Thursday, December 26, 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019 12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
Recent Brontë scholar papers that have not been featured before on this blog:
Lilith on the Moors: The Brontë Sisters' Runaway Women
Nora Gilbert
Victorian Review, Volume 42, Number 2, Fall 2016, pp. 273-289

A husband sitting with a shell-shocked expression on his face, an open letter in his hand; two young girls kneeling together in innocent, just-interrupted play; a woman lying prostrate on the floor before them, her arms outstretched, her hands clasped tightly, her head buried in shame and misery. No visual representation of the "fallen woman" narrative is more vividly cautionary than the first panel of Augustus Egg's iconic triptych from 1858, Past and Present . It is this narrative that has monopolized Victorianist discussions of female transgression for the past few decades—discussions that, for all their variance, share the conviction that the Victorians' particular rendering of the fallen woman figure ("not the brazen courtesan of Restoration tradition, nor a casually promiscuous Molly Sea-grim, but a figure of remorse, yearning for forgiveness and compassion") can be read as "symptomatic of some shared, fundamental concern of the time, one of the structural underpinnings for that generation". In the article that follows, I would like to contextualize the conservative, punitive fallen woman trope that has garnered so much critical attention for so long within a more complicated, potentially more liberatory framework, one that includes not only those female characters who rebel against social norms and are condemned to life (or death) in the gutter but also those female characters who rebel against social norms and are set free. I would like, that is, to explore the alternative category of what I will call the "runaway woman" narrative.
Those Wild Yorkshire Girls: Body, Place, and History in the Brontës' Lives and Art
Deborah Denenholz Morse
Victorian Review, Volume 42, Number 2, Fall 2016, pp. 243-250

I will borrow from Dickens and title the three sections of my forum essay "The Ghost of Brontë Scholarship Past"; "The Ghost of Brontë Scholarship Present"—including my own particular hauntings; and "The Ghost of Brontë Scholarship Future," or "How We Might Be the Revenants for Scholars Fifty Years from Now."
On the Brontëesque 
Garrett Stewart
Victorian Review, Volume 42, Number 2, Fall 2016,pp. 234-241

For all their differences, the narrative writing of the Brontë sisters has a kindred intensity and sibling linguistic pitch, drenched in a hyper-attention to diction and metaphor as well as in the dramatized exactions of grammar. Their prose can be patient, even at times throttled, but never slack. And when plot writes one or another heroine into a corner, in some crisis either of her own making or not, a signature force is typically marked in the driven wedge of language itself—and as such. Unlike some Victorian novelists, the Brontës are not just storytellers but writers, risking even the tortuous and awkward rather than sacrificing all to the forward drive of plot. Yet the narrative spell they cast—precisely because of this writerly quality, I would (again) argue—tends to carry well beyond the grain of their individual stylistic texture into what Peter Brooks, in The Melodramatic Imagination (1986), with reference to Henry James rather than the Brontës in his subtitle's stress on the Mode of Excess, has called (in a chapter title) the very "melodrama of consciousness" inherent in the forms of fictional characterization. George Eliot is the obvious precursor for James in this line of thought, this evolutionary model for the contours of thinking itself in fiction, but the Brontës are her own inescapable and more excessive predecessors.


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