Literature is a powerful tool which can influence the way readers think and act. Evoking strong feelings and offering vivid imagery, literature can perpetuate age-old misconceptions, untruths and stereotypes.

This online course will provide participants with the opportunity to engage with various texts from English Literature through the lens of interfaith studies, to understand the narrative of deep-seated prejudices and to recognise the value of dialogue to dispel these views. In the 21st-century, what can we learn from literary works to effect greater understanding between one another?

Following introductory case-study sessions on Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare, participants will explore nineteenth century works by Maria Edgeworth, Charles Dickens and George Eliot and their 'literary friendships'. The course will also look at visual representations of some of the scenes and characters discussed.

Contact Dr Emma Harris, Director of Studies (Woolf Institute):