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ELIZABETH CLEGHORN GASKELL (1810-1865)

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 504 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ELIZABETH CLEGHORN GASKELL (1810-1865), English novelist and biographer, was born on the 29th of September 1810 in Lindsay Row, Chelsea, London, since destroyed to make way for Cheyne Walk. Her father, William Stevenson (1772-1829), came from Berwick-on-Tweed, and had been successively Unitarian minister, farmer, boarding-house keeper for students at Edinburgh, editor of the Scots Magazine, and contributor to the Mechanical Name of Year. Dimensions ' Indicated Brake Type of Engine. Efficiency. Experimenter. of Motor Thermal Thermal Cylinders. Efficiency. Efficiency. Per cent. Diam. Stroke. Per cent. Per cent. 84 Garrett 1884 9' X 20' 16.4 14 . Clerk-Sterne Stockport Co. 1884 .. I I.2 Andrews & Co. 83 Clerk . 1887 9" X 15" 20.2 16.9 Clerk-Tangye Atkinson . . . 1885 7i" 15 Atkinson 75 Meyer 1903 26l"X(2"X371') 38 29 Oechelhauser 75 Mather & Platt 1907 .. .. 30.6 23 Koerting v v r-' and if vjv =1/r, the compression ratio, then r and assumes that the working fluid is air, that its specific heat Thus in all three symmetrical cycles of constant temperature, constant pressure and constant volume the thermal efficiency of 4 maximum volume before com- pression to the volume after com- pression; and, given this ratio, called I/r, which does not depend in any way upon temperature determinations but only upon the construction and valve-setting of the engine, we have a means of settling the ideal efficiency proper for the particular engine. Any desired ideal efficiency may be obtained from any of the cycles by selecting a suitable compres- sion ratio. Table III., giving the theoretical thermal efficiency for these three symmetrical cycles of constant temperature, pressure and volume, extends from a compression ratio of ; to iath. Such compression ratios as Cycles of Constant Temperature, Pressure and Volume. I/r E .. 0.246 . 0.36 0.43 . . . . 0.48 Edinburgh Review, before he received the post of Keeper of the Records to the Treasury, which he held until his death. His first wife, Elizabeth Holland, was Mrs Gaskell's mother. She was a Holland of Sandlebridge, Knutsford, Cheshire, in which county the family name had long been and is still of great account. Mrs Stevenson died a month after her daughter was born, and the babe was carried into Cheshire to Knutsford to be adopted by her aunt, Mrs Lumb. Thus her childhood was spent in the pleasant environment that she has idealized in Cranford. At fifteen years of age she went to a boarding-school at Stratford-on-Avon, kept by Miss Byerley, where she. remained until her seventeenth year. Then came occasional visits to London to see her father and his second wife, and after her father's death in 1829 to her uncle, Swinton Holland. Two winters seem to have been spent in Newcastle-on-Tyne in the family of William Turner, a Unitarian minister, and a third in Edinburgh. On the 3oth of August 1832 she was married in the parish church of Knutsford to William Gaskell, minister of the Unitarian chapel in Cross Street, Manchester, and the author of many treatises and sermons in support of his own religious denomination. Mr Gaskell held the chair of English history and literature in Manchester New College. Henceforth Mrs Gaskell'slife belonged to Manchester. She and her husband lived first in Dover Street, then in Rumford Street, and finally in 185o at 84 Plymouth Grove. Her literary life began with poetry. She and her husband aspired to emulate George Crabbe and write the annals of the Manchester poor. One poetic " Sketch," which appeared in Blackwood's Magazine for January 1837, seems to have been the only outcome of this ambition. Henceforth, while in perfect union in all else, husband and wife were to go their separate literary ways, Mrs Gaskell to become a successful novelist, whose books were to live side by side with those of greater masters, Mr Gaskell to be a distinguished Unitarian divine, whose sermons, lectures and hymns are now all but forgotten. In her earlier married life Mrs Gaskell was mainly occupied with domestic duties—she had seven children—and philanthropic work among the poor. Her first published prose effort was probably a letter that she addressed to William Howitt on hearing that he contemplated a volume entitled Visits to Remarkable Places. She then told the legend of Clopton Hall, Warwickshire, as she had heard it in schooldays, and Howitt incorporated the letter in that book, which was published in 1840. Serious authorship, however, does not seem tohavebeen commenced until four or five years later. In 1844 Mr and Mrs Gaskell visited North Wales, where their only son " Willie " died of scarlet fever at the age of ten months, and it was, it is said, to distract Mrs Gaskell from her sorrow that her husband suggested a long work of fiction, and Mary Barton was begun. There were earlier short stories in Howitt's Journal, where " Libbie Marsh'sThree Eras" and "The Sexton's Hero" appeared in 1847. But it was Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life that laid the foundation of Mrs Gaskell's literary career. It was completed in 1847 and offered to a publisher who returned it unread. It was then sent to Chapman & Hall, who retained the manuscript for a year without reading it or communicating with the author. A reminder, however, led to its being sought for, considered and accepted, the publishers agreeing to pay the author boo for the copyright. It was published anonymously in two volumes in 1848. This story had a wide popularity, and its author secured first the praise and then the friendship of Carlyle, Landor and Dickens. Dickens indeed asked her in 1850 to become a contributor to his new magazine Household Words, and here the whole of Cranford appeared at intervals from December 1851 to May 1853, exclusive of one sketch, reprinted in the " World's Classics " edition (1907), that was published in .411 the Year Round for November 1863. Earlier than this, indeed, for the very first number of Household Words she had written "Lizzie Leigh." Mrs Gaskell's second book, however, was The Moorland Cottage, a dainty little volume that appeared* at Christmas 1850 with illustrations by Birket Foster. In the Christmas number of Household Words for 1853 appeared " The Squire's Story," reprinted in Lizzie Leigh and other Tales in 1865. In 1853 appeared another long novel, Ruth, and the incomparable Cranford. This last—now the most popular of her books—is an idyll of village life, largely inspired by girlish memories of Knutsford and its people. In Ruth, which first appeared in three volumes, Mrs Gaskell turned to a delicate treatment of a girl's betrayal and her subsequent rescue. Once more we are introduced to Knutsford, thinly disguised, and to the little Unitarian chapel in that town where the author had worshipped in early years. In 1855 North and South was published. It had previously appeared serially in Household Words. Then came—in 1857-the Life of Charlotte Bronte, in two volumes. Miss Bronte, who had enjoyed the friendship of Mrs Gaskell and had exchanged visits, died in March 1855. Two years earlier she had begged her publishers to postpone the issue of her own novel Villelte in order that her friend's Ruth should not suffer. This biography, by its vivid presentation of the sad, melancholy and indeed tragic story of the three Bronte sisters, greatly widened the interest in their writings and gave its author a considerable place among English biographers. But much matter was contained in the first and second editions that was withdrawn from the third. Certain statements made by the writer as to the school of Charlotte Bronte's infancy, an identification of the " Lowood " of Jane Eyre with the existing school, and the acceptance of the story of Bramwell Bronte's ruin having been caused by the woman in whose house he had lived as tutor, brought threats of libel actions. Apologies were published, and the third edition of the book was modified, as Mrs Gaskell declares, by " another hand." The book in any case remains one of the best biographies in the language. An introduction by Mrs Gaskell to the then popular novel, Mabel Vaughan, was also included in her work of this year 1857, but no further book was published by her until 185g, when, under the title of Round the Sofa, she collected many of her contributions to periodical literature. Round the Sofa appeared in two volumes, the first containing only " My Lady Ludlow," the second five short stories. These stories reappeared the same year in one volume as My Lady Ludlow and other Tales. In the next year 186o appeared yet another volume of short stories, entitled Right at Last and other Tales. The title story had appeared two years earlier in Household Words as " The Sin of a Father." In 1862 Mrs Gaskell wrote a preface to a little book by Colonel Vecchj, translated from the - Italian—Garibaldi and Caprera, and in 1863 she published her last long novel, Sylvia's Lovers, dedicated " to My dear Husband by her who best knows his Value." After this we have—in 1863—a one-volume story, A Dark Night's Work, and in the same year Cousin Phyllis and other Tales appeared. Reprinted short stories from All the Year Round, Cornhill Magazine, and other publications, tend to lengthen the number of books published by Mrs Gaskell during her lifetime. The Grey Woman and other Tales appeared in 1865. Mrs Gaskell died on the 12th of November 1865 at Holyburn, Alton, Hampshire, in a house she had just purchased with the profits of her writings as a present for her husband. She was buried in the little graveyard of the Knutsford Unitarian church. Her unfinished novel Wives and Daughters was published in two volumes in 1866. _ Mrs Gaskell has enjoyed an ever gaining popularity since her death. Cranford has. been published in a hundred forms and with many illustrators. It is unanimously accepted as a classic. Scarcely less recognition is awarded to the Life of Charlotte Bronte, which is in every library. The many volumes of novels and stories seemed of less secure permanence until the falling in of their copyrights revealed the fact that a dozen publishers thought them worth reprinting. The most complete editions, however, are the " Knutsford Edition," edited with introductions,by A.W. Ward, in eight volumes (Smith, Elder), and the " World's Classics " edition, edited by Clement Shorter, in to volumes (Henry Froude, 4908). There is no biography of Mrs Gaskell, she having forbidden the publication of any of her letters. See, however, the biographical introduction to the " Knutsford " Mary Barton by A. W. Ward; the Letters of Charles Dickens; Women Writers, by C. J. Hamilton, second series; H. B. Stowe's Life and Letters, edited by Annie Fields; Autobiography of Mrs Fletcher; Mrs Gaskell and Knutsford, by G. A. Payne; Cranford, with a preface by Anne Thackeray Ritchie; Ecrivains modernes de l'Angleterre, by ):mile Montegut. (C. K. S.) 1852. His collected works, of which the most important is the Syntagma philosophicum (Opera, i. and ii.), were published in 1658 by Montmort (6 vols., Lyons). Another edition, also in 6 folio volumes, was published by N. Averanius in 1727. The first two are occupied entirely with his Syntagma philosophicum; the third contains his critical writings on Epicurus, Aristotle, Descartes, Fludd and Lord Herbert, with some occasional pieces on certain problems of physics; the fourth, his Institutio astronomica, and his Commentarii de rebus celestibus; the fifth, his commentary on the tenth book of Diogenes Laertius, the biographies of Epicurus, N. C. F. de Peiresc, Tycho Brahe, Copernicus, Georg von Peuerbach, and Regiomontanus, with some tracts on the value of ancient money, on the Roman calendar, and on the theory of music, to all which is appended a large and prolix piece entitled Notitia ecclesiae Diniensis; the sixth volume contains his correspondence. The Lives, especially those of Copernicus, Tycho and Peiresc, have been justly admired. That of Peiresc has been repeatedly printed; it has also been translated into English. Gassendi was one of the first after the revival of letters who treated the literature of philosophy in a lively way. His writings of this kind, though too laudatory and somewhat diffuse, have great merit; they abound in those anecdotal details, natural yet not obvious reflections, and vivacious turns of thought, which made Gibbon style him, with some extravagance certainly, though it was true enough up to Gassendi's time—" le meilleur philosophe des litterateurs, et le meilleur litterateur des philosophes." Gassendi holds an honourable place in the history of physical science. He certainly added little to the stock of human knowledge, but the clearness of his exposition and the manner in which he, like Bacon, urged the importance of experimental research, were of inestimable service to the cause of science. To what extent any place can be assigned him in the history of philosophy is more doubtful. The Exercitationes on the whole seem to have excited more attention than they deserved. They contain little or nothing beyond what had been already advanced against Aristotle. The first book expounds clearly, and with much vigour, the evil effects of the blind acceptance of the Aristotelian dicta on physical and philosophical study; but, as is the case with so many of the anti-Aristotelian works of this period, the objections show the usual ignorance of Aristotle's own writings. The second book, which contains the review of Aristotle's dialectic or logic, is throughout Ramist in tone and method. The objections to Descartes—one of which at least, through Descartes's statement of it in the appendix of objections in the Meditationes has become famous—have no speculative value, and in general are the outcome of the crudest empiricism. His labours on Epicurus have a certain historical value, but the want of consistency inherent in the philosophical system raised on Epicurean-ism is such as to deprive it of genuine worth. Along with strong expressions of empiricism we find him holding doctrines absolutely irreconcilable with empiricism in any form. For while he maintains constantly his favourite maxim " that there is nothing in the intellect which has not been in the senses " (nihil in intellectu quod non prius fuerit in sensu), while he contends that the imaginative faculty (phantasia) is the counterpart of sense—that, as it has to do with material images, it is itself, like sense, material, and essentially the same both in men and brutes; he at the same time admits that the intellect, which he affirms to be immaterial and immortal—the most characteristic distinction of humanity—attains notions and truths of which no effort of sensation or imagination can give us the slightest apprehension (Op. ii. 383). He instances the capacity of forming " general notions "; the very conception of universality itself (ib. 384); to which he says brutes, who partake as truly as men in the faculty called phantasia, never attain ; the notion of God, whom he says we may imagine to be corporeal, but understand to be in-corporeal; and lastly, the reflex action by which the mind makes its own phenomena and operations the objects of attention. The Syntagma philosophicum, in fact, is one of those eclectic systems which unite, or rather place in juxtaposition, irreconcilable dogmas from various schools of thought. It is divided, according to the usual fashion of the Epicureans, into logic (which, with Gassendi as with Epicurus, is truly canonic), physics and ethics. The logic, which contains at least one praiseworthy portion, a sketch of the history of the science, is divided into theory of right apprehension (bene imaginari), theory of right judgment (bene proponere), theory of right inference (bene colligere), theory of right method (bene ordinare). The first part contains the specially empirical positions which Gassendi afterwards neglects or leaves out of account. The senses, the sole source of knowledge, are supposed to yield us immediately cognition of individual things; phantasy (which Gassendi GASSENDI' [GASSENDI, PIERRE (1592-1655), French philo- bronze statue of hi t1 was erected by subscription at Digne in sopher, scientist and mathematician, was born of poor parents at Champtercier, near Digne, in Provence, on the 22nd of January 1 592. At a very early age he gave indications of remarkable mental powers and was sent to the college at Digne.. He showed particular aptitude for languages and mathematics, and it is said that at the age of sixteen he was invited to lecture on rhetoric at the college. Soon afterwards he entered the university of Aix, to study philosophy under P. Fesaye. In 1612 he was called to the college of Digne to lecture on theology. Four years later he received the degree of doctor of theology at Avignon, and in 1617 he took holy orders. In the same year he was called to the chair of philosophy at Aix, and seems gradually to have withdrawn from theology. He lectured principally on the Aristotelian philosophy, conforming as far as possible to the orthodox methods. At the same time, however, he followed with interest the discoveries of Galileo and Kepler, and became more and more dissatisfied with the Peripatetic system. It was the period of revolt against the Aristotelianism of the schools, and Gassendi shared to the full the empirical tendencies of the age. He, too, began to draw up objections to the Aristotelian philosophy, but did not at first venture to publish them. In 1624, however, after he had left Aix for a canonry at Grenoble, he printed the first part of his Exercitationes paradoxicae adversus Aristoteleos. A fragment of the second book was published later at La Haye (1659), but the remaining five were never composed, Gassendi apparently thinking that after the Discussiones Peripateticae of Francesco Patrizzi little field was left for his labours. After 1628 Gassendi travelled in Flanders and Holland. During this time he wrote, at the instance of Mersenne, his examination of the mystical philosophy of Robert Fludd (Epistolica dissertatio in qua praecipua principia philosophiae Ro. Fluddi deteguntur, 1631), an essay on parhelia (Epistola de parheiiis), and some valuable observations on the transit of Mercury which had been foretold by Kepler. He returned to France in 1631, and two years later became provost of the cathedral church at Digne. Some years were then spent in travelling through Provence with the duke of Angouleme, governor of the department. The only literary work of this period is the Life of Peiresc, which has been frequently reprinted, and was translated into English. In 1642 he was engaged by Mersenne in controversy with Descartes. His objections to the fundamental propositions of Descartes were published in 1642; they appear as the fifth in the series contained in the works of Descartes. In these objections Gassendi's tendency towards the empirical school of speculation appears more pronounced than in any of his other writings. In 1645 he accepted the chair of mathematics in the College Royal at Paris, and lectured for many years with great success. In addition to controversial writings on physical questions, there appeared during this period the first of the works by which he is known in the history of philosophy. In 1647 he published the treatise De vita, moribus, et doctrina Epicuri libri octo. The work was well received, and two years later appeared his commentary on the tenth book of Diogenes Laertius, De vita, moribus, et placitis Epicuri, seu Animadversiones in X. librum Diog. Lab.. (Lyons, 1649; last edition, 1675). In the same year the more important Syntagma philosophise Epicuri (Lyons, 1649; Amsterdam, 1684) was published. In 1648 ill-health compelled him to give up his lectures at the College Royal. He travelled in the south of France, spending nearly two years at Toulon, the climate of which suited him. In 1653 he returned to Paris and resumed his literary work, publishing in that year lives of Copernicus and Tycho Brahe. The disease from which he suffered, lung complaint, had, how-ever, established a firm hold on him. His strength gradually failed, and he died at Paris on the 24th of October 1655. A 1 It was formerly thought that Gassendi was really the genitive of the Latin form Gassendus. C. Giittler, however, holds that it is a modernized form of the O. Fr. Gassendy (see paper quoted in bibliography). takes to be material in nature) reproduces these ideas; under-standing compares these ideas, which are particular, and frames general ideas. Nevertheless, he at the same time admits that the senses yield knowledge—not of things—but of qualities only, and holds that we arrive at the idea of thing or substance by induction. He holds that the true method of research is the analytic, rising from lower to higher notions; yet he sees clearly, and admits, that inductive reasoning, as conceived by Bacon, rests on a general pro-position not itself proved by induction. He ought to hold, and in disputing with Descartes he did apparently hold, that the evidence of the senses is the only convincing evidence; yet he maintains, and from his special mathematical training it was natural he should maintain, that the evidence of reason is absolutely satisfactory. The whole doctrine of judgment, syllogism and method is a mixture of Aristotelian and Ramist notions. In the second part of the Syntagma, the physics, there is more that deserves attention; but here, too, appears in the most glaring manner the inner contradiction between Gassendi's fundamental principles. While approving of the Epicurean physics, he rejects altogether the Epicurean negation of God and particular providence. He states the various proofs for the existence of an immaterial, infinite, supreme Being, asserts that this Being is the author of the visible universe, and strongly defends the doctrine of the fore-knowledge and particular providence of God. At the same time he holds, in opposition to Epicureanism, the doctrine of an immaterial rational soul, endowed with immortality and capable of free determination. It is altogether impossible to assent to the supposition of Lange (Gesch. des Materialismus, 3rd ed., i. 233), that all this portion of Gassendi's system contains nothing of his own opinions, but is introduced solely from motives of self-defence. The positive exposition of atomism has much that is attractive, but the hypothesis of the calor vitalis (vital heat), a species of anima mundi (world-soul) which is introduced as physical explanation of physical phenomena, does not seem to throw much light on the special problems which it is invoked to solve. Nor is his theory of the weight essential to atoms as being due to an inner force impelling them to motion in any way reconcilable with his general doctrine of mechanical causes. In the third part, the ethics, over and above the discussion on freedom, which on the whole is indefinite, there is little beyond a milder statement of the Epicurean moral code. The final end of life is happiness, and happiness is harmony of soul and body (tranquillitas animi et indolentia corporis). Probably, Gassendi thinks, perfect happiness is not attainable in this life, but it may be in the life to come. The Syntagma is thus an essentially unsystematic work, and clearly exhibits the main characteristics of Gassendi's genius. He was critical rather than constructive, widely read and trained thoroughly both in languages and in science, but deficient in speculative power and original force. Even in the department of natural science he shows the same inability steadfastly to retain principles and to work from them; he wavers between the systems of Brahe and Copernicus. That his revival of Epicureanism had an important influence on the general thinking of the 17th century may be admitted; that it has any real importance in the history of philosophy cannot be granted.
End of Article: ELIZABETH CLEGHORN GASKELL (1810-1865)
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