Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Wednesday, June 03, 2020 12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
A couple of recent scholar papers:
The Brontës in Haute Couture: A Sartorial Adaptation of Literary Texts
Jian Choe
27 May 2020

This essay elucidates the ways in which Veronique Branquinho, a contemporary Belgian avant-garde fashion designer, appropriates the literary heritage of the Brontë sisters. A well-read, intellectual visual artist, she has presented collections marked with literary references. Her recent works tap into some key aspects of the Brontë oeuvre, re-envisioning them into highly original sartorial forms. The influence of the Brontës manifests itself in the ethos of Branquinho’s craftsmanship as well as in the individual artefacts that she has created. The designer’s Brontë-inspired dresses with their formal beauty and distinctive aesthetics could be viewed as an intermedial ode to the British writers, her enduring muses, attesting to the universal appeal of the sisters across disciplines.
Serena Partridge’s ‘Accessories’: Fabricating Uncertainty in the Brontë Parsonage Museum
Amber Pouliot
Journal of Victorian Culture, Volume 25, Issue 2, April 2020, Pages 279–299,

The 1861 sale of the Brontës’ personal effects sent relic hunters scrambling to collect the material remains of the famous family. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the collection, preservation, and veneration of relics, particularly those associated with a writer’s private, domestic life, were important aspects of literary celebrity culture and commemoration, and both the Brontë Society and the original Brontë Museum were established to collect material remains. Yet when Virginia Woolf visited the museum in 1904, she viewed Charlotte Brontë’s clothing, shoes, and accessories with considerable unease. Anticipating the concerns of the literary establishment, Woolf feared that access to Brontë’s material remains would encourage the domestic cult which had formed around her following the publication of Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë (1857). She feared it would diminish the importance of Brontë’s writing by privileging a narrative of domestic rather than literary labour. This essay considers the creative-critical intervention of Serena Partridge’s ‘Accessories’ (2016), a collection of newly created pseudo-relics of Charlotte Brontë, framed by semi-fictional narratives that dramatize the construction, use, and significance of her personal possessions. I argue that ‘Accessories’ and biographical fiction are analogous modes of engaging with Brontë’s legacy. They respond to the anxieties articulated by Woolf through the fabrication – both literal and literary – of new pseudo-relics that (rather than emphasizing Brontë’s perceived conventional, domestic femininity) enable multiple interpretive possibilities while simultaneously acknowledging the contingent nature of our understanding of her experience.


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