Literary lunches

A day of short lectures and long discussions with a homemade lunch and glass of champagne.
The sessions are led by Dr Esther Fernandez-Llorente.

Groups are limited to dozen or so, allowing for lots of discussion and individual attention. The days will be held in the dining room, decorated with beautiful Tudor murals, making Pittleworth a unique venue in which which to explore some of the most powerful novels in the English language.

 Upcoming Literary Lunches

11/10/2019

The Haunted Country House

£79.00

What (in literary terms) are ghosts and how do novelists use them? What extra dimension does the country house bring to the subject of the supernatural? Pittleworth itself used to be considered a haunted house: giving us an opportunity to consider how the practicalities of living in a country house contributed to the idea of […]

08/11/2019

Children of the Country House

£79.00

The children who lived in country houses, both in novels and in reality, can be a very ‘unchildlike’ lot: precocious, tragic, frightening or sickmakingly angelic. This is unsurprising, given the strange lives that they led, growing up surrounded by pampered veneration, (benign?) neglect, or almost sadistic treatment, among other experiences. Unsurprisingly, their situation has proved […]

06/12/2019

The Country-House Party

£79.00

It is amazing that anyone ever accepts an invitation to a country-house party — at least if they read novels. The high possibility of being seduced, financially or socially ruined, robbed or murdered seem rather a high price to pay for the glamour (which cannot always be assumed), the grandeur and the chance to participate […]

Please note that novels are quoted here to give a sense of the theme of the day; they may not reflect novels read from and discussed on the day.

Kindling the flame

Bring nothing but enthusiasm! I believe that literature can and should be exciting, fascinating and accessible, in all its fascinating complexity and I do not believe in homework! After discussing exactly what a country house and indeed a country house novel is, we will read extracts from various novels in order to encourage discussion of various themes and tropes in this fascinating aspect of literature.

Themes for the days include: The Gothic Country House, Country House interiors, The Disreputable Country House, The Dilapidated Country House and more. See the ‘Events’ page for currently available dates and themes.

‘Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again’,

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

The country house novel

Which houses have inspired writers (and readers)? What tricks do novelists use to produce the effects that thrill us? What is the context of country house novels? And what colour is the drawing room at Manderley? All these questions and many more are open for discussion.

Which novels? It could be Austen, Dickens, a Brontë or George Eliot; Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Daphne du Maurier or Evelyn Waugh.

Order of Events

(Example only)

Welcome coffee
9.30-10.00am

Introduction
10.15am

Discussion and readings from novels and relevant sources.
We will explore the country house context of some of
Britain’s best-loved novels.

12pm
Lecture exploring the connections
between novelists and particular country houses.

12.30pm
Lecture exploring the connections
between novelists and particular country houses

12.30pm
Champagne and locally sourced smoked trout

1pm
Lunch

2pm
Exploration of the technique of close reading a novel

3pm
Finish

A meeting of minds

I believe that spending time in a country house can really affect the way in which we read and experience novels about country houses and I think this house creates the perfect atmosphere to appreciate good books, good food and good conversation.