Adultery became the subject of some of the greatest European novels of the nineteenth century, including Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina. English novels of the period needed adultery for their plots, yet flinched from treating the subject openly.
Through the twentieth century to the present – from Ulysses and A Handful of Dust to recent fiction by Zadie Smith, Tessa Hadley and Sally Rooney – adultery has fascinated novelists. Why is this? And do male and female authors treat adultery differently?
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A lecture by John Mullan
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website: https://www.gresham.ac.uk/watch-now/adultery-novel
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