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The Outward Female Vision: The Struggle Against Enclosure in the Novels of Charlotte Brontë
University of Hawaii at Manoa
The good of Villette in my opinion Miss is a very fine style; and a remarkably happy way (which few female authors possess) of carrying a metaphor logically through to its conclusion. And it amuses me to read the author’s naive confession of being in love with 2 men at the same time; and her readiness to fall in love at any time.l So begins William Makepeace Thackeray’s letter about Villette and its author Charlotte Brontë (1816-55), "the poor little woman of genius," "the fiery little eager brave tremulous homely-faced creature."2 While Thackeray twice praises Brontë for her style and an enjoyable novel in his responses to Jane Eyre and Villette, in his later review he assumes a more condescending, paternalistic tone. Although in 1847 he correctly identifies the author of Jane Eyre as a woman, he does not center his assessment of the novel on her female nature. But in speaking of Villette to Lucy Baxter in 1853, Thackeray notes that he "can read a great deal of [Brontë's] life in her book, and see [s] that rather than have fame, rather than any other earthly good . . . she wants some Tomkins or another to love her and be in love with."
Their Good Woman Is a Queer Thing: Dependent Females in the Novels of Charlotte Brontë
Moisa, Holly, California State University
This thesis is an examination of women's roles in Victorian England through analysis of female characters in the novels of Charlotte Brontë, including "Jane Eyre," "Shirley," and "Villette." By advocating employment, education, personal capability, and balanced marriages, the novels of Charlotte Brontë aimed to help change the ways in which Victorian society viewed their women and the ways in which Victorian women viewed themselves.