Elaine Newton's Critic's Choice
Artis—Naples Lifelong Learning
The Women in the Castle
by Jessica Shattuck
Drawing on her grandparents' experience, Shattuck takes us inside the world of "ordinary Germans" before, during and after WWII. This is a novel full of compassion, shame, heroism and complex relationships. Never denying the savage atrocity of the war, Shattuck presents three fallible German women whose husbands have been executed for their role in the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. The women are very different, with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and principles. Left to survive together with their children in a crumbling Bavarian castle, they struggle with fear, shame and shared grief. Each has experienced the war years differently, having made difficult choices and decisions. Eventually, each will each be forced to face the secrets she has hidden and relive the truths of her life, while coming to terms with sorrows, dreams and the sins of her nation. The Women in the Castle does not ask for forgiveness. Instead, it seeks an understanding that serves the phrase "never again."
This lecture is part of Elaine Newton's Critic’s Choice series, featuring contemporary literature’s most compelling works.
Please note: The Thursday lecture will be held in the Daniels Pavilion. The Saturday lecture will be held in Hayes Hall.
Elaine Newton, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Humanities at York University, Toronto, Canada. She has taught courses in literary theory and methodology, contemporary fiction, psychology and literature and archetypal criticism. Professor Newton was one of the founders of York University’s Advising Program and its much-emulated Faculty of Education. She is a recipient of the province of Ontario’s Teaching Award in recognition of excellence in university teaching and in 1984 received a citation as Toronto’s Outstanding Professor. In 1996 she was the recipient of the university-wide Teaching Award. She has held appointments as professor of literature at Carlton University, Ottawa; University of Cape Town, South Africa; University of Sydney, Australia; Victoria University and the University of Otago, New Zealand. She has lectured throughout Canada and the US, London, Hong Kong, Zurich and Caracas. In 1992 she was a member of the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh’s Semester-at-Sea.
For over 40 years she has planned and conducted adult education courses throughout North America. This is the 26th year that she has presented our literature series Critic’s Choice and the 20th year she has presented Four O’clock at the Movies. She also initiated and taught, for 11 years, the pioneering Artis—Naples seminar discussion program The Questers. Newton has worked as a book critic for Toronto’s The Globe and Mail, been a special consultant to the Ontario Library Association, led movie and theater discussions and served as a consultant to the North York Board of Education. She continues to conduct an annual lecture series at the Toronto Public Library and leads summer tours to Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake Theatre Festivals. Professor Newton has served as a programming resource specialist for Chapters (Canada) and makes frequent guest appearances on TV and radio.