Convenor: Dr Julian North
Course code: EN7128
This module offers you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the fiction of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë. You will extend your knowledge and understanding of the Brontës by thinking about their work analytically and critically in relation to the literary and historical contexts within which the sisters wrote and were received. You will be encouraged to pay attention to the differences between their writing as well as to their common ground, and to situate the novels in relation to women’s fiction at the period, issues of genre (e.g. gothic and realism) and thematic issues such as marriage, gender and sexuality, education, work and religion. We will also consider the power of the ‘Brontë myth’ in relation to biography, the heritage industry and criticism of the novels.
In the seminars we will focus our discussion on Jane Eyre, Shirley, Villette, Wuthering Heights and the Tenant of Wildfell Hall. There will also be opportunities to talk about the Brontë juvenilia and any other aspect of the Brontës’ work (e.g. the poetry) that you are interested in.
One 4,000-word essay. Suggested essay questions will be handed out at the beginning of the module. In the essay you will be able to focus on the area of the Brontës’ work that most appeals to you, with detailed commentary on a minimum of two works of fiction. In addition you will have the opportunity to give an unassessed seminar presentation, which may, if you wish, be developed within your assessed essay. Towards the end of the course, I will offer an additional 20 minute, one-to one meeting with each student to help with the essay, and will be available for consultation by email after the module has ended, when you are writing your essay.