Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
A couple of new Brontë-related scholar papers:
Narrative control and the monster within: empowering disability in Jane Eyre
Mary Vallo, Glastonbury, CT
Hektoen International. A Journal of Medical Humanities
Volume 10, Issue 1 – Winter 2018

In chapter twenty-five of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Jane tells Rochester that the night before, “a form emerged from the closet” in her room and tried on her wedding veil, ripped the veil apart, and blew out a candle in her face before Jane fainted with fear.1 Although Jane is unaware at the time, the “form” is Bertha Mason, Rochester’s mentally ill wife who lives locked in the attic of Thornfield Hall. While Bertha is the novel’s most recognizable character with a disability, scholars of disability studies such as Julia Miele Rodas have pointed to Jane’s social differences as hallmarks of autism, arguing that Jane is also socially “disabled.”2 Thus, in many respects, the passage in chapter twenty-five positions Jane Eyre as a tale of its time: it contains negatively fraught language and attitudes toward disability that subjugate both Bertha and Jane as characters. However, narrative techniques throughout Jane’s recollection of Bertha’s intrusion into her room depict the two pivotal female characters of the novel as more than simply subservient. By highlighting the connections between Bertha and Jane, Brontë empowers their disabilities and looks beyond stereotypes of people who have psychological and social differences.
The Unexpected Kinship of Great Expectations and Wuthering Heights
Alan P. Barr
Dickens Studies Annual
Vol. 49, No. 1 (2018), pp. 70-85

Surprisingly unnoticed are the significant reverberations of Wuthering Heights that appear scattered across Great Expectations. Central to Dickens's art is his exuberant, capacious ability to absorb and refract his surroundings in his novels: the haunting locales, the evocative characters, taut situations, and poignant elements from his contemporary culture. Melded into the rich broth of Great Expectations is a string of parallels with Wuthering Heights. They include the looming presence of the houses, the alienated, orphaned protagonists, and numerous verbal echoes. There is no evidence that Dickens incorporated these parallels consciously, but they are there and they are effective. Buildings, terrains, figures, situations, and expressions in the later novel that recall elements in Brontë's world can function quite differently relocated. The echoes embedded in Great Expectations are entirely unobtrusive; their effect is enriching, that of a highly original, imaginative novelist, adding texture and even irony to his art—perhaps less anxious about the influence than benefitting from it.


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