Professor Claire Jarvis (Oliver Smithies Lecturer and Visiting Fellow) will give an Oliver Smithies Lecture entitled ‘Edith’s Two Bodies’.
It is a critical commonplace to remark on Charles Dickens’ penchant for orphaned characters, but what of Dickens’ mothers? Motherhood is a peculiarly difficult role to fill for Dickens, with either over-indulgence or neglect as standard habit of care. In many ways, the only good Dickensian mother is a dead one. This lecture examines Edith Dombey from Dickens’ 1848 novel Dombey and Son as a test case, and examines the role Edith’s varied familial ties play in the novel’s plot and form.
Professor Claire Jarvis is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Stanford University, where she teaches Victorian and Modernist literature and culture.
The Oliver Smithies Lectures are funded by a generous benefaction from Professor Oliver Smithies (Balliol 1943 and Honorary Fellow 2004-2017), which enables Balliol to bring distinguished visitors to the University of Oxford.