Today is the 200th birthday of the author of North and South, Wives and Daughters, Cranford, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, and many more great Victorian works. A celebration is going on around the blogosphere -- you can find a comprehensive list of links, plus a chance to win one of her audiobooks, at Jane Austen Today -- and although I didn't get signed up to participate in that, I thought Gaskell's bicentennial merited at least a brief mention here.
Why? Not just because she happens to share a birthday with your Dickensblogger (although it's nice to hear of another famous person who shares my birthday besides Jerry Lee Lewis and Madeline Kahn, whose names are always the first to come up). But also because of her sometimes contentious yet generally profitable relationship with Charles Dickens, who happened to be one of her editors. He published her work in Household Words, co-wrote works with her and other authors, commissioned her to write more Cranford stories . . . and, I'm afraid, made a rather ungentlemanly remark about her in a fit of editorial exasperation.
Still, be that as it may, I'm sure he would be near the head of the line to pay tribute to her on this momentous occasion. Let us do so in his name.