Wicked Women in Victorian Culture

This course will examine archetypes of evil and ‘fallen’ women through the lens of Victorian writers, artists, and social mores. We will read and review extracts from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, considering their female protagonists against the backdrop of Victorian society and its cultural norms. As we explore the characters of Jane Eyre, Bertha Rochester, Miss Havisham and Estella, we’ll see how rising feminism begins to challenge deeply rooted female stereotypes. We will also discuss how some key poems, extracts from other novels, and artwork of the period illustrate changing perceptions of women in the 19th century.


Group Leader: SARAH MCKENZIE
Venue: Online
Meets on: Mondays 3:30 to 5:30 PM
Starting: 4/1/2024
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 25
Teaching Style: Seminar
Weekly Preparation: 2 - 3 hours
Group Leader Biography:

Sarah J. McKenzie is the Director of Academic Operations for Shorelight, an organization that partners with universities to recruit international students and provide mentoring, academic support, programming and advising to improve retention and progression. Dr. McKenzie has a B.A. in English and American Literature from the University of Kent, both an M.A. and Ph.D. in Early Modern Literature from the University of Warwick, and over 27 years’ experience teaching literature in higher education. From the UK originally, she has lived in Boston since 2019. In addition to her corporate and academic pursuits, she is a passionate fan of science fiction and feminist literature.