• Approaching Charlotte Brontë in the Twenty-First Century

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Wiley, 2017-12-12)
      This essay offers an overview of recent criticism in Charlotte Brontë studies. In the year of Brontë's bicentenary, it takes stock of some of the latest approaches and topics covered, including material culture, disability, screen and stage adaptations, sexuality, regional identity, education, trading networks, the periodical press, and the law. Although much of this new criticism contributes to a fresh understanding of Charlotte Brontë's work and legacy, Jane Eyre continues to dominate most critical discussions, and this essay calls for more attention to be paid to The Professor, Shirley, and Villette. It welcomes those historicist readings that continue the important work of contextualizing Brontë's oeuvre, a project that has transformed her from the reticent provincial writer of semi‐autobiographical fiction presented by early critics into a political and socially engaged
    • Charlotte Brontë and the Politics of Cloth: The ‘vile rumbling mills’ of Yorkshire

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2017-12-18)
      This essay examines Charlotte Brontë’s engagement with the textile industry from her earliest writings to her 1849 Condition of England novel Shirley in order to emphasise the role that Yorkshire and its staple industry played in her writing. Critics have discussed Brontë’s interest in textile production largely in relation to Shirley. However, her fascination with cloth manufacturing is evident in many of her Angrian tales and some of her unfinished novels. This essay argues that through her early representations of mills and mill owners Brontë formulated an understanding of political conflict and masculine power which helped to shape her mature writing. This culminates in Shirley with her critique of the taboo against educated women entering careers in trade and manufacturing.
    • Charlotte Brontë's Gothic Fragment: 'The Story of Willie Ellin'

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester
      Charlotte Brontë’s eighteen-page fragment, ‘The Story of Willie Ellin’, written shortly after the publication of Villette in 1853, combines the gothic and realism and uses multiple narrators to tell a disturbing story of cruelty towards a child. The generic instability and disordered temporal framework of this fragment make it unlike anything Brontë had previously written, yet it has attracted the attention of few scholars. Those who have discussed it have condemned it as a failure; the later fragment ‘Emma’, also left incomplete by the author’s premature death, has been seen as the more likely beginning of a successor to Villette. ‘The Story of Willie Ellin’ reveals Brontë at her most experimental as she explores the use of different narrative voices, including that of an unnamed genderless ‘ghost’, to tell a story from different perspectives. It also shows Brontë representing a child’s experience of extreme physical abuse which goes far beyond the depictions of chastisement in Jane Eyre (1847). This essay argues that ‘The Story of Willie Ellin’ affords rich insights into Brontë’s ideas and working practices in her final years, suggesting that it should be more widely acknowledged as a unique aspect of Brontë’s oeuvre, revealing the new directions she may have taken had she lived to complete another novel.
    • Charlotte Brontë: Legacies and Afterlives

      Wynne, Deborah; Regis, Amber K.; University of Chester; University of Sheffield (Manchester University Press, 2019-05-01)
      This edited collection offers a timely reflection on Charlotte Brontë's life and work in the context of the bicentenary of her birth in 2016. Brontë's legacy continues to evolve and the new essays in this volume, covering the period from her first publication to the present day, explain why she has remained at the forefront of global literary cultures. Taking a fresh look at over 150 years of engagement with one of the best-loved novelists of the Victorian period, the volume examines areas such as genre, narrative style, national and regional identities, sexuality, literary tourism, adaptation theories, cultural studies, postcolonial and transnational readings. The contributors to this volume offer innovative interpretations of the rich variety of afterlives enjoyed by characters such as Jane Eyre and Rochester in neo-Victorian fiction, cinema and television, on the stage and on the web. Bringing the story of Charlotte's legacy up to date, the essays analyse obituaries, vlogs, stage and screen adaptations, fan fiction and erotic makeovers, showing that Charlotte Brontë's influence has been manifold and an enduring feature of the feminist movement.
    • Charlotte Brontë’s Frocks and Shirley’s Queer Textiles

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Ashgate, 2013-04-23)
      This chapter discusses the role of textiles and fashion in Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Shirley (1849). It argues that Brontë uses sewing and fashion as a way of representing female bonds. This is contrasted with her representations of the 'male' world of the mill-owner.
    • 'The "Charlotte" Cult: Writing the Literary Pilgrimage from Gaskell to Woolf

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Manchester University Press, 2017-07-24)
      This chapter analyses how writers and literary tourists imagined Charlotte Brontë during the fifty years after her death. It is framed by the accounts of Elizabeth Gaskell and Virginia Woolf, both of whom travelled to Yorkshire to find evidence of Charlotte Brontë’s life and to assess her legacy as an author. While Gaskell's biography unleashed the 'Charlotte cult' of devoted followers, Woolf questioned the value of the literary pilgrimage and the myths of authorship surrounding Charlotte Brontë’s legacy.
    • Introduction: Picturing Charlotte Brontë

      Wynne, Deborah; Regis, Amber K.; University of Chester, University of Sheffield (Manchester University Press, 2017-07-24)
      The chapter introduces the edited volume of essays and engages with how Charlotte Brontë's image in the twenty-first century.
    • Narrating the Victorian vagina: Charlotte Bronte and the masturbating woman

      Rees, Emma L. E.; University of Chester (Liverpool University Press, 2012-07-31)
      The Female Body in Medicine and Literature features essays that explore literary texts in relation to the history of gynaecology and women's surgery. Gender studies and feminist approaches to literature have become busy and enlightening fields of enquiry in recent times, yet there remains no single work that fully analyses the impact of women's surgery on literary production or, conversely, ways in which literary trends have shaped the course of gynaecology and other branches of women's medicine. This book will demonstrate how fiction and medicine have a long-established tradition of looking towards each other for inspiration and elucidation in questions of gender. Medical textbooks and pamphlets have consistently cited fictional plots and characterisations as a way of communicating complex or 'sensitive' ideas. Essays explore historical accounts of clinical procedures, the relationship between gynaecology and psychology, and cultural conceptions of motherhood, fertility, and the female organisation through a broad range of texts including Henry More's Pre-Existency of the Soul (1659), Charlotte Bronte's Villette (1855), and Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues (1998). The Female Body in Medicine and Literature raises important theoretical questions on the relationship between popular culture, literature, and the growth of women's medicine and will be required reading for scholars in gender studies, literary studies and the history of medicine. This collection explores the complex intersections between literature and the medical treatment of women between 1600 and 2000. Employing a range of methodologies, it furthers our understanding of the development of women's medicine and comments on its wider cultural ramifications. Although there has been an increase in critical studies of women's medicine in recent years, this collection is a key contributor to that field because it draws together essays on a wide range of new topics from varying disciplines. It features, for instance, studies of motherhood, fertility, clinical procedure, and the relationship between gynaecology and psychology. Besides offering essays on subjects that have received a lack of critical attention, the essays presented here are truly interdisciplinary; they explore the complex links between gynaecology, art, language, and philosophy, and underscore how popular art forms have served an important function in the formation of 'women's science' prior to the twenty-first century. This book also demonstrates how a number of high-profile controversies were taken up and reworked by novelists, philosophers, and historians. Focusing on the vexed and convoluted story of women's medicine, this volume offers new ways of thinking about gender, science, and the Western imagination. This chapter is an essay on Villette read through a gynaecological lens.