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“Beneath every history, another history”: Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall

May 30-June 20, 2023 Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (4 sessions)
925 SW Washington Street Portland, OR 97205


With the death of Hilary Mantel in September 2022 we lost one of the greatest writers of our time. Mantel’s books are so original, and so different from one another, that it’s often difficult to believe they were written by the same novelist. Her brilliant language, dark humor, and inventive, impeccable craft make everything she wrote worthy of attention and admiration, yet she is best known for her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, which transports the reader to the world of Tudor England and the court of Henry VIII. Mantel immerses us the mind and experience of Cromwell, the son of a tradesman who rose to become one of Henry’s chief ministers and his most powerful advisor. Mantel was awarded the Booker Prize for Wolf Hall in 2009.She won again in 2012 for the second volume of the trilogy, Bring Up the Bodies. The novel has been made into an acclaimed BBC miniseries and a stage play produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In this Delve we will read the first volume of the trilogy, Wolf Hall, immersing ourselves in the drama, splendor, and subtle machinations of Cromwell’s world and paying tribute to an author gone too soon, whose work stands among the great achievements of literature. As writer Maggie O’Farrell has rightly said, Mantel “leaves behind a huge, unfillable vacuum.”

Wolf Hall (Picador)

Access Program
We want our classes to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income and background. We understand that our tuition structure can present obstacles for some people. Our Access Program offers class registrations at a reduced rate. Most Delves have at least one access spot available.

Please apply here for access rate tuition. Contact Susan Moore at susan@literary-arts.org if you have questions.

Liaison position
Every in-person class and seminar at Literary Arts has one liaison position. Liaisons perform specific duties for each class meeting. If you are a liaison for a class or seminar, the full amount of your tuition is covered by Literary Arts.

Apply here for the liaison position.


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Sara Atwood

Sara Atwood teaches English literature and writing at Portland Community College and Portland State University. She is Co-Director of the Ruskin Society of North America and has lectured widely, both in the US and abroad, on John Ruskin, education, the environment, and language. Her work has been published in Nineteenth-Century Prose, The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, and Carlyle Studies Annual. She is the author of Ruskin’s Educational Ideals and has contributed essays to a number of books, including Teaching Victorian Literature in the Twenty-First Century, John Ruskin and Nineteenth-Century Education, William Morris and John Ruskin, and Victorian Environmental Nightmares.
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