The genesis of genius. The tiny books. - The tiny, hand-lettered, hand-bound books Charlotte and Branwell Brontë made as children surely qualify. Measuring about 2.5 by 5 centimeters, page after...
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Inventing Charlotte Brontë
Sewanee Review - Volume 118, Number 3, Summer 2010, pp. 393-399
A couple of days ago, having gotten sick of the Aeneid, I found myself fidgeting among my bookshelves, looking for something to distract me from the ponderous exploits of that pious sap Aeneas (and it’s no wonder Juno keeps trying to kill him; he’s such a pill). Soon I pulled out Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley, and quickly remembered that the paperback I’d been dipping into periodically for the past twenty years had disintegrated, on last use, to a jaundiced brittle stack of pages laced with little white spine-glue chips that sifted onto my stomach when I tried to turn a page in bed. This discovery has not led me to toss the book sensibly into the woodstove and choose something more cohesive to read. Instead, in hopes of saving the last fragile remnants of cheap binding, I’ve taken to reading Shirley at a speed that resembles the delayed slow motion one sees in explanatory replays of baseball pitches: sitting bolt upright, preternaturally alert for a page explosion, my neck cocked stiffly at goose angle, both hands gripping the Scotch-taped cover with the sort of tension I exhibit when I’m driving in a snowstorm. If Charlotte Brontë...
Ashly BennettCategories: Journals, Scholar
Shameful Signification: Narrative and Feeling in Jane Eyre
Narrative - Volume 18, Number 3, October 2010, pp. 300-323
"For shame! for shame! … What shocking conduct, Miss Eyre." —Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Is Jane Eyre the heroine of shame? Would such a reframing of the character famously dubbed the "heroine of fulfillment" constitute its own shamefully "shocking conduct"? Widely understood as a model of engaging and empowered female voice, Jane Eyre's distinctive "I" has often seemed bolstered, especially, by the emotional display and pull of that voice. Not just feeling, but specific feelings have captured critical attention, with anger and sympathy attaining pride of place in feminist assessments of Brontë's novel and of novelistic feeling in both Victorian and contemporary culture. From Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar's influential reading of Jane Eyre's anger as exemplary of "rebellious feminism" to more recent critiques of the normalizing "triumph of sympathy" staged by the novel's end, the fraught yet potent agency, self-assertion, and emotional invitation of Jane Eyre's autobiographical narrative, and especially her voice, have been understood to thrive on anger...