“The Fatal Curve”–Female Outsiders in 19th century Literature

“The Fatal Curve”–Female Outsiders in 19th century Literature

International Seminar

Course Facilitator: Olga Akroyd , Ph.D 

The Idea
GIRES, the Global Institute for Research, Education & Scholarship is proud to introduce a series of short seminars dedicated to literature. We embrace Scott Fitzgerald’s opinion about the beauty of this fine craft: You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” We do belong to this world and we hope that we will travel you through the great works that altered our mentality, matured  feelings and made us dreamers. Our very own, Dr. Olga Akroyd will be the guide in this wonderful literary journey.  

The Aim

This 6-part seminar series looks at the concept of the female identity as an outsider in nineteenth-century literature. Focusing on a comparative analysis of classical American and Russian texts from the era, we contemplate what it means for a female character in nineteenth-century context to be considered an outsider, and take apart the most problematic aspects with how the best-known characters have been portrayed and discussed by the critics. Looking at three major topics (race, legal rights and sexuality) we would attempt to analyse the set texts from a relevant modern-day perspective. 

This course is aimed primarily at undergraduates, as well as Master’s-level students, and broadly at individuals with an interest in comparative literature, the long nineteenth century, or gender studies.

The Outcome
After the end of the seminars you will be able to:

  • Analyze, construct and deconstruct the structure of a novel
  • Understand the meanings and values of a novel connected to its historical context
  • Recognize the role of words and ways language can empower a novel 
  • Identify and analyze semantics, key phrases, 
  • Understand the ways a novelist builds a character 
  • Explore the plot, understand character creation and track the of crafting a novel
  • Feel the energy and soul of a novel- The more you understand, the more you will love it!

The Structure
The seminars consists of a condensed discussion of a core text chosen for each session.
They are separated into three (3) main blocks + Q&A: 

1. Main themes
2. Background
3. Secondary / less discussed themes or details 

+Q&A: Participants are welcome to discuss with Dr. Akroyd and clarify any questions/thoughts/opinions may arise during each seminar.

The Program

Seminar 1 (Sunday- May 8,2022)
“Hope must die” – Last of the Mohicans and The Spy. In this seminar, we would look at the representations of Cora Munro and Isabella in the respective texts, considering the heroines from the vantage-point of race discourse.

Seminar 2 (Sunday- May 28, 2022)
Anna Karenina and the problem of outsidership. We would look at the juxtaposition of the protagonist and society in the light of the broader socio-political discourses shaping the nineteenth-century world.

Seminar 3 (Sunday- June 5, 2022)
“Veiled Lantern” – Pierre, Typee, Mardi and female displacement in Melville’s world. Analysing the representation of ethnically ambiguous heroines and the challenges they encounter, we consider what it means to be a female and an outsider in Herman Melville’s creative universe.

Seminar 4 (Sunday- June 26, 2022)
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Female Criminality. We analyse the role of the female criminal and the real-life cases and inspiration behind Leskov’s novella.

Seminar 5 (Sunday- July 4, 2022)
“Inability to move” – The Scarlet Letter. We consider Hawthorne’s classic novel from the vantage-point of law and the legal discourse.

Seminar 6 (Sunday- July 24 , 2022)
“The fatal curve” – Dostoevsky’s Femme Fatales. Focusing on Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot, we explore the problematics of the “male gaze” in the depiction of heroines in landmark texts, and how these should be reconsidered for the modern day.

Due to the restrictions of Corona Crisis our event (for the time being) will take place VIRTUALLY

  • Date of Seminar

    GIRES Headquarters (GMT+1)
    8 & 28 May 2022
    5 & 26 June 2022
    4 & 24 July 2022

  • Deadline for registration

    1 May 2022

  • Acceptance notification

    Day of registration

  • Time of Seminars

    17.00 AMS time
    (UTC +1)

  • Duration of each Seminar

    1.5 h + Q&A

  • Format

    Live Online sessions

    Links for meetings provided
    after registration

  • Registration fee

    89 euros (for all sessions)

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