Gaskell House Blogs

Women Behaving Badly

2nd September 2022
in blog, Events, other

Sherry Ashworth is back with a new online course looking at the badly behaved women of Victorian literature. The stereotype of the Victorian woman is that of a domestic angel, pure, innocent and a helpmate to her husband. But the women you meet in this course will challenge that with a vengeance!

Meet Becky Sharp, adventuress, from Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, to whom money matters more than morals; Elizabeth Gaskell’s Aunt Esther in Mary Barton, an alcoholic prostitute; Charles Dickens’ Miss Wade from Little Dorrit, whose corrosive cynicism poisons those around her; Gwendolen Harleth from George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, who might have killed her husband and finally Lady Audley from Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, of whom Elaine Showalter said “Braddon’s bigamous heroine deserts her child, pushes husband number one down a well, thinks about poisoning husband number two and sets fire to a hotel in which her other male acquaintances are residing”.

The course is suitable for the general reader who wants to delve deeper into ninettenth century writing. The novels are all long so reading the whole novel is optional. Instead, key extracts will be sent a fortnight in advance so you can prepare yourself to take part in the discussion. Sessions will take place on zoom and numbers are limited to allow an inclusive discussion with the chance for all to take part.

If you are not too shocked by this litany of badness, join us for the five online classes on these novels:

7-9pm each second Wednesday of the month 2023

Wednesday 11 January – Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray Book now

Wednesday 8 February – Aunt Esther in Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell Book now

Wednesday 8 March – Miss Wade from Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens Book now

Wednesday 12 April – Gwendolen Harleth from Daniel Deronda by George Eliot Book now

Wednesday 10 May – Lady Audley from Lady Audley’s Secret by Elizabeth Braddon Book now

£12 per session

‘Loved this course and previous courses by Sherry. Uplifting, informative and has introduced me to some great books that I may not have otherwise read. This has been one of the highlights of each month.‘ Visitor to online events

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