Domestic Violence and the Rise of the Novel

Domestic Violence and the Rise of the Novel Presented by Christopher Johnson. From an early age, we are taught that reading is good. But what happens when the stories that we read reinforce dangerous ideas? This talk will explore the similarities between novels of courtship and marriage and the horrific dynamics of domestic violence. With … Read more

Skilled Hands and Thinking Minds: Craft and the Humanities

Skilled Hands and Thinking Minds: Craft and the Humanities Presented by Christopher Johnson. Our society tends to divide work into neat categories. There is, for example, the work of the mind, and the work of hands. Universities are thought to prepare students for the former, technical colleges for the latter. This talk will explore the … Read more

Women Taking Charge: The Rise of the Novel and Resistant Reading

Women Taking Charge: The Rise of the Novel and Resistant Reading Presented by Christopher Johnson. One of the most interesting dynamics of eighteenth-century literature is the emergence of women writers. This talk will examine how early women novelists took the stories they inherited from male authors and retold them in ways that were quietly subversive. … Read more

The Early-Modern Origins of Today’s Political Satire

The Early-Modern Origins of Today’s Political Satire Presented by Christopher Johnson. As we are bombarded daily by ever-coarsening political discourse, it is tempting to long for a gentler, perhaps more civil, age. Imagining a past similar to the worlds of Jane Austen novels, we sometimes project our wishes onto the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This … Read more

The Early Novel as Self-Help Book: The Curious Intersections of Fiction and Medicine

The Early Novel as Self-Help Book: The Curious Intersections of Fiction and Medicine Presented by Christopher Johnson. Today we think of novels as little more than entertainment. When the genre emerged in the eighteenth century, novels also had an almost medicinal function: they were texts that helped readers regulate their passions. Drawing on recent scholarship, … Read more