new society ALAN SHELSTON Exploring the boundaries in Elizabeth Gaskell’s shorter fiction ........ 15 IAN CAMPBELL Chains of our own forging: Gaskell and a search for freedom. ......... .23 MASSIMO VERZELLA Tracing the linguistic fingerprints of the Unitarian ethos: A corpus-based study of Elizabeth Gaskell’s short stories ................. 35 Part 2: In the darkest labyrinths of Gaskell’s imagination MARIACONCETTA COSTANTINI Elizabeth Gaskell and the crime short story ...................................... 51 RENZO D’AGNILLO Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Disappearances”: Narratives of absence between mystery and empirical detection ....... 71 ANNA ENRICHETTA SOCCIO In and out of the Victorian house: The representation of domestic spaces in Gaskell’s “The Grey Woman” ......................... 81 BENEDETTA BINI “The cat on her knee”: Gaskell’s leave-taking ................................... 97 6 Contents MARILENA SARACINO Interpreting otherness: Elizabeth Gaskell and “The Crooked Branch” ................................. 105 Part 3: Beyond and beneath Cranford and its “strict codes” FRANCESCO MARRONI Narrating nineteenth-century dress codes: Elizabeth Gaskell and the desire for a turban ................................... 123 VALENTINA POLCINI Illustrating Cranford: George du Maurier and Hugh Thomson…. ... 145 RAFFAELLA ANTINUCCI Filming Gaskell’s shorter fiction ...................................................... 155 Part 4: Narrative possibilities and intertextual territories ALLAN C. CHRISTENSEN “Ruth…sick for home”: The Keatsian imagination in the novel of Elizabeth Gaskell ............ 171 MICHELA MARRONI A quasi-Ruskinian tale: Elizabeth Gaskell’s concern for objectivity. ..................................... 189 ELEONORA SASSO Morrisian hauntings in Gaskell’s supernatural tales ......................... 197 Index ................................................................................................. 213 Notes on contributors ........................................................................ 221

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