The Chancellor's Hall, Senate House

22 May 2019, 6.00pm - 8.00pm

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Dr Lyndall Gordon will deliver the 2019 Hilda Hulme lecture as part of the week on the topic of ‘The Brontës and Passion’. 

The talk will start with the silencing of Caroline Helstone in Shirley and go on to consider the kind of utterance the Brontes devise for more outspoken women in Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Villette. Lyndall will explore the way that the Brontes challenge nineteenth-century truisms about woman's nature in the context of other Victorian novels which open up the issue of voicing passion. These will include George Eliot's portrait of the singer, Caterina, in 'Mr Gilfil's Love Story' (in Scenes of Clerical Life) and the milkmaids' confessions in Hardy's Tess of the d’Urbevilles, as well as discussion of a popular Victorian painting of a marriage market. The lecture will fall midpoint in the Nineteenth-Century Study Week, which this year is celebrating the Brontës. 

Dr Lyndall Gordon is one of the most eminent biographers living today. A Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford and of the Royal Society, she is the author of seven biographies and two memoirs. She is a prize-winning writer: the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay Prize, the Cheltenham Prize for Literature, the Southern Arts Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography. Her work is wide-ranging, crossing the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  

Hilda Hulme was a Shakespearean and nineteenth-century scholar who is commemorated in these annual lectures. Running since 1966, the lecture is one of the most important fixtures in the Institute of English Studies calendar. Previous lecturers have included Barbara Hardy, Helen Vendler, Frank Kermode, Jerome McGann, Michael Slater, Gillian Beer and Rosemary Ashton.