Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Terrifying Tuesdays: Elizabeth Gaskell's "The Old Nurse's Story" (1852)

Elizabeth Gaskell (1851)

This week is National Library Week, so I have decided to highlight reading on Terrifying Tuesdays for the month of April.  The focus will be ghost stories, since I do love a good ghost story!  I am of the opinion that the best ghost stories are in short story form rather than full length novels, so my selections will all be short stories.  This is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and some of the most compelling ghost stories involve children and/or the ghosts of children, so all of my choices include children.  The first is a work by well-known British writer Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865) called "The Old Nurse's Story" (1852).  It is a heartbreaking tale about the folly of pride, and the unexpected consequences that can result when pride is indulged.  Told from the point of view of the old nurse, we learn the tragic story of Furnivall Manor House as she learned it firsthand when she was young, caring for a little girl even younger than herself.  Elizabeth Gaskell is known for her writings about Victorian life as seen from a woman's perspective, and her ghostly tale is no exception -- all of the major characters are women.  This is not a happy story, but it is a well-written one, and a superb example of the genre.  If you would like to read more of this author's works (most of which are not ghost stories), pay a visit to your local library!

From The Lecture List

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