Unit member and PhD student Edwin Marr will be speaking at the next Gaskell Society meeting on Saturday 11th May. His paper, ‘The Obnoxious Railroad”: Railway Time and Space in the Works of Elizabeth Gaskell’, will look at Gaskell’s representations of the railway in several of her novels, novellas and letters, exploring how she uses the railway to symbolise increasing societal regulation, distinctions between rural past and industrialised future, and issues of social class and social mobility.
The meeting will take place at Francis Holland School from 12.45 onwards, with the talk at 2.00 pm. All are welcome!
Please find the directions and further details on this PDF: London and SE Gaskell Society Programme 2018-19
Professor Martin Hewitt (History, Anglia Ruskin University) will be giving a paper at our next Gaskell Society branch meeting on ‘‘Domestic visiting as a means of social knowledge and reconciliation in Gaskell’s fiction’. Do come along; all are very welcome!
All meetings are held at Francis Holland School for Girls, 39 Graham Terrace London SW1W 8JF The school is a three-minute walk from Sloane Square tube station, which is on the District and Circle line (see the map below).
Everyone is welcome any time after 12.45pm. Please bring a packed lunch. Talks begin at 2pm and usually last about an hour. Each talk is followed by questions, and then tea is served.
At each meeting there is a bring-and-buy book stall in aid of The Gaskell House in Manchester. Please bring any books that you wish to rehome and which will be of interest to other members, marked with an appropriate price. If, at the end of the meeting, your books have not been sold, we will ask you to take them away with you again.
We ask for a contribution of £5.00 to cover speakers’ expenses, a donation to the school and tea.
We are pleased to announce that John Ruskin and Nineteenth-Century Education, a collection of essays edited by unit member and emerita Professor Valerie Purton, has just been published by Anthem Press. Details can be found here.
I very much enjoyed giving the pre-show talk on Great Expectations at the Cambridge Arts Theatre last Tuesday. I have since been asked for details about the material I discussed, so I thought I would share some links and further references here.
I began the talk by discussing the initial publication context of Great Expectations. It was published in weekly parts between October 1861 and January 1862 in Dickens’s Journal All the Year Round. You can browse through the journal on Dickens Journals Online. This site also includes a film about the London of Great Expectations and details of the online community who are reading the novel week-by-week, as the novel’s first readers did. In my module on Victorian Literature and Culture at Anglia Ruskin University, I ask students to read a novel in weekly parts over the course of a semester in order that they might get a taste of the experience of the early readers who were engaged with a novel over months and sometimes even years. It is always really interesting and exciting to reflect on how reading a novel in this way affects our experience of the plot and the characterisation.
After outlining the initial context of publication, I moved on in the talk to discuss issues relating to adaptations of Dickens’s novels and to highlight the theatrical elements in Great Expectations. If you would like to read more about Dickens’s own experiences with the theatre then I would recommend this piece by Simon Callow on the British Library website. These are the details of some of the three cinematic adaptations of Great Expectations which I discussed:
David Lean (dir), 1946
Alfonso Cuaron (dir) 1998
Mike Newell (dir), 2012
In the Q&A time, I brought up the mini-series Dickensian. I would strongly recommend it and am very pleased to see the whole series is now available on Netflix. An earlier post by unit member Valerie Purton offers some reflections on the production.
Finally, my thoughts on Dickens and adaptation have been shaped by the following books:
- Linda H. Hutcheon. A Theory of Adaptation (Routledge, 2012)
- Karen E. Laird. The Art of Adapting Victorian Literature, 1848-1920 (Ashgate, 2016)
- James, Naremore (ed). Film Adaptation (Althone, 2000)
Unit member Abderrezzaq Ghafsi recently contributed this article to the Dickens Society Blog: http://dickenssociety.org/?p=1884. Do have a read!
Our Work in Progress seminars will resume on Thursday October 5th when PhD student Sophie Phelps will discuss her current work on Dickens. This will take place between 4.30-6 in Helmore 105.
Our second work in Progress seminar will take place on Thursday Oct 19th between 4.30-6 in Helmore 105. In this, Paul Pattison will discuss his work on Middlemarch and Abderrezzaq Ghafsi will talk about his research on Dickens and Algeria.
On Thursday 26th October, unit member and PhD student Edwin Marr will deliver a preliminary version of his conference paper on Branwell Bronte. This will take place between 4-5pm in Helmore 114 and will be followed by the second session of our reading group on Shirley.
In honour of tomorrow’s Far From the Madding Crowd event for the Being Human Festival 2016, unit member Chris Lyon has written a post for us about his experiences with reading Thomas Hardy.
We’re looking forward to our free screening and discussion of Far From the Madding Crowd tomorrow, and hope to see you there!
Hardy and Me. A Personal Account.
The Tithe Barn, Abbotsbury near Wymouth, by Walter Tyndale
Like most people passing through the English state education system, my first encounter with Thomas Hardy was an obligatory study of a Hardy novel as part of the GCE (now GCSE) National Curriculum for English Literature. No explanation was given as to why Hardy was and still is deemed essential reading. He just appeared in the classroom one day. In my case that day happened to be in 1974, exactly 100 years after its first publication. The novel in question was Far from the Madding Crowd.