No. 14: Elizabeth Gaskell at 40

Elizabeth GaskellElizabeth Cleghorn (I kid you not) Gaskell turned 40 on 29 September 1850; in one sense this was the latter part of her life (she was only 15 years away from her death), yet at the same time, her life as a writer was only just beginning. Her first novel, Mary Barton, had been published just two years before, and the great works for which she would be long remembered still lay ahead of her. Continue reading “No. 14: Elizabeth Gaskell at 40”


No. 4: Charlotte Brontë (not) at 40

Charlotte Bronte

The Brontë siblings were arguably some of the most influential writers of the Victorian era, but any discussion of the Brontës at 40 is somewhat hindered by the fact that not one of the Brontë children survived to the age of 40. But a writer’s legacy does not end with their life, and in Charlotte’s case, the 40th year after her birth heralded a dramatic boost to her reputation. Continue reading “No. 4: Charlotte Brontë (not) at 40”

No. 1: Charles Dickens at 40

Dickens 1852 cleanshavenIt was in February 1852 that Charles Dickens turned 40; this would be the year he would commence writing what many consider to be his most accomplished novel (and the only one to mention dinosaurs), Bleak House. Continue reading “No. 1: Charles Dickens at 40”