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Liberal Anguish: Wuthering Heights and the Structures of Liberal Thought
Vol. 69, No. 1, June 2014, (pp. 1-25)
After decades of sustained academic critiques along established lines, liberalism has recently attracted renewed evaluations. These readings treat complexity as inherent in liberalism, and proceed to explore its structures beyond suspicious hermeneutics. This essay argues that Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) constitutes an early and sophisticated argument about the structures of complexity in liberalism. Not only does Brontë’s novel merit entry into the discussion as a conceptual contribution, but it also offers an aesthetic enactment of the anguish that liberal structures of complexity were to evoke for generations to follow, an anguish experienced already at its troubled reception.
Persons of Interest: Mentoring Relationships in Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Maria: Or, The Wrongs of Woman and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre
Master's Thesis, East Carolina University
My thesis sets a focus on mentorship and the effects it has on literary characters, mainly female characters. Mentorship does not receive much focus from literary critics, despite its power and ability to help a mentee develop their lives and self-worth. I assert that mentoring relationships play a role in texts as a factor strengthening friendships and marriages. In my exploration of mentorship, I examine various relationships in literature, such as abusive relationships, teacher-student relationships, and love relationships, to point out the ways in which mentoring relationships can and cannot exist. The thesis also examines the limitations of mentoring relationships, as well as the factors causing these limitations.
Baked Nectar and Frosted Ambrosia: The Unifying Power of Cake in Great Expectations and Jane Eyre
Alexander L. Barron
The Victorian, Vol 2, No 2 (2014)
More than any other food, cake has always symbolized luxury, human fellowship and spiritual communion, but the appearance of the first layered wedding cake at the wedding of Princess Victoria and Prince Frederick of Prussia helped to make this symbolism especially clear. Significantly, its appearance at pivotal scenes in two well-loved Victorian novels – Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations – speaks to its exalted place in the ethos of the period. In Brontë’s novel, it represents young Jane’s connection with the angelic Miss Temple, and by extension, her potential to form human bonds that have previously been denied her. In Dickens’ novel, Miss Havisham’s cake is the inverse of what a cake should be: it embodies the old woman’s withdrawal from society and her refusal to commune with those outside of her own self-fashioned prison. Taken in concert, the close reading of these two objects – as well as the appearance of several other cakes and breads in the novels – adds another layer of meaning to both texts, while helping to provide insight into a culture that held such confections in high esteem.