Elizabeth Gaskell (1810 - 65) was born in London, but grew up in the north of England in the village of Knutsford. In 1832 she married the Rev. William Gaskell and had four daughters, and one son who died in infancy. Her first novel, Mary Barton, was published in 1848 and won the attention of Charles Dickens and most of her later work was publish in his journals. She was also a lifelong friend of Charlotte Bronte, whose biography she wrote, as well as her many novels and short stories. Patricia Ingham is Senior Research Fellow and Reader at St Anne's College, Oxford. She has written on the Victorian novel and on Hardy in particular. she is the General Editor of all Hardy's fiction in the Penguin Classics and has edited Gaskell's North and South for the series.