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  • Who Was Helen Dickens? Mysterious Victorian Novelist Highlights First Mondays Lecture in March
For Immediate Release
February 18, 2013

Who Was Helen Dickens? Mysterious Victorian Novelist Highlights First Mondays Lecture in March

Key Info

  • First Mondays lecture
  • “The Mysterious Identity of Helen Dickens, Victorian Novelist,” presented by Assistant Professor Troy Bassett
  • Monday, March 4, noon to 1:15 p.m., Science Building, Room 168
  • Free and open to the public
Who Was Helen Dickens? Mysterious Victorian Novelist Highlights First Mondays Lecture in March Image 1
Troy Bassett, assistant professor of English and linguistics Print-quality image

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—The College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne’s (IPFW’s) First Mondays lecture series for March will investigate how to establish authorship in “The Mysterious Identity of Helen Dickens, Victorian Novelist.” The lecture will be presented by Assistant Professor of English and Linguistics Troy Bassett, Monday, March 4, from noon to 1:15 p.m. in Science Building, Room 168.

Victorian novelist Helen Dickens published five sensational novels between 1872 and 1881. However, a big question remains: was she any relation to Charles Dickens? Until now this author has remained completely forgotten, barely noticed by her contemporaries and ignored by later generations.

Bassett says his talk “… explores the methods for determining authorship and considers the evidence—including genealogical records, letters, reviews, and the novels themselves—to attempt to answer the literary mystery of her identity. Charles Dickens’s brother Alfred married a woman named Helen Dobson. Could the unknown author have been the sister-in-law of the famous novelist? Or is this a clever marketing ploy by the publisher?”

First Mondays is a student-focused series sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS). Presentations feature COAS faculty discussing interesting aspects of their research in a relaxed atmosphere. The discussions allow IPFW students to delve into and learn about research areas often not covered in the classroom. The lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information on the series, go to the First Mondays series website or contact Carl Drummond, dean of COAS, at 260-481-6160 or drummond@ipfw.edu; for information on the lecture, contact Bassett at 260-481-0152 or bassettt@ipfw.edu.

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