Monsters and Magic in Victorian England | Mechanics' Institute

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Monsters and Magic in Victorian England
a librarian-led discussion group

Victorian society firmly believed in science and rationalism; meanwhile, the popular imagination and the arts became obsessed with monsters and magic – things that weren't real. Or were they?

In this seminar, we'll read and discuss Victorian literature together, starting with Christina Rossetti's controversial poem "Goblin Market". We'll look at how real-life events influenced the literature of the time, and examine how authors responded to one another in their novels. Together we'll explore the grotesque, the gothic, and the horrifying threads that stuck in the Victorian consciousness, and refused to be ignored.

Registration is strongly recommended to ensure a spot at the table, but walk-ins are welcome as space allows.

  • At the April 9 meeting, attendees will read and discuss Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market".
  • For the April 23 meeting, attendees should read Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells.
  • The May 21 meeting will entail a discussion of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.
  • The reading for June 18 is Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle.


Mechanics' Institute Members Only; Free
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4th Floor Board Room
Information Desk - 415-393-0102
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Future Activities

Oct 18 - 11:00am

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A member-led writing group

Photograph of a typewriter

Oct 19 - 12:00pm

Writers Lunch: Book Marketing Pros Panel
Speakers include Eileen Duhne, Brenda Knight and Sue Wilhite

Oct 25 - 11:00am

Teacherless Writing
A member-led writing group

Oct 30 - 5:30pm

Knit Happens
Last Tuesdays of the Month