The Fallen Woman in the Victorian Novel

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Did She Jump or Was She Pushed? The Fallen Woman in the Victorian Novel

Thursdays, 1:00-2:30 p.m.  8-week course begins 3/18 


Many a nineteenth-century author treats the woman who strays from the narrow path of virtue as a tragic heroine. These authors recognize the fragility of a woman’s reputation in a society that grants sexual freedom only to men. They reveal the harsh consequences, including obloquy, poverty and death, facing women who even appear to compromise themselves or to be compromised by another. The novels covered in this course will represent the variety of women’s sexual experiences outside marriage, from flirtation to rape, and the heroines’ struggles within a society that does not distinguish between a stumble and a fall. Required Reading:  George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, ISBN 978-0141439624; Henry James, Daisy Miller, ISBN 978-0141441344; Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, ISBN 978-0141439594; Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth, ISBN 978-0451474308. Charisse Gendron holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Connecticut. She has taught at the University of Connecticut, Middle Tennessee State University, and OLLI.