Emily Brontë’s Shelleyan Poetics of Sexual Ambivalence
|Ready, K. and Sigler, D.
This chapter affirms Emily Brontë’s status as a late Romantic and reconsiders Brontë’s poetics of sexual transgression, alterity, and gender ambiguity. Responsive to scholarship on the underappreciated influence of Percy Bysshe Shelley on Brontë’s poetic identity, and the influence of Epipsychidion in particular, this chapter explores how Brontë’s imaginative engagement with Shelley in unpublished verses and in Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (1846) builds upon Epipsychidion’s gender ambiguity. Contrary to Anne Mellor’s assertion that 'Brontë’s works conform to a specifically masculine Romanticism' which she had 'absorbed from her enthusiastic reading of Percy Shelley', this study resituates the sexual alterity and gender ambiguity in Brontë’s poetry within the context of Romantic perversion explored by Richard C. Sha, where literary depictions of transgressive sexuality become sites of liberation.
|Brontë; Shelley; Gender; Poetry; Lyric; Transgression; Romanticism
|Romantic Women's Writing and Sexual Transgression
|Edinburgh University Press
|Place of publication
|Edinburgh Critical Studies in Romanticism
|Web address (URL)
All rights reserved (under embargo)
File Access Level
|Publication process dates
|22 Aug 2023
|19 Sep 2023
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