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‘Horror and disgust’ : Reading the Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Thormählen, Marianne LU (2019) In Bronte Studies 44(1). p.5-19
Abstract

This article started out as a keynote lecture at the ‘Coarseness of the Brontës: A Reappraisal’ conference in Durham on 10-11 August 2017. It raises issues in which the ‘coarseness’ of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) - its most striking characteristic, according to censorious 1848 reviewers - is a central element. These issues include the violent Hattersley marriage, the manifestations of physical desire (especially in women), profane language and the assault perpetrated by the book’s ‘hero’. Arguing that The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a mature work of art and no moralizing tract, the article looks at the novel’s relationship with contemporaneous didactic fiction, especially temperance fiction. In addition to examining factors that... (More)

This article started out as a keynote lecture at the ‘Coarseness of the Brontës: A Reappraisal’ conference in Durham on 10-11 August 2017. It raises issues in which the ‘coarseness’ of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) - its most striking characteristic, according to censorious 1848 reviewers - is a central element. These issues include the violent Hattersley marriage, the manifestations of physical desire (especially in women), profane language and the assault perpetrated by the book’s ‘hero’. Arguing that The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a mature work of art and no moralizing tract, the article looks at the novel’s relationship with contemporaneous didactic fiction, especially temperance fiction. In addition to examining factors that appalled mid-nineteenth-century readers, it suggests reasons why modern readers may be shocked by aspects of this powerful novel which are not on record as upsetting people in 1848.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Anne Brontë, Didactic fiction, Profanity in literature, Sarah Ellis, Temperance fiction, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Violence in literature
in
Bronte Studies
volume
44
issue
1
pages
15 pages
publisher
The Brontë Society
external identifiers
  • scopus:85058848641
ISSN
1474-8932
DOI
10.1080/14748932.2019.1525872
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a5397214-76b0-488f-b3c5-76620bc27a8d
date added to LUP
2019-01-02 13:18:11
date last changed
2019-02-20 11:41:15
@article{a5397214-76b0-488f-b3c5-76620bc27a8d,
  abstract     = {<p>This article started out as a keynote lecture at the ‘Coarseness of the Brontës: A Reappraisal’ conference in Durham on 10-11 August 2017. It raises issues in which the ‘coarseness’ of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) - its most striking characteristic, according to censorious 1848 reviewers - is a central element. These issues include the violent Hattersley marriage, the manifestations of physical desire (especially in women), profane language and the assault perpetrated by the book’s ‘hero’. Arguing that The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a mature work of art and no moralizing tract, the article looks at the novel’s relationship with contemporaneous didactic fiction, especially temperance fiction. In addition to examining factors that appalled mid-nineteenth-century readers, it suggests reasons why modern readers may be shocked by aspects of this powerful novel which are not on record as upsetting people in 1848.</p>},
  author       = {Thormählen, Marianne},
  issn         = {1474-8932},
  keyword      = {Anne Brontë,Didactic fiction,Profanity in literature,Sarah Ellis,Temperance fiction,The Tenant of Wildfell Hall,Violence in literature},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {5--19},
  publisher    = {The Brontë Society},
  series       = {Bronte Studies},
  title        = {‘Horror and disgust’ : Reading the Tenant of Wildfell Hall},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14748932.2019.1525872},
  volume       = {44},
  year         = {2019},
}