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“Mediocrity in the sensations”: Charlotte Brontë and the Yorkshire Marriage

Sanders, Valerie

Authors



Contributors

Justine Pizzo
Editor

Eleanor Houghton
Editor

Abstract

In a letter of 1840 to her friend Ellen Nussey, Charlotte Brontë ironically advises that “mediocrity in the sensations is superlative wisdom,” especially in the context of the “Yorkshire marriage” based on wealth, rather than the mutual affinity she sets as her personal ideal. Drawing on the language of embodied subjectivity, this essay focuses on the way Brontë explores, via references to bodily sensation and material objects, the alienating experience of observing the courtship of other people. It considers the purpose of the “thumbnail” marriage sketches in her fiction and her use of brutal imagery to capture the mysteries of sexual attraction as she witnessed them around her.

Citation

Sanders, V. (2020). “Mediocrity in the sensations”: Charlotte Brontë and the Yorkshire Marriage. In J. Pizzo, & E. Houghton (Eds.), Charlotte Bronte, Embodiment and the Natural World (75-94). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34855-7_4

Online Publication Date Jun 10, 2020
Publication Date Jun 10, 2020
Deposit Date May 3, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 11, 2022
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature)
Pages 75-94
Series Title Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture
Series ISSN 2634-6494 ; 2634-6508
Book Title Charlotte Bronte, Embodiment and the Natural World
Chapter Number 4
ISBN 9783030348540 ; 9783030348571
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34855-7_4
Keywords Bronte; Marriage; Letters; The body; Fiction
Public URL https://hull-repository.worktribe.com/output/3541298

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