The Brontës: Fall 2020 Dashboard



Painting of the sisters by Branwell, ca. 1834

A madwoman in the attic, impassioned love, and a mysterious/abusive past.  Such sensational themes may seem ripped from today’s social media, but, in fact, they are the defining elements of the novels of the Brontë sisters. We will adopt new historicist and gender studies approaches to study arguably the greatest English literary family of the nineteenth century. Readings include Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) as well as poetry by the three sisters and their brother, Branwell. From our study of biography, we will distinguish between Brontëan myths and biographical facts and question why their lives are retold collectively, their works read as a literary canon. Attention will be given to annotation of a Brontë text on The Central Online Victorian Educator (COVE) as well as how illustrators, directors, and actors have visually rendered the novels or recreated them for the big screen. Course work includes 2 papers, the COVE annotation project on Jane Eyre, and an oral presentation (with a PowerPoint) on aspects of Victorian life that inform the Brontë novels; we will conclude with a mini presentation on objects that inform the life of the sisters and their novels. Your regular attendance and participation are essential. The best class discussion occurs when your participation responds thoughtfully to the comments of your peers and moves our discussion deeper into the texts, opening up important, new directions.

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The link above will allow you to move directly to the Anthology of the Brontes' writing.