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The Self and the World

  • Barbara Prentis
Chapter
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Abstract

One of those stories of the Bronte childhood that have proved irresistible to biographers is that of the ‘mask’ incident, disclosed by the Reverend Patrick in a letter to Mrs Gaskell dated 30 July 1855.1 Suspecting, he said, that his children knew more than he had yet discovered, he decided to test them in a way that would encourage complete freedom of expression: ‘happening/ he said, ‘to have a mask in the house, I told them all to stand and speak boldly from under the cover of the mask.’ In the event, the questions were banal, but the ploy was prophetic in a way and to an extent which the Reverend Patrick could hardly have foreseen. He could not have guessed that in the years ahead three of those children would adopt a series of metaphorical ‘masks’ and speak with a freedom of expression that would shock many of their contemporaries and ensure the three a major place in English literature into the incalculable future.

Keywords

Ethical Philosophy Woman Writer Woman Question Perfect Expression Woollen Industry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Barbara Prentis 1988

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  • Barbara Prentis

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