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About The Course

Lady Macbeth. Elizabeth Bathory. Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Ruth Ellis. Villanelle. Whether fictional or real, society has a peculiar obsession with women who kill, and it is an obsession with a rich history. The roots of which can be found in the ancient world – from biblical notions of Eve and original sin to mythological figures such as Medusa, Medea and the Siren. This four-week course investigates the evolution of the female killer in Britain from the 16th century to now. Participants will explore the history of witchcraft, medicine, infanticide, the birth of the novel and the printed press, insanity laws, public punishment and popular culture. A core theme throughout the course will be the interplay between literary depictions and real-life crime and participants will be asked to consider: why does society have such an insatiable interest in women who kill? How close is the myth to the reality?

Delivery, timings and dates:

The four-week course includes a series of 4 video lectures and Q&As (Vimeo and Zoom), as well as a reading list, course literature, activities and the opportunity to submit queries to the course tutor. Links and details will be sent to participants a few days before the course begins. Lectures will run on Tuesdays for four weeks from 7pm to 8pm (GMT), beginning on Tuesday 25 October 2022 and ending on Tuesday 15th November 2022. After they are released, lectures and reading materials can be accessed at any time, up until 20th Dec 2022.