More new Brontë-related papers just published:
“I wish I could annihilate it from the face of the earth”: Property Law, Bodies, and Acts of Marking in Wuthering Heights
Katherine Anne Gilbert
Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature
Number 131 (Summer 2017) pp. 68-81
This article brings together property law and bodies through the concept of marking. Patterns in the language of marking—of land, by engraving, writing, and through violence—draw our attention to the ways in which bodies, objects, and land become interchangeable in Wuthering Heights. Such patterns are read here within the context of property laws, inheritance laws, and laws regarding suicides. These parallel markings—of bodies and property—in the novel, prods us to think not only about feudalism and the human risks of a rising capitalism, but also the boundaries around legal constructs of person and object. Brontë’s critique of systems that confuse people and property is revealed in characters’ intertwined impulses to create and destroy, most notably demonstrated by Heathcliff and Catherine. Their desire to fuse with others, through the process of making a mark, is driven by a desire for recognition and self-determination, but also for erasure, or, as Heathcliff suggests during his final decline, annihilation. Thus marking is both an act that claims, produces, and obliterates, often in the same moment. Heathcliff ’s last act, paired with the disfiguring of the Heights’s garden by young Catherine and Hareton, suggests that systems based on patriarchy and feudal property laws are not healthy or satisfying for anybody, not even the patriarchs themselves.
A love that never changes: Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
by Chaitanya Gadhiraju and L Manjula Davidson
International Journal of English Research
Volume 3; Issue 2; March 2017; Page No. 101-103
Emily Brontë, the nineteenth century writer penned her one and only novel, Wuthering Heights in the year 1847. The novel delineates the trials and tribulations of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a couple whose love story becomes the focus of the entire novel. However, the love that they share does not seem very healthy and borders on obsession as far as Heathcliff is concerned. Though Catherine too shares the same viewpoint, the fact that she manages to keep her emotions in check adds a modicum of sanity to the narrative. The name of the title comes from the manor that Catherine and Heathcliff grow up in. The love that Catherine and Heathcliff, share transcends the rigid class boundaries that existed in England during the nineteenth century. However, one needs to understand that the love that these two characters share ends not in gratification but in deprivation. It is the destructiveness of their love that moves the plot forward. Brontë’s life too was equally troubled, which might explain her pessimistic approach to the narrative in Wuthering Heights
Spectral Narration and the Houses of Desire in Charlotte Brontë's Villette
Volume 44, Number 3, Summer 2017 pp. 315-343
The narrative complexities of Villette derive from the positing of Lucy as a ghost that hovers between absence and presence, interiority and exteriority, private and public. The claim that Lucy is a ghost projects a somewhat different light on the novel which may then be viewed as the spectral narration of a spectral quest for a spectral identity, and this insistent aspect of spectrality, which is frequently encountered in the novel's resourceful use of gothic elements, must be thought to problematize any notion of narration, quest, or identity that grounds itself on presence. Being uprooted from her native environment, in which she seems hardly ever to have taken root, Lucy often seems to stick vehemently to her Protestantism, defending it against the incursions of the Catholic environment in which she lives and works. But this is ultimately a surface opposition which has more to do with the public performance of identity and which is largely at odds with the much more fluid field of identity determined by processes of varying and unstable identifications and speculations, in which Lucy enters as a speculating and spying ghost. What underlies the surface opposition between Catholicism and Protestantism are the various desires and fears that Lucy experiences in the project of finding a home for her own ghostly self. Therefore, the question of Lucy's national or religious identity in Villette must be understood as her ghostly quest to find an adequate home or haunt.