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ENGLISH 26Q: The Bront√ęs: a Victorian Family and its Marvelous Daughters

Isolated in the moorlands of Yorkshire and raised in evangelical strictness by an eccentric father, the Brontë children imagined stories of personal power and political intrigue, based on the news they read. The eldest of the three sisters, Charlotte, grew up to become a major novelist of the Victorian age. Her younger sister, Emily, became a poet and a novelist of wild genius. The youngest sister, Anne, wrote two arresting novels before her early death. The lone brother, Branwell, squandered his talents -- and much of the family's money -- before his death at thirty-one. In 1847, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Emily Brontë's Withering Heights, and Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey surprised literary London, and voiced an angry, sensual, urgent response to the Victorians' nagging "Woman Question." These eccentric novels register the tedium, the aspirations, and the frustrations of these gifted women. We will consider historical, cultural, and biographical questions, as we study these early novels, the children's juvenilia, and a representative later work. Each student will have the chance to investigate one of these women more deeply, and share their discoveries with the the seminar.
Terms: Win | Units: 3
Instructors: Paulson, L. (PI)
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