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Reading the Brontee Body
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Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Bronte's literary representations of illness and disease reflect the major role illness played in the lives of the Victorians and its frequent reoccurrence within the Brontes' personal lives. An in-depth analysis of the history of nineteenth-century medicine provides the necessary cultural context to understand these representations, giving modern readers a sense of how health, illness, and the body were understood in Victorian England. Together, medical anthropology and the history of medicine offer a useful lens with which to understand Victorian texts. Reading the Bronte Body is the first scholarly attempt to provide both the theoretical framework and historical background to make such a literary analysis of the Bronte novels possible, while exploring how these representations of disease and illness work within a larger cultural framework.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 'Sick of Mankind and Their Disgusting Ways': Alcoholism, Social Reform, and Anne Bronte's Narratives of Illness Ailing Women in the Age of Cholera: Illness in Shirley Hysteria, Female Desire, and Self-Control in Villette Vampires, Ghosts, and the Disease of Dis/Possession Conclusion

Promotional Information

BETH TORGERSON is currently an Assistant Professor at Flagler College in St. Augustine, USA. The recipient of the Bechtol Lee Doctoral Fellowship, she attended King's College London, UK for a year as an affiliated research student, where she participated in their Victorian Studies graduate program. Her scholarly work has appeared in Victorian Review and Disabilities Studies Quarterly. Also a poet, her poetry has appeared in The Texas Review, Plains Song Review, as well as in several anthologies.

About the Author

BETH TORGERSON is currently an Assistant Professor at Flagler College in St. Augustine, USA. The recipient of the Bechtol Lee Doctoral Fellowship, she attended King's College London, UK for a year as an affiliated research student, where she participated in their Victorian Studies graduate program. Her scholarly work has appeared in Victorian Review and Disabilities Studies Quarterly. Also a poet, her poetry has appeared in The Texas Review, Plains Song Review, as well as in several anthologies.

Reviews

"A cogently argued book....provides a unique perspective on the structure and content of the novels, and also represents a valuable historical background for any Bronte reader." - Bronte Studies "This is an important and very useful approach to the always compelling Bronte sisters, one that takes the reader back to a most important element of their lives and the lives of their fictional characters, the gendered body and its individual and cultural ills." - Gail Turley Houston, The University of New Mexico "Beth Torgerson has done an admirable job of showing, as her subtitle indicates, the constraints of culture that inflected and arguably fuelled the Bronte sisters representations of illness." - Victorian Review " . . .a clearly written, well organized book" - VIJ Reviews

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