Online Event: Female Friendship in Literary Lives | Jane Austen's House

Online Event: Female Friendship in Literary Lives

thu07mar8:00 pmthu9:30 pmOnline Event: Female Friendship in Literary LivesAn event for International Women's Day by Jane Austen's House, Chawton House, Elizabeth Gaskell's House and the Brontë Parsonage Museum8:00 pm - 9:30 pm(GMT+00:00) Event CategoryVirtual Event

Event Details

‘Friendship is certainly the finest balm’ – Northanger Abbey

On the eve of International Women’s Day, join four literary houses – Jane Austen’s House, Chawton House, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and the Brontë Parsonage Museum – in an evening celebrating female friendships. We’ll be looking at the influence these relationships had on the works and in the lives of some of Britain’s most loved writers.

Jane Austen’s House: Jane Austen & Madam Lefroy
One of Jane Austen’s dearest friends was her Hampshire neighbour, Mrs Anne Lefroy. Although she was 26 years older than Jane and mother to six children, Mrs Lefroy and Jane shared many interests including writing, literature and poetry, which they discussed avidly.

In this section we’ll get to know Mrs Lefroy, who was a fascinating figure in her own right – a published poet, society hostess, school mistress and nurse, she personally administered smallpox vaccines to her Hampshire neighbours every winter. After her tragic death in 1804, Jane Austen commemorated her ‘Beloved friend’ in a heartfelt poem, that we’ll also share.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House: Elizabeth Gaskell & Eliza Fox
Elizabeth Gaskell found strong female friendship with the fabulously named Eliza ‘Tottie’ Fox. Tottie was an artist and educationalist who enjoyed Elizabeth’s intimate, funny letters and encouraged her to join early feminist campaigns.

Dr Diane Duffy reveals the close friendship that supported Elizabeth through her many literary and personal challenges.

Brontë Parsonage Museum: “Three’s a charm” – Charlotte, Mary and Ellen
Charlotte’s most important and most enduring friendships were also her first – Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor, who she met at Roe Head School.

In this section we’ll look at how important these friendships were, to both Charlotte’s life then and what we know about her life now.

Chawton House: Mary Wollstonecraft and Amelia Opie
In the Spring of 1796, 26-year old Amelia Alderson (later Opie) met feminist philosopher and writer Mary Wollstonecraft. In the year of their friendship before Wollstonecraft’s life was tragically cut short after the birth of her second daughter, they exchanged letters – of which a few survive – and developed a close friendship, commenting on one another’s work, discussing events in Revolutionary France, and sharing information about mutual friends including the writers Mary Hays and Elizabeth Inchbald.

In this section we explore the relationship between these two extraordinary women, and the ways that Wollstonecraft’s ideas lived on in the work of Opie, who became a prolific novelist and activist later in life.


Date: Thursday 7 March
Time: 8 – 9.30pm GMT
Location: This event will take place online. Join us from the comfort of your own home!
Tickets: £6

💻 This event will take place on Zoom. Please provide a valid email address, as you will be emailed a link to join the tour in the run up to the event. 

🎫 If you are joining as a group or household, please buy one ticket for each person attending.  All proceeds go towards the upkeep of the Museum. 

⏰ Timings are given in UK time (GMT) – please do check what the event time is in your territory, to ensure you log in at the right time. 

📹 This event will be recorded for ticket holders to watch again later.


7th March 2024 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm(GMT+01:00)





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