MANCHESTER - Middlebury College professor Antonia Losano will explore a lesser-known side of the staid Victorian era in a talk at First Congregational Church in Manchester on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. The talk, "Victoria's Secrets," is part of the Vermont Humanities Council's First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.

Losano will explain how the Victorian era, the age of the realist novel and staid decorum, also had its guilty pleasures: mysteries, ghost stories, science fiction, imperialist adventure tales, and radical fantasies of gender confusion.

Losano is associate professor of English and American Literatures at Middlebury College. She teaches courses in 19th-century literature, gender studies, mystery fiction, and the intersections of literature and the visual arts. Her book on women writers and painters in the Victorian era, The Woman Painter in Victorian Literature, was published in 2008.

"Victoria's Secrets" is sponsored by Keelan Family Foundation.

Mark Skinner Library is sponsored by The Perfect Wife Restaurant and Tavern, The Spiral Press Café, and Vermont Renewable Fuels. The Vermont Department of Libraries is the statewide underwriter of First Wednesdays.

The Vermont Humanities Council's First Wednesdays series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May in nine communities statewide, featuring speakers of national and regional renown. Talks in Manchester are held at First Congregational Church (unless otherwise noted) and are hosted by Mark Skinner Library.


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All First Wednesdays talks are free and open to the public.

Upcoming Manchester talks include "A Life in the News" with NPR On Point host Tom Ashbrook on November 6; "The Duel: Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton" with award-winning biographer Willard Sterne Randall on December 4; and "Brain Lessons and Life Stories: Understanding Your Emotional Life" with Dartmouth professor Paul Whalen on January 8. For more information, contact Mark Skinner Library at 802.362.2607 or the Vermont Humanities Council at 802-262-2626 or info@vermonthumanities.org, or visit www.vermonthumanities.org.