Stretched nerves and suffering minds : the isolating effects of female madness in Villette

Bury, H 2021, 'Stretched nerves and suffering minds : the isolating effects of female madness in Villette' , Brontë Studies, 46 (2) , pp. 159-171.

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Abstract

This article analyses the symbiotic relationship between Lucy Snowe’s madness and isolation in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853). I argue that madness enhances isolation, and isolation enhances madness, through an exploration of Lucy’s solitude. In the novel, Lucy endures enforced isolation as a treatment for madness, while she chooses other voluntary forms of isolation, such as the natural world, as a respite from social pressures. Through her relationships with Dr John and M. Paul, Lucy is observed by the male gaze, which is used to police her madness and impose gender conformity. By re-examining madness in line with approaches from Mad Studies as a unique identity rather than a classifiable mental illness, this article explores how thematic overlaps between Lucy’s isolation and the current crisis can be realised through the text.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Journal or Publication Title: Brontë Studies
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1474-8932
Related URLs:
Depositing User: HANNAH Bury
Date Deposited: 10 May 2021 14:21
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 10:46
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/60251

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