Two Victorian Anti-heroines: Thackeray’s Becky Sharp and Eliot’s Gwendolyn Harleth

Thursday, February 21, 2013
(This program continues for multiple sessions)
Thursdays, February 21 – May 2

5:45 – 7:45 pm

Led by Jennifer Sampson

We will meet two suspect figures: Becky Sharp, who schemes her way through William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1848 “novel without a hero” Vanity Fair; and Gwendolyn Harleth, George Eliot’s 1876 meditation in Daniel Deronda on the Victorian bad girl popularized by Thackeray and the Sensation novelists of the 1860s. We will explore these different treatments of women to better understand the vexed categories of gender, sexuality, morality, the writing profession, and publicity in Victorian society. Please read chapters 1-16 of Vanity Fair for the first session.

Jennifer Sampson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and likes to read about Victorian women who might gamble or show a bit of ankle.

Materials List
Eliot, George. Daniel Deronda. Ed. Graham Handler. Oxford: Oxford U P, 2009. ISBN-10: 0199538484, ISBN-13: 978-0199538485
Thackeray, W.M. Vanity Fair. Ed. John Sutherland. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. ISBN-10: 0199537623, ISBN-13: 978-0199537624

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program.

Cost and Registration Information 

Eleven sessions, $220
Register online