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Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Book Group Online

Our Book Group at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House focuses on reading (and re-reading) classic works of fiction that have stood the test of time. The celebrated novels on the 2022 reading list were all published between 1811 and 1953 and provide a range of insights into the profound changes that affected Western societies during that lengthy time period. Their distinguished writers were also intent on portraying many of the ways in which family life and interpersonal relationships developed and altered in this era.

Among the novels to feature in 2022 will be one of Elizabeth Gaskell’s own major works – Sylvia’s Lovers – published in 1863 near the end of her life. The reading list also features two  influential early 19th century predecessors – Jane Austen and Honoré de Balzac – along with others from the same century including her near contemporaries and eminent successors: George Eliot (real name: Mary Ann Evans), Henry James and Thomas Hardy. The other writers whose works we will be reading and discussing this year focus their attention on the ways in which particular social conditions prevailing in the early 20th century affect the lives of individuals and families. The programme mainly features writers in the British tradition but we’re also pleased to include novelists drawn from France and the USA.  

New Book Group members are warmly welcomed. Meetings are led by Karen Laird and Mike Chidley, both volunteers at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, on the 3rd Thursday of every month from 1.00 to 2.15 pm.

The group now meets via Zoom (limited to 20 people) and pre-booking is required, together with a donation of £3. You will be sent the log in details on your e-ticket. **Please check your spam folder for link email**

Booking will close 1 hour before the group meets.

2022 Reading List

20 January:  Joseph Conrad – The Secret Agent (1907) Book here

17 February:  Jane Austen – Sense and Sensibility (1811) Book here

17 March:  E.M. Forster – Howards End (1910) Book here

21 April:  Edith Wharton – The Custom of the Country (1913) Book here

19 May:  Elizabeth Gaskell – Sylvia’s Lovers (1863) Book here

16 June:  L.P. Hartley – The Go-Between (1953) Book here

21 July:  John Steinbeck – The Grapes of Wrath (1939) Book here

August – holiday

15 September:  Thomas Hardy – Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) Book here

20 October:  Henry James – Washington Square (1880) Book here

17 November: Honoré de Balzac – Le Père Goriot (Old Goriot) (1835) Book here

15 December: George Eliot – Silas Marner, The Weaver of Raveloe (1861) Book here

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is run by Manchester Historic Buildings Trust (charity no. 1080606) and all money gained through private tours, talks, room hire and ticket sales goes towards the ongoing maintenance and running costs of the house. If you would like to support the house with an additional donation you can do so via this link.

Third Thursday of the month

15th September
20th October
17th November
15th December

1pm - 2.15pm

online, Workshops

a whispering of leaves and perfume of flowers always pervaded the rooms

Charlotte Brontë, on visiting 84 Plymouth Grove