Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday, February 14, 2021 12:57 am by M. in , ,    No comments
 A new scholar book with Brontë-related content:
Palgrave MacMillan
ISBN 978-3-030-40865-7

By the early 1830s the old school of Gothic literature was exhausted. Late Romanticism, emphasising as it did the uncertainties of personality and imagination, gave it a new lease of life. Gothic—the literature of disturbance and uncertainty—now produced works that reflected domestic fears, sexual crimes, drug filled hallucinations, the terrible secrets of middle class marriage, imperial horror at alien invasion, occult demonism and the insanity of psychopaths. It was from the 1830s onwards that the old gothic castle gave way to the country house drawing room, the dungeon was displaced by the sewers of the city and the villains of early novels became the familiar figures of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dracula, Dorian Grey and Jack the Ripper. After the death of Prince Albert (1861), the Gothic became darker, more morbid, obsessed with demonic lovers, blood sucking ghouls, blood stained murderers and deranged doctors. Whilst the gothic architecture of the Houses of Parliament and the new Puginesque churches upheld a Victorian ideal of sobriety, Christianity and imperial destiny, Gothic literature filed these new spaces with a dread that spread like a plague to America, France, Germany and even Russia. From 1830 to 1914, the period covered by this volume, we saw the emergence of the greats of Gothic literature and the supernatural from Edgar Allan Poe to Emily Brontë, from Sheridan Le Fanu to Bram Stoker and Robert Louis Stevenson. Contributors also examine the fin-de-siècle dreamers of decadence such as Arthur Machen, M P Shiel and Vernon Lee and their obsession with the occult, folklore, spiritualism, revenants, ghostly apparitions and cosmic annihilation. This volume explores the period through the prism of architectural history, urban studies, feminism, 'hauntology' and much more. 'Horror', as Poe teaches us, 'is the soul of the plot'.  

The book contains the chapter 'Challenging Genre Definitions in Jane Eyre' by Claire Bazin

Labelling Jane Eyre a gothic novel would be a historical mistake as the gothic trend predates the publication of the novel. Jane Eyre stands at the crossroads between the Gothic and realism in the transitional Victorian period. There is no denying however that Charlotte Brontë resorts to numerous gothic devices, be it in the description of the locations or in the delineation of some of the characters (the most obvious example being Bertha Rochester). This chapter focuses on the emblematic scenes in the book, such as the red room (where Jane has been locked up by her wicked aunt, Mrs Reed), which foreshadows the scene when Bertha produces a distorted grimace Jane cannot recognize, which in turn causes her to faint as though this were the only possible way for her to escape from an unbearable reality. The various houses are all under the yoke of the patriarchal law. Jane’s rebellion against her tyrannical cousin leads to her imprisonment in the red room. It is indeed the places, the houses, the rooms which serve their owners’ plots, themselves remodellled gothic villains who lock up their “disobedient” wives. Jane escapes all these various machinations to return like a gothic heroine waiting to be delivered by a brave gallant knight, but a knight now crippled and alone, a rethinking of older gothic heroism.


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