What would you do if you had no rights to your own money or children, but your abusive husband did? How would you survive if you couldn’t inherit the family estate because you were female? What if your only path to engaging in a social and political life were through an arranged marriage?
British novelists Fanny Burney, Jane Austen, Anne Bronte, and Elisabeth Gaskell addressed these questions and other serious cultural, political, and intellectual issues of their times—from the evolving status of women to the growth of the British empire, from the shifting views on literature’s purpose to the social unrest created by industrialization.
Join Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz, a lecturer at Georgetown University, in spirited commentary and informal discussions about the works of these authors as they navigate the hierarchical world of England in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Please Note: Single sessions are now available for individual purchase. Click on any of the 4 dates below.
March 7 Fanny Burney’s Evelina; or, A Young Lady’s Entrance into the World (1778)
This satirical portrait of British society chronicles the social mishaps and successes of its eponymous heroine, as she struggles to be acknowledged by her father as his rightful heir.
April 11 Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814)
The experiences of the shy Fanny Price thrust into her uncle’s household, a world financed by slavery and the sugar trade, where she encounters people of questionable virtue.
May 9 Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)
The story of Helen Huntington, a fugitive from an abusive marriage, in an age that did not recognize a woman’s rights to her children or her money.
June 6 Elisabeth Gaskell’s North and South (1854)
The impact of industrialization is seen through the experiences of Margaret Hale, whose social conscience is awakened when she comes to live among mill workers in the North of England.
Participants should read the first book before the initial session.