9780874138863 / 0874138868

Jane Eyre's American Daughters: From the Wide, Wide World to Anne of Green Gables a Study of Marginalized Maidens and What They Mean


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Publisher:University of Delaware Press, 2005



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About the book:

"Jane Eyre's American Daughters" is about the influence of Charlotte Bronte's romance on North American writers, including Susan Warner, Louisa May Alcott, Martha Finley, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Kate Douglas Wiggin, Jean Webster, Eleanor Porter, and L M Montgomery. John Seelye demonstrates that the reception of Bronte's Gothic romance in America was filtered through Elizabeth Gaskell's biography of the author, published shortly after her friend's death in 1855. A sentimental classic in its day, Gaskell's book promoted an image of Charlotte as a long-suffering creative genius with high moral standards. Her biography necessarily overlooked Bronte's obsessive love for her Belgian professor. Constantin Heger, an older and married man. Though Heger did not return Charlotte's affection, he was the model for the lovers in Bronte's novels, including the passionate, adulterous Edward Rochester, who inspired censorious reviews questioning the moral character of the author when Jane Eyre was published in 1847, a reputation that Gaskell's biography successfully countered.

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