Monday, October 19, 2009

Reader's Diary #535- Elizabeth Gaskell: The Old Nurse's Story

Thanks to JoAnn at Lakeside Musing for bringing Elizabeth Gaskell's "The Old Nurse's Story" to my attention a few weeks ago. As JoAnn pointed out in her review, "The Old Nurses Story" has all the earmarks of a classic ghost story. Chances are any tale you can find about a haunted house would have at least one element in common with this one (the disheveled garden, the off-limits wing, et cetera). Is this to imply that there's no need to read this one, that it has nothing new to offer?

That depends on your outlook, I guess. First off, this story was published in 1852. I'm not saying Gaskell invented the haunted house story, but it's certainly more forgivable than a new author rewriting the tale yet again and offering nothing new. Plus, its dated-but-readable language adds to the gothic air.

While I hadn't read this story before, it felt as though I had. But like certain Halloween reruns I never tire of watching (bring on the Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror), I enjoyed Gaskell's story. It's fun Halloween scary, not real scary.

Googling Gaskell's own biography, it was also interesting to see what details of her own life may have inspired the details in this story.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Nan said...

I so enjoy reading old stories and books for just this reason.

This week I read one by H.R.F. Keating which I really enjoyed:

Chrisbookarama said...

I think I might like this one.

Here's some DuMaurier:

JoAnn said...

So glad you had a chance to read Gaskell's story! Though there must be many modern remakes, I loved everything about it ... including the 'dated-but-readable' language (great description!).

More Virago Ghost Stories for me this week:

Teddy Rose said...

Thanks for the link. I just printed it off to add to my short story TBR.