Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 2:29 am by M. in ,    No comments
Recent Brontë-related papers not previously featured on this blog:

Source material: A Brontë Reading List: Part 10 — Charlotte Brontë, James Ogden, Sara L. Pearson & Peter Cook, Brontë Studies, Volume 44, 2019 - Issue 3, 306-322
Wilful Design: The Sampler in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Chloe Flower
Journal of Victorian Culture, Volume 21, Issue 3, 1 September 2016, Pages 301–321,

This article recovers the cultural significance of the sampler in nineteenth-century Britain. I argue that this mainstay of female education models a circular shape of development in which the young girl painfully revises earlier experience; the subject is conceived of as perpetually reworking herself without obvious linear progression. Though this article is situated against canonical works of Victorian fiction, it focuses primarily on actual samplers to argue that these pieces of childhood embroidery should be recognized as a form of life-writing. After establishing the conventions of the sampler, I turn to an apparently anomalous example that exemplifies the temporal and affective patterns ingrained by the pedagogical exercise of sampler sewing. My central artefact is an autobiographical sampler from the needle of a 17-year-old Sussex girl named Elizabeth Parker. Currently housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, this textile from 1830 recounts Parker’s childhood experiences in service, and the horrors of physical abuse and sexual assault that led her to contemplate suicide, all compressed into 46 lines of cross-stitch. I argue that the sampler as a pedagogical tool resists the Bildungsroman’s model of the self as formed through temporal progression towards self-contained adult agency. Instead, the sampler materially and thematically enforces the recursive temporal dynamics of conversion.
Charlotte Brontë's Oeuvre as Fantasy Fiction
Hoeveler, Diane Long, Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature, no. 130, 2016, p. 15+

Charlotte Brontë began writing seriously when she was fourteen years old, creating a large prose cycle known as the Angrian and Glass Town sagas by the age of twenty-four. That fiction, interspersed with poetry and drama, features imitations of the major genres of the era: historical romance, silver fork novels, gothic, melodrama, and journalistic political and social commentaries. But at the core of these early works, as well as her later, mature novels, is a type of fantasy writing: for all of these works attempt to accomplish the cultural and personal work that lies at the heart of fantasy. As Laplanche and Pontalis note, fantasy writing most frequently emerges out of an author's meditation on her own personal narrative of psychic and emotional survival (18-27). As such, fantasy writing, like juvenilia, tends to comment on its own moment of production, and it does not present the sort of historical specificity associated with realistic novels. But it is the tension between the personal and the historical that is so intriguing and powerful in the works of Charlotte Brontë: and it is that tension, as well as the techniques and characteristics of fantasy writing, that this essay will explore.
Brontë's Domestic Uncanny
Levenson, Karen Chase,  Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature, no. 130, 2016, p. 124+

Elizabeth Gaskell begins her biography of Charlotte Brontë with a description of Haworth, the town where the family moved the day before Charlotte's fourth birthday, on April 21, 1820. Gaskell insists that we cannot understand the Brontëan sensibility without comprehending the peculiarities of this north Yorkshire region, steeped as it was in a culture fixed and unyielding in spirit, and yet dynamic and adaptable to the rough demands of industrial development and expansion. Every region clutches and extrudes habits as it hurtles through time, but Yorkshire people apparently hold tighter and release more violently than others do. According to Gaskell, "For a right understanding of the life of my dear friend, Charlotte Brontë, it appears to me more necessary in her case than in most others, that the reader should be made acquainted with the peculiar forms of population and society amidst which her earliest years were passed, and from which both her own and her sisters' first impressions of human life must have been received" (60). Here--where rebellion and fixity were partners, where provinciality marched with vision--is where the Bronte children lived and died, and wrote the works that even now bring shivers to the spine, tempest to the soul, and yearning to the heart. But although Haworth was home to Charlotte Brontë, home in her works bore as much relation to Haworth as Wonderland or the Looking Glass world bear to Oxford in Carroll's Alice books. Not that Brontë fictionalizes Haworth; but for her (as for many others) hominess transcends the home from whence it was engendered and represents states of mind and associated spaces that continue to be as relevant today as they were two hundred years ago.


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