Literary Parlor

The Mansion is hosting a Victorian Literature Book Club a.k.a. “Literary Parlor.” Everyone is welcome to join 19th-century bibliophile, Kate Howe, via Zoom for a lively discussion.

Literary Parlor is now virtual via Zoom!

What a great way to get out of the house while staying home! 19th-century literature with 21st-century technology.

Literary Parlor – The Semi-Attached Couple and The Semi-Detached House – two novels by Emily Eden – via ZOOM

If you’re a Jane Austen fan, you’ll enjoy Emily Eden’s comic novels of manners, The Semi-Detached House (1859), and The Semi-Attached Couple (1860). At the opening of The Semi-Detached House, the beautiful (but rather petulant) Lady Blanche Chester, newly married and pregnant, is being installed in a suburban house while her husband is away. Her encounters with her neighbors, and the intrigues of the neighborhood, soon come to absorb and annoy her.

Join 19th-century bibliophile Kate Howe for a lively discussion.

Sunday, January 17, 2021, at 1:30 pm

Cost: $6 Once you register for The Semi-Attached Couple and  The Semi-Attached House via ZOOM, the Mansion will email you the login information for the Zoom Literary Parlor.

Reservations are required.  MAKE RESERVATIONS ONLINE or call 215-438-1861

The Scarlet Letter and Adam Bede

Hawthorne’s compelling work The Scarlet Letter published in 1850 shows the ripple effect that two characters’ actions have on their insular New England Colony. Elliot’s novel, Adam Bede was published in 1859. It is a response to The Scarlet Letter and what she observed as the double standards for the behavior of men versus women. Join us from the comfort of your own home via ZOOM for a lively discussion led by 19th-century bibliophile, Kate Howe.

Sunday, February 21, 2021, at 1:30 pm 


ZOOM sign-in information will be emailed to you on Saturday, February 20, and then again at 12:30 on February 21.

Unbeaten Tracks in Japan by Isabella Bird

Unbeaten Tracks in Japan is a travel diary written by Isabella Bird of her trip to Japan in 1878, at the age of 47. It chronicles the trip Bird made with a Japanese interpreter named Ito in 1878 from about June until September from Tokyo to Hokkaido (then Ezo), and recorded such things as Japanese houses, clothing, the sex industry, and the natural environment in great detail, as they were during the early years of the Meiji restoration. It also has many descriptions of the Ainu people. Join 19th-century bibliophile Kate Howe for a lively discussion.

Sunday, March 14, 2021, at 1:30 pm 


ZOOM sign-in information will be sent to you on Saturday, March 13, and then again on Sunday, March 14 at 12:30 pm


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is the second and final novel by the English author Anne Bronte. The novel is framed as a series of letters from Gilbert Markham to his friend about the events connected with his meeting a mysterious young widow, calling herself Helen Graham, who arrives at Wildfell Hall. Contrary to the early 19th century norms, she pursues an artist’s career and makes an income by selling her pictures. Her strict seclusion gives rise to gossip and she becomes a social outcast. She gives a diary to Markham that chronicles her husband’s physical and moral decline through alcohol and debauchery in the dissipated aristocratic society. Critics consider The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to be one of the first feminist novels. Join 19th-century bibliophile, Kate Howe, for an exciting discussion.

Sunday, April 11, 2021, at 1:30 pm


The Mansion will email ticket-holders for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Literary Parlor zoom sign-information on Saturday, April 10 and at 11:30 am on April 11, 2021

Wives and Daughters  via ZOOM

Join bibliophile, Kate Howe, for what surely will be a lively discussion of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Wives and Daughters. 

Elizabeth Gaskell wrote Wives and Daughters from 1864 to 1866 as a series for Cornhill Magazine. Gaskell died suddenly in 1865, and Frederick Greenwood completed the novel. It tells the story of a young Molly Gibson who has been raised by her widowed father, Dr. Gibson. As Molly grows older, she attracts one of Dr. Gibson’s apprentices’ attention, so she is sent to stay with the Hamleys of Hamley Hill. While she is away, Dr. Gibson remarries; Molly is not fond of her new stepmother but does find an ally in her new stepsister. The novel weaves an intricate tale of romance.

Sunday, June 13, 2021, at 1:30 pm

Cost: $6


Ticket holders will receive ZOOM sign-in information on Sunday, June 13, 2021 at 10:00 am.

Miss Marjoribanks is an 1866 novel by Margaret Oliphant. It was first published in serialized form in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine from February 1865. It follows the exploits of its heroine, Lucilla Marjoribanks, as she schemes to improve the social life of the provincial English town of Carlingford. Join 19th-century bibliophile Kate Howe for what surely will be a fascinating discussion.

Sunday, July 18, 2021


Clotel by William Wells Brown

Join us for a lively discussion led by 19th-century bibliophile, Kate Howe. Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States is an 1853 novel by United States author and playwright William Wells Brown about Clotel and her sister, fictional slave daughters of Thomas Jefferson. Brown, who escaped from slavery in 1834 at the age of 20, published the book in London. He was staying after a lecture tour to evade possible recapture due to the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Set in the early nineteenth century, it is considered the first novel published by an African American and is set in the United States. The novel explores slavery’s destructive effects on African-American families, the difficult lives of American mulattoes or mixed-race people, and the “degraded and immoral condition of the relation of master and slave in the United States of America.”

Date to be determined.

Cost: $6