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April 25th 2018

A double dose of inspiring Wollstonecraft lectures

Our girls were treated to a double dose of Wollstonecraft lectures this week with talks led by Blackheath High School alumna Alexandra Brilliant and American writer Professor Charlotte Gordon. 

In 'American Women in Politics', Alexandra gave an overview of the role that women have historically played in American politics with a special focus on the changing role of the First Lady. She also gave an analysis of the 'Trump effect' and the influence of Hillary Clinton. Alexandra is currently reading History and American and Canadian Studies at Birmingham University so we were pleased that she was able to take time out of her revision schedule to come and share some of the work that she has been doing as part of her degree course. The students really enjoyed Alexandra’s lecture, her advice on preparing for approaching A-Level examinations and the transition to degree level study. 

Our second Wollstonecraft lecture of the week was led by Charlotte Gordon, an American writer and distinguished Professor of Humanities at Endicott College, Boston. She received her BA in English and American Literature from Harvard College and her MA in Creative Writing and PhD in Literature from Boston University. Her most recent book, 'Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley', is about the mother and daughter pair of writers. Favourably reviewed in both the UK and US press, Romantic Outlaws has also been read on BBC Radio 4 and it won the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award.

We were therefore incredibly privileged and excited to have Professor Gordon deliver a special Wollstonecraft lecture on the subject of her book. Not only is 2018 the bi-centenary of Mary Shelley’s 'Frankenstein', the novel is also a set text for A-Level English Literature and so the students were keen to further their understanding of the context of the novel and the young author who wrote it. Following the lecture and Q&A, Professor Gordon signed copies of her book and spoke to individual students, sharing with them her passion for Wollstonecraft and Shelley and enthusing them with her knowledge and interest.

The event ended with afternoon tea and a request from Professor Gordon to return to Blackheath High School for another lecture when she is next in the UK. We look forward to seeing her again!

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