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Whose Brontë is it Anyway?
pp. 251–253 Author: Van Puymbroeck, Birgit and Malfait, Olivia and Demoor, Marysa
Lives and Afterlives: The Brontë Myth Revisited
pp. 254–266 Author: Miller, Lucasta
Lucasta Miller revisits her 2001 book The Brontë Myth to explore the thinking behind it. In doing so, she surveys the recent history of English life-writing to cast light on recent trends towards metabiography. She also explores the theoretical issues — and subjective experiences — which the practice of afterlife study involves. In doing so, she offers an apologia for such study, especially as it relates to the Brontës. She argues that studying the posthumous construction of canonical authors can help the process of contextualizing them within their own historical moment, thus helping us to understand them on their own terms.
Beyond The Brontë Myth: Jane Eyre, Hannah Cullwick and Subjectivity in Servitude
pp. 267–278 Author: D'Albertis, Deirdre
Close analysis of the trope of servitude, central to the imaginative world of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and working-class diarist Hannah Cullwick, reveals the challenge as well as the promise of reading these two figures in tandem. Uncoupling the link between will and servitude as one which resulted necessarily in a state either of oppression or emancipation, this essay traces a literary subjectivity largely unaccounted for by The Brontë Myth. Both Cullwick’s diaries and Jane Eyre’s narrative autobiography acknowledge and actively construct servitude as a complex performance of the desire for recognition between master and servant. This desire is deeply rooted in the texts, as well as in the narrating subjects themselves.
Charlotte Brontë’s Polyphonic Voices: Collaboration and Hybrid Authorial Spaces
pp. 279–291 Author: Scholl, Lesa
Charlotte Brontë was aware that authorship was a hybrid process, one involving translation, sharing work, rewriting and engaging with a variety of literary influences. This paper repositions Charlotte Brontë’s authorial identity by drawing out the collaborative nature of her literary relationships with her key masters: Branwell Brontë, Constantin Heger and her publishers at Smith, Elder & Co. Through a Bakhtinian dialogic lens, the literary entity identified as ‘Charlotte Brontë’ inhabits a separate authorial space from the historical person living at Haworth. She becomes a polyphony of minds and voices.
Currer Bell, Charlotte Brontë and the Construction of Authorial Identity
pp. 292–306 Author: Wing-chi Ki, Magdalen
Focusing on the recovery of the textual and authoriality-defining politics of Charlotte Brontë’s pseudonym ‘Currer Bell’, this essay examines how Charlotte’s penname affected pre-1850 constructions of gendered authorial identity and how, after that date, Currer Bell was partially erased by means of the two distinct personae that readers fashioned for Charlotte, the female author, and Charlotte, the historical figure. The essay explores the pseudonym’s redefinition and revaluation by means of an analysis of brief accounts of Charlotte’s correspondence and the reviews of her fiction. It also examines how the use of different personae by Charlotte and critics of her works contributed to a myth that conflated distinctions she had introduced to differentiate herself as writer, using the gender-ambiguous remit of Currer Bell, and as the private individual Charlotte Brontë. The essay concludes with a consideration of how Charlotte’s textual inscription is transformed by visual culture media, which facilitated her becoming a cultural icon.
‘Becoming’ in Jane Eyre: Charlotte Brontë through the Eyes of Gilles Deleuze
pp. 307-318 Author: Posman, Sarah
In four of his books Gilles Deleuze makes a reference to the Brontës. In Dialogues and A Thousand Plateaus he mentions Charlotte Brontë as an example of literature that surpasses a subject-centred narrative, a literature of what he calls a ‘haecceity’ or ‘thisness’, in which events take precedence over subjects making life choices. This essay concentrates on Jane Eyre: An Autobiography in teasing out Deleuze’s surprising mentioning of Charlotte Brontë and explores how a Deleuzian ‘haecceity’-vantage point can change our understanding of life narratives and authorship.
‘The Virgin Soul’: Anglo-French Spectres of Emily Brontë, 1880–1920
pp. 319-329 Author: Van Puymbroeck, Birgit
This essay studies Emily Brontë’s afterlives in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century biographies. It shows the rise in Emily Brontë’s popularity from the late nineteenth century onwards and demonstrates the rich cross-fertilization between British, Belgian and French accounts of her authorial persona. At the turn of the century, Emily became the subject of a cult that focused on her moral and inner life. She took preponderance over her sister Charlotte and became the subject of spiritualist, proto-feminist and modernist analyses. By focusing on Emily Brontë’s reception in Belgium, Britain and France, this essay adds a cross-national perspective to the Brontë myth.
Standing Alone: Anne Brontë out of the Shadow
pp. 330-340 Author: Thormählen, Marianne
Having traced Anne Brontë’s slow emergence from her sisters’ shadow in the course of a century and a half, this article explains the reasons for the long neglect of her works and the circumstances that encouraged twentieth-century readers and academics to begin to take an interest in the youngest Brontë sister. The author argues that Anne’s two novels deserve as much attention from readers and critics as her sisters’ books. She then sets out the distinctive features of Anne Brontë’s fiction, suggesting topics for further research.
Sex, Crimes and Secrets: Invention and Imbroglio in Recent Brontë Biographical Fiction
pp. 341-352 Author: Stoneman, Patsy
The last twenty years have seen a proliferation of fictional works which supplement, rewrite or allude to Brontë biography, augmenting the known facts with more or less plausible invention. Noting that recent literary theories have destabilized the distinction between ‘fact’ and ‘fiction’, I consider two categories of such fiction: those based on a biographical hypothesis, and those in which present-day readers are ‘haunted’ by the Brontë lives. Many of these stories turn on the discovery of documents, and I shall argue that the best of them offer hypotheses which address the aporias — the gaps and puzzles — in scholarly biography.