Literature of the English Country House: Austen, Radcliffe, Dickens and the Gothic

This week learners on Literature of the English Country House emerge from the genteel world of Jane Austen to discover a darker house, a bleaker house…

Uncovering the Mysteries of Udolpho

First Angela Wright, Professor of Romantic Literature at the University of Sheffield and a specialist in Gothic Literature of the 18th and 19th centuries, will be discussing Ann Radcliffe’s best-selling novel The Mysteries of Udolpho.

Professor Angela Wright and Dr Jim Fitzmaurice discuss Ann Radcliffe's gothic novel.

Professor Angela Wright and Dr Jim Fitzmaurice discuss Ann Radcliffe’s gothic novel.

We’ll also think about another useful research approach; that of ‘intertextuality’ or the interdependence of literary texts. Angela will encourage us to consider the special relationship between the novels of Jane Austen and Ann Radcliffe, introducing us to the role of the Gothic in country house literature.

Exploring the reclusive owner through Dickens’s Miss Havisham

The country house was a public space and a private home. But what happened when its owner withdrew from the outside world? To explore this question, Dr Amber Regis will be visiting Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire where English Heritage has preserved the peeling wallpaper and water damage in the Boat Bedroom. There, Amber will consider the broader social anxieties that underpin Dickens’s portrayal of Satis House and Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. In the Material Conditions step this week Amber will also be discussing the original, serialized format in which Dickens’s novel first appeared.

Drs Amber Regis and Adam Smith examine Dickens's 'All The Year Round.'

Drs Amber Regis and Adam Smith examine Dickens’s ‘All The Year Round.’

Country House Brewing

Amber will round the week off with a trip to the pub to discuss the role of country house brewing in Great Expectations. You can see and share the video for this step if your click here.

Jane Austen and Charles Dickens: Ask your questions… LIVE!

At the end of the week, you’ll have an opportunity to ask Amber Regis and Joe Bray any questions you might have about this week’s materials in a live Google Hangout. You can send us your questions or comments either by using the course hashtag #FLHouseLit on Twitter, submitting them in the Google Hangout chat window (if you have an Google account) during the event or by leaving a comment in the step.

Carly Stevenson, Professor Angela Wright and Dr Amber Regis all taking part in last year's Google Hangout.

Carly Stevenson, Professor Angela Wright and Dr Amber Regis all taking part in last year’s Google Hangout.

Watch last year’s Hangout on Youtube

Last year Amber was joined by Professor Angela Wright and mentor Carly Stevenson for a live Q&A, answering questions on Ann Radcliffe, Charles Dickens and the relationship between the country house and the Gothic tradition. You can still watch the whole hangout on Youtube!

On the Blog this week

We’ll be joined by current PhD student Kathleen Hudson, who will discuss the role of the country house servant in the Gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe!

To sign up to Literature of the English Country House for free or to find out more about the course, click here!




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