Scandal of the Season: Gossip in 18th Century London

TUE, AUG 14, 2007 (48:11)

Sophie Gee discusses her book Scandal of the Season, an erotic, witty drama about life in 18th century London, a time of Jacobite plots and Popish fears that threatened to erupt in political violence. Scandal of the Season is supposedly a fictionalized account of the true story behind Alexander Pope’s 1712 poem, “The Rape of the Lock.” When Pope composed his satirical epic, he was shining a spotlight on a suspected affair between the British aristocrats Arabella Fermor and Lord Robert Petre, two mainstays of the London scene. The intrigue became common knowledge when Petre publicly cut off a lock of Fermor’s hair, providing fodder for gossip writers of the time.

+ BIO: Sophie Gee

Sophie Gee was born in Sydney in 1974 and grew up in Paddington. She attended the University of Sydney, where she graduated in 1995 with a first-class honors degree in English. After university, Sophie won a scholarship to Harvard, where she received a Ph.D. in English literature. She graduated from Harvard in 2002 and in fall of that year she was appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of English at Princeton. She teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on eighteenth-century literature from Milton to Jane Austen, as well as on the history of satire, lecturing on subjects ranging from The Canterbury Tales to South Park and Catch-22. In 2006 she was named the John E. Annan Bicentennial Preceptor, in recognition of outstanding research and teaching as a member of Princeton’s junior faculty, and her first scholarly book is forthcoming from Princeton University Press. Before writing The Scandal of the Season Sophie published academic essays on Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift and others, as well as articles and book reviews of general interest both in Australia and America. Sophie has been awarded academic fellowships at UCLA, Yale and the Huntington Library and she has been a visiting teacher at University College London. Sophie lives in Brooklyn and she returns regularly to Australia to spend time with her family.

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