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Title: Subjectivity and haunting in the fiction of Charlotte Bronte
Author: Sidhu, Amrita Kaur.
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis offers an exploration of subjectivity in the work of Charlotte Bronte, and conceives of her unique subjective voice in terms of the ghostly. This particular vision of subjectivity is characterized by certain moments of intensity in the fiction, in which very powerful emotions such as grief and loss are figured as a type of psychical haunting. It therefore seeks a new understanding of self-representation in Bronte's first-person novels, through a poetics of haunting and spectrality. These moments of psychic intensity will be analysed partly through the use of certain key psychoanalytic models, such as Freud's 'The Uncanny' and Abraham and Torok's theories of secrecy and 'hiding' in texts, and through the 'spectral' as it is explained by Terry Castle in The Female Thermometer. Beginning with a discussion of 'Charlotte Bronte's Gothic,' it demonstrates that psychical haunting creates a kind of gothic mode in Villette, one that underlies the ideas in the proceeding chapters. The spectral is then examined in Bronte's novels as a function of pseudoscientific readings that often involve looking or 'seeing'. The subject in this case is positioned as an observer, and demonstrates how seeing can often be a kind of hallucination or even a form of ghost-seeing. Additionally, subjectivity will be analysed in relation to letters in the novels-texts that have a highly personal yet ambiguous role. They often become symbols of the intense emotion that are integral to Bronte's subjective voice. This intensity will be mapped out in the final chapter through its recurrence in the work of various poets from the nineteenth century to the nineteen-seventies. In these works Bronte is a troublesome ghost or presence that, despite their efforts to contain, is haunting in its evocation of the difficulties of responding to, or of representing, subjectivity in literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature Literature Mass media Performing arts