[In Progress] David Copperfield through 21st Century Eyes with Juliette Wells | Virtual Course

Date / Time

  • April 23, 2024
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • April 30, 2024
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • May 14, 2024
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • May 28, 2024
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm



  • Tuition for this course is $250. Members receive exclusive discounts on programs and courses. Not a member? Learn more.
  • This course is limited to participants who are 18 years of age or older.
  • Please check your spam folder for your email confirmation. If you have questions, please call (215) 732-1600 or email [email protected].
  • Registration opens for Delancey Society on March 7, for Rosenbach members on March 14, and for the general public on March 21.

This course is in progress — registration is now closed.


Barbara Kingsolver’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Demon Copperhead takes inspiration from Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield in order to tell the gripping story of a boy growing up in Appalachia who is deeply affected by the opioid epidemic. Kingsolver has emphasized in interviews that you don’t need to read David Copperfield in order to understand Demon Copperhead. You’ll appreciate Kingsolver’s artistry even more, however, if you first acquaint yourself with, or refresh your memory of, Dickens’s beloved Bildungsroman (a novel that focuses on its main character’s education and development). To further enrich our discussions of Dickens’ lasting influence, we’ll also consider Armando Iannucci’s 2019 film The Personal History of David Copperfield, an inventive adaptation with a multiracial cast including Dev Patel as David. 

Reading schedule

Apr 9 David Copperfield through chapter 31

Apr 23  David Copperfield chapter 32 – end

Apr 30 Armando Iannucci, The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019 film)

May 14 Demon Copperhead through chapter 31

May 28 Demon Copperhead chapter 32 – end

About the Instructor

Juliette Wells, a longtime fan of Barbara Kingsolver, is Professor of Literary Studies at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, where she teaches courses on the British novel from Austen to Woolf. Her research interests include literary adaptation and reception, which she has explored in more than thirty-five articles and book chapters plus three books, most recently A New Jane Austen: How Americans Brought Us the World’s Greatest Novelist (2023). A frequent speaker to popular and scholarly audiences, she is the guest co-curator of the Morgan Library & Museum’s 2025 Jane Austen exhibition. She last taught a Rosenbach course on Austen’s Emma in spring 2023.