Hands-On Tour: Mary Shelley

Date / Time

  • August 24, 2018
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The young widow who kept her husband’s heart in her desk, the author of the first post-apocalyptic novel (The Last Man) and the immortal Frankenstein, Mary Shelley was so much more than a goth pin-up! After the fires of her legendary romantic youth were drowned, Mary Shelley embarked on a career as a professional writer–publishing biographies, poems, travel narratives, short stories, and novels in multiple genres. Explore the life and works of this radical, proto-feminist, and quintessential Romantic (born on August 30) as we sift through early editions of her works, along with manuscripts and letters of her husband, poet Percy Shelley, and their disreputable friends.

Hands-On Tour: Lewis Carroll

Date / Time

  • August 17, 2018
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Mathematician and cleric Charles Lutwidge Dodgson published children’s books under the pen name Lewis Carroll. This tour will explore both the man and the author, drawing on letters from Dodgson to his publishers, original drawings by John Tenniel (the illustrator of the Alice books) photographs of children taken by Carroll, and, of course, copies of his books. We may not figure out why a raven is like a writing desk, or believe six impossible things before breakfast, but it is sure to be an enlightening tour nonetheless.

Hands-On Tour: Not Shakespeare, or Shakespeare’s Shadows

Date / Time

  • July 27, 2018
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This hands-on tour looks at Shakespeare by… not looking at him. In Shakespeare’s Shadows we’ll meet the bard’s equally brilliant contemporaries Miguel de Cervantes and John Donne, his friend and rival Ben Jonson, his collaborator and successor Jon Fletcher, and his most famous forger, Henry Ireland. We’ll also take a look at an early printing of the first woman in England to earn a living as a playwright, the dashing poet, spy, and libertine Aphra Behn.

Sold Out – Villa Diodati, the Summer of Monsters

Date / Time

  • June 22, 2018
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

In June of 1816, Mary Godwin, Percy Shelley and Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont joined Lord Byron and his doctor John Polidori at a rented villa on Lake Geneva. Eighteen-year-old Mary had eloped with the already married poet Percy the year before, and Byron had fled England in disgrace. Cold, stormy weather kept the young people cloistered for long nights of ghost stories and scientific speculation. From this alembic of romance, scandal, science, and horror, Mary dreamed up Frankenstein and Polidori began the first vampire story in English fiction. Explore the creation of these immortal monsters with first editions and manuscripts born by the shores of Lake Geneva at the Rosenbach’s Villa Diodati Hands-on Tour.

Charles Dickens: the Inimitable Boz!

Date / Time

  • June 8, 2018
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Beginning with his early works published under pseudonym “Boz” (he later impishly signed his letters “The Inimitable Boz”), Charles Dickens was a literary phenomenon in the 19th century, and his ubiquity continues with legions of readers all over the world. On June 9, 1870, the world was shocked to learn of his unexpected death. Join us as we celebrate his life and work with a look at manuscript pages from Nicholas Nickleby and The Pickwick Papers, as well as original serial parts and first editions of his novels.

Hands-On Tour: James Joyce & Irish Authors

Date / Time

  • June 15, 2018
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The Rosenbach celebrates Bloomsday on June 16, so as a warm-up, we’ll break out some of the other notable Irish authors from our collections. Along with James Joyce’s handwritten manuscript of his modernist masterpiece Ulysses, we’ll also read and handle works by Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and more! These Irish authors have connections and influences extending from Thomas Jefferson and Moby-Dick to the present day.

Hands-On Tour: 19th Century Gay Lives, or, Love Revealed

Date / Time

  • June 1, 2018
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Bold, cautious, resolved, ambivalent, and sometimes all of the above, gay men of the 19th century strove for authentic identities in art, literature, and love. In this Hands-on Tour, we’ll look at the rise and fall of Oscar Wilde, follow John Addington Symonds path from self-acceptance to advocacy, fraternize with Walt Whitman and Herman Melville, and see the first use of the word homosexual in an English publication.

Shakespeare: Twelfth Night Discussion

Date / Time

  • July 19, 2018
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join us for a discussion of Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece Twelfth Night. The following week, we’ll meet-up at Clark Park in West Philadelphia to see its free production of the play. We will also come together the first Saturday of every month at the Rosenbach to read aloud one of Shakespeare’s plays.

Shakespeare Free Read-Aloud Group: TBD

Date / Time

  • August 4, 2018
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Reading Shakespeare plays aloud not only offers a communal way to enjoy these great works but promotes a deeper understanding of Shakespeare’s poetry and wordplay. No acting experience is required to participate—just bring your voice!