The Future Writes Back

Ref: C3530609

Some literature is so iconic that future authors feel the need to write back in response. This course examines a series of such icons—from Cleopatra to Jane Eyre—then analyses the works written in reply. Includes writers such as Shakespeare, Charlotte Brontë, and T.S. Eliot. There will also be a case study of Jean Rhys’ famous reaction to Brontë in “The Wide Sargasso Sea”.

Additional information about this course

NB there is no session on 22nd October

Course aim

To explore the links between, art, literature, and social history. We will read a text closely; be it painting, poem, or film. We will then examine its literary and historical context.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • Must be able to read English.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Explain how Rochester exemplifies the Byronic hero.
  • Discuss the servant problem and the governess.
  • Relate “The Wide Sargasso Sea” to “Jane Eyre”.
  • Analyse Shakespeare’s use of Plutarch.
  • Describe T.S. Eliot’s use of Shakespeare.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • People will be expected to keep up with the reading and to contribute in class discussions (if they wish to do so).

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • Feedback will be informal; there will be no formal tests or exams.

What else do I need to know?

  • You will need two novels: Charlotte Brontë “Jane Eyre” (1847) and Jean Rhys “The Wide Sargasso Sea” (1966); all other texts will be supplied.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • The books will be studied in the order listed above. It will be helpful to have begun “Jane Eyre” prior to the first session.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • There will be a "Text into Film" course by the same tutor in the following term.

Download full course information sheet

The Future Writes Back


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

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