Alexandra Lewis
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The ethics of appropriation; or, the ‘mere spectre’ of Jane Eyre
Emma Tennant’s Thornfield Hall, Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair and Gail Jones’s Sixty Lights
in Charlotte Brontë
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This chapter explores the ethics of neo-Victorian appropriation through close analysis of three very different Brontean afterlives: novels by Emma Tennant, Jasper Fforde and Gail Jones. Sharing the obsession of neo-Victorian theory with spectres, Tennant's oeuvre is 'haunted by the influential ghosts of other stories'. Thornfield Hall is no exception, summoning not only both 'pretexts' but also the reader's awareness of the interplay between Charlotte Bronte's and Rhys's novels. Fforde's first novel, The Eyre Affair, offers two worlds: a 1980s Britain, where the Crimean War has continued for over 130 years; and the world of Bronte's novel as a space available for textual exchange and literary tourism. Gail Jones's Sixty Lights, a complex refiguration of narrative inheritance and exploration of what is obscured behind 'memorable patterns', deals with the modes of intergenerational and global migrations of meaning that have affected cultural understandings of Jane Eyre since 1847.

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Charlotte Brontë

Legacies and afterlives


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