Title“These articles of furniture could not be real…they must be ghosts of such articles”
NameGibbs, Jamie M. (Jamie Marie) (author), Fiske, Dr. Shanyn (chair), Ledoux, Dr. Ellen (co-chair), Sill, Dr. Geoffrey (internal member), Rutgers University, Camden Graduate School,
Gothic fiction (Literary genre),
Brontë, Charlotte, 1816-1855--Criticism and interpretation,
Brontë, Charlotte, 1816-1855.--Villette.
DescriptionCanonized as a Gothic writer primarily for her novel Jane Eyre (1847), Charlotte Brontë‟s role within the Gothic tradition has been seen by some critics to be an unsuccessful venture and by others to be an attempt to defend the Racliffean school of Gothic literature from critics, such as Jane Austen. However, through tracing the progression of Brontë‟s Gothic through The Professor (1857) and Jane Eyre to Brontë‟s last completed novel, Villette (1853), this essay argues that Brontë goes beyond simply using the standard tropes of the Gothic tradition and, instead, expands upon an already present material element in the tradition to reflect the cultural environment that her novels are written in—in a word, a material Gothic. Through her novels, Brontë develops a material Gothic in which items are inscribed with meaning and relationships are mediated through these items. By the time Villette is published, the value placed on this system of inscription is so great that the Gothic happy-ending experienced by Frances and Jane is not a feasible option for Lucy Snowe. When capitalistic motives interfere in the heroine‟s Gothic tale and are the catalyst for a catastrophic loss, such as the presumed death of Paul Emmanuel, the heroine is left with empty placeholders. Because the meaning of these objects has been eliminated, they cannot serve as an adequate substitute for the satisfying relationship the heroine was supposed to have with her Gothic hero-villain.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Jamie M. Gibbs
CollectionCamden Graduate School Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.