Sunday, May 06, 2018

Sunday, May 06, 2018 12:35 am by M. in    No comments
New Brontë research just published:
Engaging through Seeing: A Reading of Bewick and Brontë’s Imaginative Illustrations
Jaelyn Glennemeier
Issue Date: 2018-05-01
The Undergraduate Research Journal for the Humanities, University of Kansas

The opening scene of Charlotte Brontë’s best-known novel, Jane Eyre, reveals a young Jane pouring over the pages of Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds. Her eyes are drawn to the mysterious vignettes of the forlorn arctic and the lone ship on the rough sea. The images take over and inspire her imagination, but her deep connection to these images suggests something far more complex than a moment of childhood daydreaming. More than a simple literary allusion, the scene calls for a closer look into the relationship between imagination and illustration. This paper examines how both Bewick and Brontë understood the useful application of imagination in their roles as artists and as writers. It recognizes the nineteenth-century visual reading experience and argues that these authors intentionally used illustrations as integral parts of their texts. It also argues that young Jane’s ability to imaginatively partake in reading, and in life, make her both Bewick and Brontë’s ideal reader.
A Selkie Tale: The Mythical Journey of the Charlotte Brontë Heroines
Pallabi Gupta
Georgia State University, 2018.

This project offers a comparative analysis of Charlotte Brontë’s fiction and British folk tradition, juxtaposing Brontë’s female protagonists with the myth of the selkie (seal-humans of the North Sea) to highlight elements of Brontë’s feminist vision that are otherwise inconspicuous through existing methods. In Scottish, Irish, and Faroese folklore, the selkie is a marine seal who is trapped by a fisherman in her human form and is forced to live as his wife on land. To ensure submission and obstruct her return to the sea, the fisherman hides her seal-skin. Forced to live an alternative existence in a surrogate home, the selkie is thus much like the individualistic women in nineteenth-century England compelled to forgo their inner natures and submit to becoming “the angel in the house.” Selkie tales invariably conclude with the selkie finding her seal-skin and leaving a grieving family on land to return to her original home, the sea. I argue that the Brontë heroines’ continual search of a space that grants them the opportunity to explore their subjectivity resembles the selkie’s search for her seal-skin. An in-depth character study of the female protagonists of Jane Eyre (1847), Shirley (1849), and Villette (1853), “A Selkie Tale” demonstrates Brontë’s use of three homeless, single, and most importantly, non-fallen women to protest the loss of female subjectivity in three prominent Victorian institutions: the home, the family, and the literary circle. In three chapters, I analyze how a Brontë heroine passes through three characteristically Victorian spaces to gain individuation: the home, the trained female mind within the home, and the community around that home. Each chapter presents these domains alongside their reversals to illustrate Brontë’s understanding of the paradoxes present in nineteenth-century gender norms and gendered spaces. Hence, as the chapters explicate the theories of, what I term, home and anti-home, self and anti-self, community and anti-community, to corroborate my argument, I use the three stages of a selkie’s life in the mythical narrative where she experiences the conflicts of home, self, and community.


Post a Comment