The Gaskell Society

The Gaskell Society

Celebrating the life and work of Elizabeth Gaskell

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Villette V Ruth: Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell

26 June, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm BST


Charlotte Brontë is a giant of Victorian literature and the much-loved author of the classic Jane Eyre, but what of her last novel to be published during her lifetime, Villette, about the passion and pain of unrequited love?

Brontë’s semi-autobiographical book Villette tells the story of Lucy Snowe as she flees England for a Belgian boarding school. Her tale of heartache and adversity contrasts with that of Ruth, a novel about an unmarried mother written by Charlotte’s friend Elizabeth Gaskell. Ruth shocked contemporary readers and exposed the hypocrisy of Victorian sexual double-standards. It has been recognised as the first novel to make a ‘fallen woman’ the heroine and caused huge controversy for its author. This special partnership event explores the historical reality behind these two iconic women writers and the sexual status of women in Victorian life.

Enjoy an online evening with like-minded people and join us as we delve into the original novels. There’s even the opportunity to see a first edition of both Villette and Ruth live from the Portico Library in Manchester.

This event will include three speakers and Q&A session:

  • Andrew Stodolny (Learning Officer at Brontë Parsonage Museum)
  • Dr Emma Liggins (Co-Director of Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Dr Debbie Challis (Creative Producer at The Portico).

A partnership event with Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, the Brontë Parsonage Museum, The Portico and Manchester Metropolitan University.