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Reviews103 Works Cited Newton, Judith Lowder. "History as Usual? Feminism and the 'New Historicism." The New Historicism. Ed. H. Aram Veeser. New York: Routledge, 1989. 1520-167. Susan Brown University ofAlberta Barbara Timm Gates. Critical Essays on Charlotte Bronte. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1990. viii + 327. $36.00 US. Critical Essays on Charlotte Brontë is a collection of essays with which anyone involved in the study of Charlotte Brontë should be familiar. Barbara Timm Gates has arranged her collection with a historical perspective in mind; Gates tracks the criticism surrounding Brontë from Bronte's own time to the present and, thus, provides a panoramic view of Brontë as critics from the mid-nineteenth century have seen her and her work. The collected articles fall into two areas. The first, exemplified by Terry Eagleton's well-known Marxist article, "Class, Power, and Charlotte Brontë" (1972), examines the way in which critics have addressed the division present in Bronte's protagonists. The greater part of the book is devoted to criticism dealing with the specific works themselves, each section beginning with a piece of criticism from the Victorian age which establishes a historical perspective; especially enjoyable in this regard is the inclusion of Elizabeth's Rigby's "Review of Jane Eyre: An Autobiography" (1848). A major strength of this collection is its presentation of the present-day feminist criticism of Bronte's work. This aspect of Brontë criticism is represented by such well known pieces as Adrienne Rich's "Jane Eyre: The Temptations of a Motherless Woman" (1979), Sandra M. Gilbert's "Plain Jane's Progress" (1977), Susan Gubar's "The Genesis of Hunger, According to Shirley" (1976), and excerpts from Kate Milieu's Sexual Politics (1969). The transition from the critics of Bronte's time to our own establishes an adequate background for a modern view of Brontë; however, considering that in her 'Introduction" Gates notes the critical 104Victorian Review importance of the years following the demise of Victorian biography-based criticism, which saw the establishment of more detached critical methods such as formalism, it is unfortunate that this period is scarcely represented by her selection of papers. But this is only a small criticism, and Gates's 'Introduction" discusses this period with some detail and provides further references for those interested in pursuing this area. While Critical Essays on Charlotte Bronte is by no means a comprehensive history of the criticism surrounding Brontë, Gates herself points out that her collection is "intended to serve more as an introduction to the essays than to follow a comprehensive study of criticism about Charlotte Brontë" (8). With this in mind, Critical Essays on Charlotte Brontë provides a good overview of the various critical approaches taken towards Brontë and her work, and serves well as an entry into the current view held about Charlotte Bronte's artistry. Ray Siemens, Jr. University ofAlberta ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 103-104
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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