• 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
    • Arnold Bennett and Material Culture

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Churnet Valley Books, 2015-04-20)
      This essay explores Arnold Bennett's engagement with material culture, from the ceramics produced by the pottery industry to the textiles used in domestic life. It argues that Bennett developed a 'romance of material culture' in his novels and short stories.
    • 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
      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.
    • Circulation and Stasis: Feminine Property in the Novels of Charles Dickens

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Ashgate, 2012-07-16)
      This chapter explores the figure of Miss Havisham, and other female characters, in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations (1860). It argues that the novel's exploration of portable property, usually discussed in terms of Wemmick, is particularly focused on the museal qualities of Miss Havisham's Satis House and the objects it contains.
    • Critical Responses to Sensation

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Blackwell, 2011-07-01)
      This chapter discusses the reception of the 1860s sensation novel in the Victorian period, and charts the critical responses to the genre throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
    • The ‘despised trade’ in textiles: H. G. Wells, William Paine, Charles Cavers and the male draper’s life, 1870–1914

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Maney, 2015-04-28)
      This essay examines the situation of the male draper in terms of his relationships to textiles and female customers between the 1870s and the outbreak of the First World War. Drawing on accounts of shop work produced by men employed as drapers and drapers’ assistants, the essay highlights the ridicule levelled against men who sold textiles, their work with fabrics and clothing, as well as the service they provided for an almost exclusively female clientele, being widely derided as unsuitable labour for a man. One draper recorded that his was ‘a despised trade’. Through an analysis of three first-hand accounts of the draper’s lot the essay raises questions about social constructions of masculinity in relation to representations of shop work and the handling of fabrics. The essay focuses on H. G. Wells’s descriptions of his teenage years as a draper’s apprentice recorded in his Experiment in Autobiography (1934); William Paine’s political treatise, Shop Slavery and Emancipation (1912), based on the injustices he experienced as a draper’s assistant; and the diary of a Bond Street draper, Charles Cavers, posthumously published as Hades! The Ladies! Being Extracts from the Diary of a Draper (1933).
    • ‘Equivocal Objects: The Problems of Property in Daniel Deronda’

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Open Library of Humanities, 2008-04-01)
      Written between the passing of the first Married Women's Property Act in 1870 and the second Act of 1882, Eliot's final novel, Daniel Deronda (1876), offers a powerful depiction of the social and legal disabilities faced by women. Her representations of objects and objectification centre on the concept of property, not only portable property such as jewellery and clothing, but also the idea of women themselves as property to be exchanged within the Victorian social system. This essay suggests that Eliot's awareness of the anomalies of the law and the equivocal positions held by women in terms of property ownership informs her depictions of the things women possess, and the sorts of meanings generated by objects. The essay argues that in Daniel Deronda Eliot offers a powerful critique of women's exclusion from the patriarchal processes of primogeniture, and that her ironic use of terms such as 'own' and 'self-possession' in relation to her female characters helps to emphasise her need to move beyond the heroine who renounces the things of this world.
    • Hysteria repeating itself: Elizabeth Gaskell's Lois the witch

      Wynne, Deborah; University College Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2006-12-20)
      This article discusses Lois the witch, (Elizabeth Gaskell's fictional representation of the Salem witch trials) which was first published serially in Dickens's All The Year Round in 1859. This serialisation led to numerous conservative accounts in the periodical press of the role of the hysterical woman throughout history. In Lois, however, with its representation of mass hysteria, Gaskell refutes the widespread Victorian belief that hysteria is 'natural' for women - a symptom of their vulnerable bodies and minds.
    • 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.
    • Material Culture

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2017-11-29)
      An annotated bibliography evaluating publications and online resources relating to Victorian material culture.
    • The materialisation of the 'Austen World': Film adaptations of Jane Austen's novels

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Chester Academic Press, 2009-08-22)
      This chapter considers the transformation of Jane Austin's novels to film adaptations. It examines the power and limitations of film in matching the descriptive nature of the novel.
    • Miss Havisham’s dress: Materialising Dickens in film adaptations of Great Expectations

      Regis, Amber K.; Wynne, Deborah; University of Sheffield ; University of Chester (2012-12)
      This essay focuses on the neo-Victorian materialisation of Dickens’s vision through the costuming of the Miss Havisham figure in three film adaptations of Great Expectations: David Lean’s Great Expectations (1946), Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950), and Alfonso Cuarón’s Great Expectations (1998), a modern updating. The distinct film language which emerges from the costume designs in each of these films enables cinema audiences to re-read and re-imagine the novel’s portrayal of perverse and uncanny femininity. As a result, the disturbing and enduring ambiguity of Havisham’s clothing establishes her as a figure of resistance to modernity, and as an embodiment of decline, signalling youth and age by means of a robe which is at once wedding gown, unfashionable garment and shroud.
    • The New Woman, Portable Property and The Spoils of Poynton

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010)
      This article discusses Henry James's engagement with the New Woman in his novel, The Spoils of Poynton
    • Readers and Reading Practices

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2011-11-03)
      This chapter discusses ways of reading and publishing in the early to mid nineteenth century.
    • Reading Victorian rags: Recycling, redemption, and Dickens's ragged children

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2014-12-24)
      In Victorian Britain rags were not only associated with the inadequate clothing of the poor, they were also viewed as a valuable commodity, widely collected for recycling into paper. This essay examines rags as simultaneously despised and precious objects, tracing the connections between Victorian accounts of poverty, the industrial recycling of rags into paper, and the redemption narratives created by Charles Dickens about rescued children. A supporter of Ragged Schools and champion of rags recycling, Dickens drew on the idea of the transformation of dirty rags into clean paper in his representations of ragged children. To him, the recycling of rags indicated the civilizing forces of modernity, and reading Dickens's representations of ragged children in this context reveals how cloth recycling became a paradigm for society's duties towards destitute children. This essay explains Dickens's juxtaposition of ragged children with references to rag-dealing in his novels; by this means he suggested that street children, like their ragged clothing, were capable of being purified and transformed into social usefulness.
    • Responses to the 1851 Great Exhibition in Household Words

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (The Dickens Fellowship, 2002)
      This article examines the ways in which the Great Exhibition of 1851 was discussed in Dickens's newly-formed magazine, Household Words.