Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 12:30 am by M. in , ,    No comments

A new (and quite a revisionist one, pejorative mode on) scholar Brontë-related paper:

"I'll Try Violence": Patterns of Domestic Abuse in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847)
Jessica Cox
Women's Writing, DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2021.1883236
Published online: 08 Feb 2021

Recent years have seen a significant revision and expansion of legal definitions of domestic abuse – in particular the inclusion of forms of abuse beyond physical and sexual violence. Coercive control was criminalised in 2015, and the Domestic Abuse bill, currently passing through parliament, further seeks to expand definitions of controlling behaviour. In a recent study published in the journal Violence Against Women, criminologist Jane Monckton-Smith examines 372 murder cases in which the (female) victim had had a relationship with the perpetrator, and identifies an “eight stage relationship progression to homicide”, which includes forms of coercive control. This article reads the relationship between Jane and Rochester in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847) through the lens of these eight stages, and offers a reassessment of the novel as a domestic abuse narrative. I argue that Rochester clearly follows the pattern identified by Monckton-Smith in his relationships with Jane, Céline Varens, and especially Bertha, and examine the implications of this for both his victims and our understanding of the novel.

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