Meeting: June 6th

June 6th

Carolyn Betensky:

Badass Women & the Nineteenth-Century Novel (via ZOOM)

The Victorian era is commonly thought to be a time of extreme prudery and rigidly defined gender roles. Yet novels from the nineteenth century — especially those by women writers such as the Brontë sisters, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon — suggest that neither characterization does justice to the actual condition or imagination of people who lived in the period. I will discuss the surprising writing strategies and created worlds of these daring women.

Carolyn Betensky is an English professor and translator who lives in Providence, RI.  She was born in Rochester, NY but has lived in many places since then, including Paris, Tel Aviv, Toronto, New York City, and Washington, DC.  She arrived in Rhode Island in 2004 to take a position at URI (which she loves).  She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at all levels, mostly on Victorian novels and World Literature. 

Carolyn’s first book, Feeling for the Poor: Bourgeois Compassion, Social Action, and the Victorian Novel (2010), appeared in the Victorian Literature and Culture Series of the University of Virginia Press. In 2015, Penguin Classics published the translation she co-authored with Jonathan Loesberg of Eugène Sue’s 1843 blockbuster novel The Mysteries of Paris. She is currently working on two new projects:  a translation from the French of Le Bachelier (The Graduate), a novel by the great nineteenth-century author Jules Vallès, as well as a book about the compartmentalization of experience in Victorian culture.