Last week, Society members were surprised and a bit disturbed to read in three national newspapers that Warwick University English Department had decided to put ‘trigger warnings’ on Mary Barton. If anyone doesn’t know what these are, they are warnings of content that may distress the student reader for a myriad of different reasons. Could be to do with racism, sexism, trans issues, disability issues, mental health etc – anything that could possibly ’trigger’ a negative or upsetting reaction in a student.
But the main one used for Mary Barton was a new one to me – classism.
I have to admit that I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading! I have never thought of Elizabeth Gaskell as anything but a force for good….
Anyway, please do read the report from the Daily Telegraph (26th October 2022) and the letter I have written in response, which they published on 3rd November.
I have really tried to defend Elizabeth – hope you approve.