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Emily Brontë and the Religious Imagination
Imprint: Bloomsbury Academic
Readers of Emily Brontë's poetry and of Wuthering Heights have seen in their author, variously, a devout if somewhat unorthodox Christian, a heretic, or a visionary "mystic of the moors". Rather than seeking to resolve this matter, Emily Brontë and the Religious Imagination suggests that such conflicting readings are the product of tensions, conflicts and ambiguities within the texts themselves. Rejecting the idea that a single, coherent set of religious doctrines are to be found in Brontë's work, this book argues that Wuthering Heights and the poems dramatise individual experiences of faith in the context of a world in which such faith is always conflicted, always threatened. Brontë's work dramatises the experience of imaginative faith that is always contested by the presence of other voices, other worldviews. Her characters cling to visionary faith in the face of death and mortality, awaiting and anticipating a final vindication, an eschatological fulfilment that always lies in a future beyond the scope of the text.
Table Of Contents
Acknowledgements \ A Note on Texts \ Introduction: The Unfinished Sentence \ 1. Enchantment \ 2. Christianity \ 3. Death and Eschatology \ 4. Faith, Doubt and Wuthering Heights \ (not) Conclusion \ Notes \ Bibliography \ Index
“Marsden provides new readings of elements in Emily Brontë’s work that have baffled scholars and readers: his readings of “No coward Soul” and Wuthering Heights, for example, provide a coherent analysis of seemingly irreconcilable elements of her work and thought. Marsden’s is not a dogmatic reading – such a reading would run counter to Brontë’s thought -- but a perceptive reading based on Christian epistemology, hermeneutics, and ontology. Marsden accounts for the religious elements in Brontë’s work even as he gives full recognition to her “somewhat heterodox” or even “heretical” stance toward Christianity.”
Micael M. Clarke, Associate Professor of English, Loyola University, Chicago, USA.