Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Tuesday, September 21, 2021 12:30 am by M. in , ,    3 comments
The new issue of Brontë Studies (Volume 46 Issue 4, September 2021) is already available online. We provide you with the table of contents and abstracts:
Editorial: Thank you, Amber Adams
pp. 329-330 Author:  Patsy Stoneman

Editorial: A New Chapter for Brontë Studies
pp.  331-332  Author: Rebecca Yorke

‘What the Thunder Said’: A Note on Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley and I Timothy 2. 11–14
pp. 333-341 Author: J. R. C. Cousland
Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley (1849) offers a revealing example of how she herself might interpret Scripture when she has her heroine Caroline Helstone offer an alternative reading of I Timothy 2. 11–14. Her reading is prescient in recognising the hermeneutical problems posed by the passage, but also reveals a deep-rooted dissatisfaction with the social structures that prohibit women from gaining the theological education afforded to men. Brontë’s innate conviction that women are also made in the imago dei is the propelling force in her willingness to question patriarchal narratives of Scripture.

Jane Eyre and Alexandre Dumas: a previously unknown play
pp.  342-356   Author: Patsy Stoneman & François Rahier
Among the many nineteenth-century stage versions of Jane Eyre, undoubtedly the most influential was The Orphan of Lowood by Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer. First written in German and performed in Vienna in 1853, this play was translated and performed all over Europe and America, its popularity partly due to its recasting of Rochester as a blameless philanthropic hero. The play generated its own adaptations, and among these is a previously unknown French play by Alexandre Dumas (père), written about 1858 but never performed and assumed lost until 2012. It has now been transcribed and edited by François Rahier as part of a multi-volume edition of Dumas’ theatrical works. The material on Dumas in this paper is based on François Rahier’s original research, which explains why Dumas’ play was not performed and how it was discovered after being thought lost. Comparing the Dumas play with the Birch-Pfeiffer original, and with an 1855 Belgian play which may have been an intermediate source, the paper demonstrates that Dumas greatly expands the Birch-Pfeiffer version, using material drawn directly from Charlotte Brontë’s novel, a revision which reverses Birch-Pfeiffer’s sanitization of the story. In conclusion, there is some evidence that Charlotte Brontë knew and approved of Dumas’ stage works, though she died before his Jane Eyre was drafted.

Promiscuity Instead of Inherited Insanity: Jane Eyre’s Bertha in Early Stage Adaptations
pp. 357-367  Author: Veronika Larsen
Although some criticism exists regarding Jane Eyre’s character on stage, early theatrical versions of Bertha’s character are largely unexamined. In this article I offer a twofold analysis of three stage scripts based on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847) (premiering in 1867, 1870, and 1877). I show how each play contains drastic plot changes that deemphasize Bertha’s madness in favour of rendering her a promiscuous deviant. Simultaneously, the scripts cleanse Rochester’s character of sexual and marital scandal. The emergent plot alterations ultimately polarize Bertha’s and Rochester’s moral profiles and reduce feminist aspects that we have come to associate with Charlotte Brontë’s original novel.

‘Happiness is not a potato’: Plant-Thinking in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette and The Professor
pp. 368-381 Author:  Sarah Yoon
This article explores the significance of plants and vegetal growth in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853) and its earlier draft The Professor (1857). While the pensionnat garden is a memorable space in Villette, plants also figure as a model of thought for Brontë to explore growth, regeneration, and heterogeneity in her novel. Thinking about plants allows Brontë to explore contradictions between life and death, difference and conjunction, emotional nourishment and material vulnerability. In particular, the plant highlights the susceptibility of life-forms to external conditions, at a time when Brontë was mourning the deaths of her brother and sisters. Through reading Villette alongside Michael Marder’s philosophical book Plant-Thinking (2013), this article traces how the plant allowed Brontë to imagine inner growth during a particularly lonely period.

Sepulchral Sensuality and Heretical Heavens in Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet
pp.  382-394 Author: Kathryn Colvin
Though the notion that comparisons might be drawn between Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) and William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1597) may seem readily apparent, surprisingly little academic inquiry has been conducted into the subject. This article surveys the many parallels between the two works, then explores in greater depth their similar presentations of the interplay between sexuality and death: the eroticized graves of Catherine and Juliet, Heathcliff and Romeo’s passionate exhumation attempts, and in both couples the conception of a transcendent alternative heaven figured in terms not of proximity to God, but to each other.

A Brontë Reading List: Part 13
pp.   395-413 Author: James Ogden, Peter Cook, and Sara L. Pearson 
This list is part of an annotated bibliography of scholarly and critical work. The earlier parts were published in Brontë Studies, 32.2 (July 2007), 33.3 (November 2008), 34.3 (November 2009), 36.4 (November 2011), 37.3 (September 2012), 39.1 (January 2014), 41.3 (September 2016), 42.4 (November 2017), 43.4 (October 2018), 44.3 (July 2019), 44.4 (October 2019), and 45.4 (October 2020).
The present part covers work published in 2018. Bibliographical details are followed where possible by summaries and assessments. Essays published in Brontë Studies are as a rule excluded, as are books reviewed in Brontë Studies; readers are directed to the publisher’s website, www.tandfonline.com, for online access. The author of each entry is indicated by the author’s initials in brackets following the entry.

Book Reviews

A Brontë Quiz Book
pp.  414 Author: Bob Duckett

‘Amid the Brave and Strong.’ The Life and Legacy of Anne Brontë
pp.  414-415 Author: Bob Duckett

House of Fiction: From Pemberley to Brideshead, Great Houses in English Literature
pp.  415-417 Author: Josephine Smith

Literature in Our Lives: Talking About Texts from Shakespeare to Philip Pullman
pp.  417-418 Author: Aparna Shastri

The Brontë Mysteries series by Bella Ellis
pp.  418-419 Author: Graham Watson

The Poems of Anne Brontë
pp.  419-421 Author: Adelle Hay

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Anne Brontë and 200 Artists

pp.  421-422  Author: Bob Duckett


  1. Just a note that the Bronte Reading List: Part 13 authors are James Ogden, Peter Cook, and Sara L. Pearson (Jian Choe is incorrectly listed as the author).