Virginia Woolf, in A Room of One's Own, chastises Charlotte Brontë for allowing her anger to well up to the surface of Jane Eyre. In this course, we will examine the thread of radical outrage that weaves through three of the sisters' novels. In the guise of marriage plot novels, the Brontës published cris de coeurs against the sexual double standard, the burden of unwanted reproduction on women, labor inequity, and domestic violence. Using readily available online resources such as contemporary reviews, publication ephemera, and historical and biographical material, we will discuss how to help students recontextualize Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as literary experiments and social justice crusades rather than sedate, school-friendly romances.
Please note that attendance in all scheduled seminar sessions is required for full CPDU credit.