Sexual Desire, Transcendence and the Edwardian Novel



The first session of the 2014-2015 programme will take place on Monday 13 October between 6.00 and 7.30 at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle.

Dr. Stacy Gillis, Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University, will lead a discussion on the following:

In his Modernism and Romance (1908), R. A. Scott-James claimed that ‘the great sex-question’ or the ‘relations between men and women before or after marriage’ provided the heart of most modern novels. David Trotter has identified a sub-group of the Edwardian sex novels, a grouping linked by depictions of a relationship between a young man and an older woman. In this session, we will discuss Elinor Glyn’s scandalous Three Weeks (1907), which is concerned with an older married woman’s education of a younger man, in the context of thinking about sexual pleasure and, crucially, sleeping. We will also be thinking about the relationship between transcendence and desire, particularly in light of Marie Stopes’ Married Love (1918).

The readings for this session are Chapters III to VI of Three Weeks and Chapters I and VI of Married Love.

Glyn Three Weeks   Stopes Married Love

For those interested in reading the whole of Three Weeks (it’s not too long), you can get it at Married Love is available at

Wine and nibbles available

For further information please contact Pat Beesley at





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