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Jane Eyre, Orphan Governess: Narrating Victorian Vulnerability and Social Change

  • Tamara S. WagnerEmail author
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Part of the British Women’s Writing from Brontë to Bloomsbury, 1840-1940 book series (BWWFBB, volume 1)

Abstract

Jane Eyre helped to shape new literary and cultural directions in the 1840s through its intersecting themes of the governess, the child, and the transposed Gothic. In bringing together two vulnerable groups, the orphaned child and the impecunious middle-class woman, the novel creates a powerful paradigm that gives high visibility to particular cultural anxieties. The figures of the orphaned child and the governess were to become a pulse point for Victorian discourses on women. While governess novels proliferated in the 1840s, challenging early Victorian domestic economy, Jane Eyre simultaneously uses the dispossessed and unprotected woman to create new forms of narrative agency.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Humanities, College of Humanities, Arts and Social SciencesNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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