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2019 Birthday Tea

Saturday, December 7, 2019
1:00—4:00 PM


The Fortnightly of Chicago
120 E. Bellevue Place
Chicago, IL 60611


New this year: Regency attire is encouraged! Show off your best Jane dress as we meet and mingle and celebrate Jane this Decemeber.

What “Woman Feels for Woman": Exploring Female Compassion in Sanditon

Lydia Craig

In January, the BBC’s new miniseries of Sanditon (adapted by Andrew Davies) will be released, justifying a new look at Jane Austen’s unfinished 1817 novel set in a new seaside resort. On a visit to the Parker family at Sanditon, Charlotte Heywood encounters many different female characters, including the business-minded widow Lady Denham, the impoverished Clara Brereton, the chronically ill but incredibly active Miss Parkers, and the rich West Indian Miss Lambe, the only person of color in Austen’s novels. Though Heywood’s initial perceptions of these women are usually charitable, the young heroine often becomes irritated or confused by their statements or actions. Yet, the narrator of this story observes that, “with due exceptions," women generally view less fortunate, but deserving members of their sex with “prompt compassion.” Is this true, or is the statement meant to be sarcastic? Austen frequently depicted women at odds over male suitors and social prestige in many of her earlier works, notably in Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1815). This talk will question whether in this last novel, Austen deliberately attempted to reject the feminine romantic rivalries of earlier novels in order to develop positive structures of female support, compassion, and friendship.

​Cost to attend and registration link: $55 (Register)
Parking is available at 100 E. Bellevue Place for $17. Credit card only (no cash.)


Our Speaker

Lydia Craig is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Nineteenth-Century Studies program at Loyola University Chicago, writing a dissertation on the subject of social climbers in Victorian novels and culture. Currently, she serves as co-chair of the Dickens Society communications committee and is a founding member of the Loyola University Chicago Victorian Society (LUCVS). She has published articles on various topics in Dickens and Brontë studies. A forthcoming article, “‘A Horrid Female Waterman’: The Contentious Legacy of Grace Darling in Charles Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend” will appear next March in the collection Dickens and Women ReObserved edited by Edward Guiliano.