Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 1:16 am by M. in , ,    No comments
The new issue of Brontë Studies (Volume 46 Issue 2, April 2021) is already available online. We provide you with the table of contents and abstracts:
The Brontës: Sickness, Contagion, Isolation

pp.  97-101 Author:  Waugh, Jo

Salvation in the Cesspit: The Brontës, Sanitary Science and Redemptive Contagion
pp.  102-117  Author: Nixon, Kari
This article argues that Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë were well apprised of the sanitary science of their day and incorporated it into their fiction through the ethical models they derived by drawing on this science. Using the Babbage report as an entry point for exploring the world views that characterised both Haworth and London at the time, this article explores one novel by each sister. Ultimately, the essay demonstrates that in a world which Chadwickian sanitary science revealed as horrifically interconnected via contamination, the Brontë sisters repurposed this epistemology to demonstrate instead a world also uniquely structured to help empower one another through this self-same interconnectedness.

Illness and the Asiatic Cholera in the Lives and Works of the Brontë Family
pp. 118-131 Author: Babson Bittle Eubanks, Elizabeth
The Brontё family experienced much illness, both within and without their family. Disease in the nineteenth century was omnipresent. In 1831, a new threat appeared throughout the world — Asiatic Cholera. As the world in 2020 has been severely affected and constrained by the Coronavirus, our work and personal lives have changed drastically. What impact might the Asiatic Cholera, similarly swift in its devastation as the Coronavirus, have had on the lives and works of the Brontёs? The equation of unclean living with cholera made Haworth a dangerous setting for everyone.

Emily Brontë and the Strategic Art of Social Distancing
pp.  132-145   Author: Blowfield, Christine
Emily Brontë was famously reclusive. In the eighteen months she spent away from home during her short life she was deeply unhappy, and at Roe Head and Law Hill she was distressed enough to become physically ill. Whilst Emily’s ‘social distancing’ was her own decision as opposed to one imposed by government, there are intriguing parallels between her seclusion and our own experience of enforced isolation almost two hundred years later. Through close analysis of her work, this article discusses how unrelenting exposure to death, destruction and disease challenged Brontë’s thinking and attitudes, relating these to our current experience of living and dying during a pandemic. It will suggest that themes of disease, destruction and death resonate throughout her writing to a much greater extent than has been previously acknowledged.

‘After the manner of Jael and Sisera’: Transforming Violence and Mental Pain in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette
pp. 146-158  Author: Franklin, Sophie
This article explores the transformation of violence in religiously inflected representations of mental pain in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853). Through the appropriation of the Old Testament narrative of Jael and Sisera (Judges 4), Brontë presents vivid, embodied re-enactments of Lucy Snowe’s psychological suffering and self-harm. These representations of self-inflicted pain provide a complex picture of literary violence as transformational. In the process of examining such transformation, this article engages with critical debates and shifting perceptions surrounding issues of pain, materialism and faith in the mid-nineteenth century, while also intersecting with ongoing conversations around matters of mental health. Villette narrates mental pain, transforming seemingly invisible experiences of suffering into witnessable and enduring testimonies of survival.

Stretched Nerves and Suffering Minds: The Isolating Effects of Female Madness in Villette
pp. 159-171 Author:  Bury, Hannah
This article analyses the symbiotic relationship between Lucy Snowe’s madness and isolation in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853). I argue that madness enhances isolation, and isolation enhances madness, through an exploration of Lucy’s solitude. In the novel, Lucy endures enforced isolation as a treatment for madness, while she chooses other voluntary forms of isolation, such as the natural world, as a respite from social pressures. Through her relationships with Dr John and M. Paul, Lucy is observed by the male gaze, which is used to police her madness and impose gender conformity. By re-examining madness in line with approaches from Mad Studies as a unique identity rather than a classifiable mental illness, this article explores how thematic overlaps between Lucy’s isolation and the current crisis can be realised through the text.

‘Her pain [was] my suffering – her relief, my hope’: Illness, Empathy and the Ethics of Care in Villette
pp.  172-182 Author: Choe, Jian
This article considers the practice of care and the ethics embedded therein as represented in Villette, focusing on Lucy Snowe’s caring relationship with Miss Marchmont. The episode presents a remarkable narrative of suffering, healing and redemption in which the human experience of caring and being cared for is highlighted. Care, intrinsically relational, involves a complex cognitive, affective and moral interplay between two parties. It sustains the carer as well as the one cared for. The heroine’s caring practice, rooted in empathy, receptivity and relatedness, ultimately rehabilitates her own traumatised self. In the fullness of the relationship, both change and achieve a new identity. Here, care is envisioned as an existential affair through which we realise our humanity to the full extent. The novel, written amidst the author’s own suffering, illuminates the point that the ethics of care could inspire, sustain and redeem us at the time of illness and vulnerability.

Constructions of Caregiving in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette
pp.  183-196 Author: Starkowski, Kristen H.
This article revisits Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853) in light of current debates surrounding illness and caregiving by asking: how can feminist ethics of care illuminate the place of characters with disabilities within cultures of self-reliance and self-sufficiency? By drawing on critical care ethics, I argue that caregiving communities engage more central characters into the peripheral narrative spaces inhabited by disabled minor characters like Miss Marchmont and Marie Broc. These are characters who, because of their disabilities, forge very few connections with others in the novel. In contrast, the networks of care that develop around characters with illnesses are extensive, involving friends, family, servants, strangers and medical professionals. By establishing a contrast between the experiences of illness and disability in Villette based on the research on care webs outlined in Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s Care Work (2018), I sketch the pre-history of caregiving practices since the mid-nineteenth century in Britain. I argue that Brontë’s representations of the ‘care web’ and the ‘care dyad’ highlight the need for ethics of radical care as they exist today.

Catherine Earnshaw Meets Katherine Lester: Revisioning the Brontë Body by Sustaining the Self in William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth (2016)
pp.  197-209 Author: Bernabeu, Marta
William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth (2016) presents a recognisable Brontëan cinematic language that invites comparison between its protagonist, Katherine Lester, and Emily Brontë’s Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights (1847). Whilst Earnshaw’s self-deprivation mirrors her struggle for a disembodied self that transcends her gendered body, Oldroyd’s Katherine uses her appetite to colonise her household and preserve herself. These attempts at grasping agency in order to sustain the self are ignited by their necessity to palliate what they perceive as sickly bodies, tainted by gender and class: one in detriment to the body, and the other in its favour. In envisioning Katherine Lester as Catherine Earnshaw’s neo-Victorian double, this article sets out to revision the second’s diseased body as a politicizing force that disrupts the dynamics of power in Wuthering Heights through the commentary that Katherine’s own process of sustenance provides on the Brontë body.

The Brontës and Tuberculosis Immunity
pp.  210-222 Author: Langan, Emma I.
Tuberculosis killed five of the Brontë siblings, and yet neither Patrick nor Charlotte Brontë succumbed to it. Was this simply a matter of luck, or had Charlotte and her father developed immunity to the infectious, and frequently fatal, disease? By examining their lives and backgrounds we will determine whether tuberculosis immunity is likely to be the reason that Patrick and Charlotte Brontë escaped the consumption which decimated their family. We will also examine the portrayal of tuberculosis within the Brontë writing and see how this compared to their real life experiences. It will also be seen that whilst the threat of tuberculosis was central to the Brontë story in the nineteenth century, it also contains similarities to the Covid-19 threat which is transforming the world today.

Statement of Retraction: Female Education as a Theme in the Novels of Charlotte Brontë
pp. 223 


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