Body, Place and History in the Brontës' Life and Art

Friday 02 October, 2015
4pm, $0

CUNY Center for the Humanities
365 Fifth Avenue, Room 4406

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A talk by Deborah Denenholz Morse
The Brontë bicentenaries begin with Charlotte’s in 2016 and continue through Emily’s in 2018 and Anne’s in 2020.  In 2011, in the run-up to these celebrations, The Guardian documented what they termed “the rise and rise of Brontëmania” among common readers.  Brontë scholars too have responded evocatively to the bicentenaries, as they write a plethora of new essays documenting the Brontë sisters’ lives and discovering new elements in their art.  Research into Charlotte’s, Emily’s, and Anne’s engagement with the urgent social issues of their time has brought new readings of their Irish, Cornish, and Yorkshire roots as well as their feminist and abolitionist stances.  Representations of the gendered, erotic, and diseased body have also elicited new critical attention.  Material culture studies focus not only upon the significance of objects in the Brontës’ fiction, but also upon real Brontë artifacts.  The burgeoning field of Animal Studies has led to some of the most fascinating new work on the Brontës, from analyses of Brontëan dogs to examinations of the Brontës’ responses to the animal rights movement and to Darwin.  There are also numerous theoretical readings of Brontëan time and space in the novels, as well as explorations of intertextuality.  Finally, Neo-Victorian texts that reimagine the Brontës’ lives and writings now have their own emerging body of scholarship.

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