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Reading The Nineteenth-Century: Ruth


Join us for a five-part evening reading course at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, and enter the world of fallen women in the Victorian novel.

When a women’s virtue is compromised, what choices lie open to her? Whose fault is it that she falls in the first place? And what will happen to the children born as a result?

To answer these questions, Sherry Ashworth, Visiting Teaching Fellow at Manchester Writing School, will lead you into the turbulent fictional lives of these Nineteenth-Century women, with the spotlight on five classic novels.

You’ll start by reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s Ruth, written right here in the House, followed by George Eliot’s Adam Bede, written just 6 years later. Then the focus will turn to three novels from the end of the century, to see if things were any better – Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, George Gissing’s The Unclassed and George Moore’s Esther Waters. 


The workshops are perfect for the general reader, who wants to explore their reading a little more deeply. You can sign up to all five sessions, or come to individual sessions, as suits your interests. Participants will be expected to read the books ahead of the monthly discussions, and to share their ideas with the rest of the group.

The workshops run from 7-9pm on Wednesdays.

Each session is £10, or £45 for all five sessions

22 January:  Elizabeth Gaskell’s Ruth – sorry this session is fully booked

26 February: George Eliot’s Adam Bede

25 March: Thomas Hardy’s Tess of The D’Urbervilles

22 April: George Gissing’s The Unclassified

27 May:  George Moore’s Esther Waters

22nd Jan 2020

7pm - 9pm


a whispering of leaves and perfume of flowers always pervaded the rooms

Charlotte Brontë, on visiting 84 Plymouth Grove