Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday, November 16, 2020 12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
A recent scholar Brontë-related paper:
"I Twisted the Two, and Enclosed Them Together": Hairwork, Touch, and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights
Heather Hind
Victorian Review, Volume 46, Number 1, Spring 2020

IN EMILY Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847), it seems that death, rather than life, animates objects. A deathliness hangs over the possessions of the deceased and suffuses them with vitality. Objects left behind sentimentally or quasi-spiritually become something more—more present, persistent, and alive—by virtue of their possessor's absence. Touched by "a glowing patina of memory," in Deborah Lutz's terms, they seem to hold "little histories of intimacy" (Relics of Death 53), as though invisibly animated by a once-animate presence. My concern in this article, however, is with the physical imprints left on matter by living bodies: the dents, kinks, knots, frayed edges, and scratched surfaces. Just as Lockwood is roused by the "writing scratched on the paint" of Catherine's windowsill (Wuthering Heights 15), leading him to open and consider the mildewed pile of books on its ledge, it is the visible marks of objects that precede and guide my entry into the text. What can be found throughout Brontë's novel, and among her family's possessions collected in the Brontë Parsonage Museum (hereafter BPM), are objects with tangible signs of use and wear. It is much more than an imagined engagement, the idea that these things were touched by living bodies, that lends them a vitality. The visible tears and repairs that can be observed on articles of well-worn homeware attest to the touch—the movements and mishaps—of the people who owned them.


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