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Continuing Education

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Continuing Education

Charles Dickens’ Sketches by “Boz”: A Rekindling of Human Empathy

Charles Dickens’ Sketches by “Boz”: A Rekindling of Human Empathy

Tuesdays, October 17th to December 5th, 2017, 2017, 12:00 - 2:00 pm.

Location: Kerr House 102, Traill College

Cost: $20.00 per class (+HST).

Register online at https://www.regonline.com/charlesdickenssketchesbyboz or in person with cash or cheque at Scott House Room 102.4, 300 London Street, Traill College.

Charles Dickens is a prominent literary figure in the Victorian era. Dickens based his relationship with his readers upon empathy and freedom of expression. This relationship created a moral and ethical obligation to accept his motives and message as he intended them to be in his texts. Ultimately, Dickens’ texts immortalize him insofar as it deals with social and political issues persisting till the present day. The pathos he showed to the unfortunate is a quality that humans will always need in any time and place and not only during Dickens’ life time. By infusing and conducting his work with humour and empathy, Dickens became a welcomed presence in his readers’ lives: both working and upper classes.

This course will explore the humanity in Dickens’ literary work through exploring his first work that had introduced him to the Victorian public: “Sketches by "Boz;" Illustrative of Every-day Life and Every-day People: a collection of short stories, which Charles Dickens had originally published in various newspapers and other periodicals between 1833 and 1836. A selection of these short stories will be analysed and explored with the goal of (re)discovering Charles Dickens’ significant social impact that qualifies him to stand as a social reformer and an enduring symbol of English literature.

Tuesday 17 October - How to be a Social Reformer?

In this workshop, we shall explore what had qualified Charles Dickens to be a social reformer. How Dickens’s Sketches reflect an in depth knowledge and thorough observation of London and its people. We shall discover how Dickens’s deep contemplation and detailed description of his surroundings offers us an insight into the psychology of different characters representing the Victorian life.

Tuesday 24 October - Poverty and the Condition of Women 

In this workshop, we shall explore how Dickens’ Sketches depict the condition of Victorian women from different social classes. Indeed, Dickens’ humorous criticism of the hypocrisy and indifference of the aristocracy towards the poor and fallen women qualifies him to be one of the promotors of women rights.

Tuesday 31 October - Childhood: Poverty and Education

In this workshop, we shall explore how Dickens’ Sketches depict the issues of children and parenting, as well as education. These issues that had always vexed Dickens, also represent a contemporary concern for parents in our present day.

Tuesday 7 November - Class Relationships

In this workshop, we shall explore how Dickens’ Sketches depict the different social classes that had comprised the Victorian society. Dickens also highlighted the prejudices and power imbalance between them. In exposing the vices and virtues of each class, Dickens created a space for empathy and understanding. By shaming the aristocrats for their blind indifference, Dickens reached out from the past to speak to us now and awaken out sense of compassion and pathos among people.

Tuesday 14 November - Textual Painting of Every-day Life

In this workshop, we shall explore how Dickens uses language to paint images of social aspects in his Sketches. Dickens' ability to paint brilliant visual images and depict scenes of London life with great clarity and humor is highly manifest in this collection of short stories. Dickens' use of different literary devices like: symbolism, images, as well as his style of narration succeeded to arouse feelings of indignation and sympathy for the cause depicted by him. This ability confirmed Dickens’ role as a social reformer.

Tuesday 21 November - Imagination versus Illustration

In this workshop, we shall explore the relationship between Dickens’ word images in his Sketches and the illustrations performed by George Cruikshank. This relationship between word depiction and image depiction will be highlighted by performing visual art and textual analysis simultaneously.

Tuesday 28 November - Empathy is the Key!

In this workshop, we shall explore Dickens’ Sketches with an eye on Dickens’ motivations and message. Why did Dickens recall all these characters to the theatre of his Sketches? Why did he expose the atrocities of poverty, unfortunate women, workhouses and prison in Victorian England? We shall also explore how can we see our present life in the light of the legacy that Dickens had left for us.

Tuesday 5 December - Humanism: Reality or Fiction

In this workshop, we shall closely explore a selection of Dickens’ Sketches and try to hear the author’s voice. We shall try to find the element of reality and element of fiction in his texts. How does the element of fiction in Dickens’ work (re)humanise us?

About the instructor:

Shahira Adel Hathout earned Bachelor’s degree (honours) in English Literature from Trent University Peterborough, and is now pursuing master’s degree at Trent University. Thesis title: “Educating the Passions: Human Reincarnation, Reformation, and Redemption in Wuthering Heights.” Research interest lies in the influence of continental philosophy on English literature (particularly Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Friedrich von Schiller), Romantic and Victorian literature in general, and the literary work of Charles Dickens and the Brontës in particular. Hathout believes that teaching philosophy benefits from communal learning, freedom of expression, and critical thinking.

Online registration is provided through RegOnline, a third-party registration service. An additional charge will be applied by RegOnline in addition to the course fee.

Avoid additional charges by registering in person with cash or a cheque.