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Charlotte Bronte and Victorian Psychology

Overview

This ground-breaking study successfully challenges the traditional tendency to regard Charlotte Brontë as having existed in a historical vacuum. Using texts ranging from local newspapers to medical tomes belonging to the Brontës, Sally Shuttleworth explores Victorian constructions of psychology, sexuality and insanity, and traces the ways in which Charlotte Brontë's texts operate in relation to this complex framework. Shuttleworth offers a reading of Brontë's fiction informed by a new understanding of the ...

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Overview

This ground-breaking study successfully challenges the traditional tendency to regard Charlotte Brontë as having existed in a historical vacuum. Using texts ranging from local newspapers to medical tomes belonging to the Brontës, Sally Shuttleworth explores Victorian constructions of psychology, sexuality and insanity, and traces the ways in which Charlotte Brontë's texts operate in relation to this complex framework. Shuttleworth offers a reading of Brontë's fiction informed by a new understanding of the psychological debates of her time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Shuttleworth constructs compelling links among medical, psychological, and literary discourses in mid-Victorian Britain. Carolyn Dever, Albion

"This remarkable survey of the gendered history of botany combines fascinating accounts of individual women's works and lives with a study of changes in the literature of science. ...Shuttleworth's...admirable research in Victorian psychologies demonstrates a critical practice that, implicitly critiquing cultural studies, restores a much-needed specificity to historicizing discourse about the Victorian novel." Dianne F. Sadoff, Victorian Studies

"...sound methodology, accesible structure, deft, thoughtful prose, and critical acumen, making it a model for interdisciplinary nineteenth-century scholarship. Schuttleworth's thoughtful analysis of extensive research in nineteenth-century psychological and medical texts illuminates the literary imagination of Charlotte Bronte...Shuttleworth sheds new light on texts...[she] offers us a more complete and knowledgeable way to understand Bronte's art by understanding the psychological assumptions that inform her depiction of character...Charlotte Bronte and Victorian Psychology is important reading for Bronte scholars, but also for those interested in Victorian medical science...this well-researched, cogently argued book is a substantial contribution to nineteenth-century studies who insights will interest and engage a wide range of fellow scholars." Nineteenth-Century Contexts

"There is a great deal of fine, truly historical work here and also attractive fictions of interpretation of history and Brontë's work, all also displaying a very creative and original mind." John Maynard, Nineteenth-Century Literature

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. Psychological Discourse in the Victorian Era: 1. The art of surveillance; 2. The Haworth context; 3. Insanity and selfhood; 4. Reading the mind: physiognomy and phrenology; 5. The female bodily economy; Part II. Charlotte Brontës Fiction: 6. The early writings: penetrating power; 7. The Professor: 'the art of self-control'; 8. Jane Eyre: 'lurid hieroglyphics'; 9. Shirley: bodies and markets; 10. Villette: 'the surveillance of a sleepless eye'; Conclusion; Notes; Index.

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