Author's Bio (see also Wikipedia)
Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865) was born to a strongly religious family near London. Sadly, Gaskell's mother died soon after her birth, and her father decided to send his infant daughter to live with her maternal aunt. Gaskell grew up in her aunt's family, marrying a Unitarian minister and writer in her early twenties. After giving birth to several children, Gaskell began to write. She and her husband circulated among some of the most famous writers and thinkers of their day, exchanging ideas on the art of fiction as well as on key political and social concerns with their brilliant friends. Gaskell became close to the writer Charlotte Bronte, whose biography she would eventually write. By the time of Gaskell's untimely death at age fifty-five, she had already established what would become a long-lived reputation as an insightful and talented writer whose works—among them North and South, Cranford, and Mary Barton—could shed light on the lives of nineteenth century women and on the important issues of her day.
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