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Liberal Anguish: Wuthering Heights and the Structures of Liberal Thought
Nineteenth-Century Literature, 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.
Spaces of Death in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
Journal of Literary Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2014, pp 20-33
In this article I explore the idea expressed by philosophers and social geographers such as Henri Lefebvre, Edward Soja, and Henk van Houtum that “space” is a social construct; that the space in which a society exists and of which it consists is shaped by that society itself, and that specific locations are assigned to each of the members of the community. I discuss how the dominant spaces in society are shaped by those in positions of authority according to their own ideologies so as to ensure social order and their continued empowerment within the social structure. Additionally, I suggest that it is possible for those who do not conform to social norms, and who are consequently cast into dominated spaces, to undermine the authority of those in positions of power by embracing their marginalised state, and thereby to generate new spaces they can inhabit. I explore these ideas in relation to Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and its depiction and examination of central nineteenth-century ideas and anxieties about death and the different areas allocated to the dead.