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English Literature: You Can’t Keep The Woman In The Wallpaper – The Agency Of The Woman & The House In & Beyond The Gothic Novel With Dr Lilah Grace Canevaro From The University of Edinburgh
November 28 @ 09:10 - 09:55
We are delighted to welcome Dr Lilah Grace Canevaro, a leading academic in the School of History, Classics & Archaeology at The University of Edinburgh. Lilah Grace will lead an interactive talk for students entitled You Can’t Keep The Woman In The Wallpaper – The Agency Of The Woman & The House In & Beyond The Gothic Novel.
Feminist writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman had postnatal depression. She was prescribed the ‘rest cure’: confined to the house and instructed by her doctor to ‘never touch pen, brush or pencil as long as you live’. But she wrote the Gothic short story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ (1892) about the experience (and sent a copy of it to her doctor).
In this interactive discussion session we will explore the close and dynamic connection between the woman and the house in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, as the narrator sees a woman in the pattern, tries to let her out and ultimately becomes her, merging with the house to which she is confined.
Further, we will trace this connection back to the very earliest literary texts in the western canon: Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. The hero Hector tells his wife Andromache to go back to the house and weave, while he sees to the war. Telemachus tells his mother Penelope to go back to the house and weave, while he sees to words and the bow. But the divisions aren’t as clear-cut as the men think, and weaving in particular isn’t what it seems. The ‘Angel in the House’ is doing plenty behind the scenes.
From ancient poetry to the Victorian gothic story, the message is the same. If women are confined to the domestic domain, they will mobilise it, their agency and that of the house in collaboration. You can’t send your wife or your mother to weave without consequences. You can’t keep the woman in the wallpaper.
This session will touch on themes from all of the examining boards in A-Level/Higher English Literature, such as science and society, the supernatural, women and society, Gothic, texts in shared contexts and texts across time.
In advance of the session, we ask students to read The Yellow Wallpaper please, focusing in particular on female agency, confinement and liberation.
This exciting event is designed to support English Literature students in their current studies by offering rich and original insight into the texts and themes they are addressing. By seeing how a classical perspective resonates in contemporary culture, society and literature, we hope the session may also serve to pique students’ interest in the possibilities offered by Classics, particularly if they haven’t had the opportunity to explore this avenue previously.
Lecturer Profile (Please Click): Dr Lilah Grace Canevaro
Our events are designed so that a group of students can take part from a classroom or students and teachers can take part as individuals, either from school or from home. This means that sessions will continue irrespective of possible school closures.
As a live, participative event, this session will not be recorded but slides and other resources will be shared after the event, where available.
Suitable for: S5/S6, Key Stage 5 (and equivalent) students studying English Literature and related disciplines. Student groups as well as students and teachers joining individually are very welcome.
Preparation/Pre-Reading: In advance of the session, we ask students to read The Yellow Wallpaper please, focusing in particular on female agency, confinement and liberation. Students may wish to consider the topic in advance and questions they have. Students can also think about questions about studying at university level.
The IT Setup: The event will be run on Bluejeans (similar to Zoom) and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.
Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below: