Are villains cardboard characters? If so, why do we enjoy them so much?
Drawing examples from film and TV drama, as well as from popular fiction, this lecture will try to explain the satisfaction of villainy for the audience. Using the novels of Wilkie Collins and Thomas Hardy, it will look at the development of the villain in nineteenth-century fiction; and at examples of contemporary literary novelists, like Hilary Mantel, who are willing to unleash the energies of villainy.
A lecture by John Mullan
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:
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