Edited By Francesco Marroni, Renzo D'Agnillo and Massimo Verzella
INTRODUCTION - Elizabeth Gaskell’s narrating voices: Signs and metaphors for a changing world -7
INTRODUCTION Elizabeth Gaskell’s narrating voices: Signs and metaphors for a changing world Two centuries after her birth in 1810, Elizabeth Gaskell can no longer be considered the shy peevish little dove David Cecil describes in his Early Victorian Novelists (1934)1. Today – to keep to the ornithologi- cal metaphor – she stands out clearly in the double guise of a dove and an eagle. Indeed, one is almost tempted to say that Gaskell is an eagle that loves to disguise itself as a dove so as to be able to fly through all the rooms of the house of fiction and, in order to approach reality most effectively, adopts multiple voices, whilst choosing, at the same time, to combine the penetrating vision of an eagle with the familiar low flight of the dove, knowing full well that society is constructed from below. However, leaving the stimulating images from Cecil’s seminal study to one side, it is important to observe that, even now in the twenty-first century, any attempt to fully acknowledge Gaskell’s greatness is still met with resistance, especially in view of the fact that her bi-centenary celebrations have not only been ominously low-key but have failed – particularly from an editorial point of view – to give the writer the full attention she deserves. On the other hand, it is also true that, in terms of the canon, Ha- rold Bloom does not even mention her in his self-important volume The Western Canon. Compared to the ten pages Bloom dedicates to George...
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