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Reading the Nineteenth Century: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Supernatural Fiction

‘I implore you to tell me what this mystery is’, I cried, almost maddened by this suspense

from ‘The Poor Clare’ by Elizabeth Gaskell


Join us for a reading course which looks into the dark side of Victorian fiction. Sherry Ashworth, Visiting Teaching fellow at Manchester Writing School will lead you on a journey into the dark heart of nineteenth-century writing in this five-part evening course at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, and the first session will focus on a selection of Elizabeth Gaskell’s gothic short stories, written right here.

We are all prone to dark imaginings – and the Victorians were no different. While best known for her novels of social realism, Elizabeth Gaskell also wrote short fiction concerned with the supernatural which still resonates today.

Throughout the nineteenth century, there is a persistent interest in the duality of the individual and society and the evil that lies inside us. Come and delve into the darker side of nineteenth-century fiction.  You will be guaranteed a warm welcome while being chilled to the bone!

This course is for the general reader who wants to explore their reading a little more deeply. You can sign up to all five sessions, or come to individual sessions, as suits your interests. Participants will be expected to read the stories ahead of the monthly discussions, and to share their ideas with the rest of the group.

The course runs from 7-9pm on Wednesdays

Each session is £8, or £35 for all five sessions

January 23:  Elizabeth Gaskell’s supernatural fiction (The Old Nurse’s Story, The Grey Woman, The Poor Clare) – SOLD OUT

February 27:  The Water Babies  Charles Kingsley

March 27: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner  James Hogg

April 24: Poor Miss Finch  Wilkie Collins

May 22:  Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde  Robert Louis Stevenson

23rd Jan 2019

7pm - 9pm


The guides brought the home alive. It was inspiring to hear about this woman and extraordinary family

Visitor to the House in 2021