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204Victorian Review sphere was the one place women controlled; the radicals' call for "education" opened the door for male "experts" to invade that sphere as well. Another example of the radicals' problematic ideas concerns the Whittington clubs. The London branch was one of the few that made the decision to raise women's subscription fees to that of men, thus treating women as equals. Gleadle sees this as a feminist victory. However, the action meant that women's fees doubled, which may well have caused many to drop out of the club. (With no membership figures, she cannot determine the effect.) One fears that the Whittington's "feminism" may have resulted in a couples purchasing only one membership — for the husband — since two would have stretched the budget of the lower middle class audience of these clubs. Such a result is hardly an unmixed feminist achievement. All this is not to say that the radical Unitarians were "bad", but that their ideas foreshadowed many of the conflicts in the feminist movement today. A critical analysis would have been more complex and interesting and would actually have strengthened Gleadle's argument that the radicals were pioneers of the movements that followed — in both their successes and failures. The Early Feminists restores forgotten figures in the history of feminism admirably. However, future works will have to address the complications of that legacy. GINGER FROST Samford University Christine Alexander and Jane Sellars. The An of the Brontes. Cambridge UP, 1995. xxvi + 484. "All Charlotte's heroines are distinguished by their ability to observe and to 'read' a face, and all are amateur painters" (28). Such a vivid reminder of the constant and intricate interaction of word and picture in Charlotte Bronte's creative consciousness is the essence of the splendid volume on The Art of the Brontes by Christine Alexander and Jane Sellars. Jane Eyre's portfolio of visionary paintings, and her more realistic disciplinary exercise in portraying her plain self over against an idealized portrait of Blanche Ingram, are intimately part of her identity. Anne Bronte's Helen Huntingdon, in flight from her husband, earns her living by her brush, and creates the love of young Gilbert Markham as she wields it. Cathy Linton fills books with marginalia and sketches, which bring her into immediate ghostly existence for Lockwood. Reviews205 Branwell, the would-be poet and professional artist, chronicles his own death in pictures, and presently fulfills his own visual prophesy. Such a record of the central and compelling role that art played in the lives of the Brontes and their characters makes it surprising that a book on The Art ofthe Brontes should not have been done before. It was worth waiting for, however, because now it has been done properly, in a large format, on excellent glossy paper, with an exhaustive catalogue of all the extant drawings and paintings of all four Brontes — nearly 400 items — including even tiieir tiny sketches alongside tiieir minuscule texts in the volumes of juvenilia. There is a generous plate section of 62 plates, many of them in color. Each piece is reproduced in small format in the catalogue, with full description and provenance. And the authors provide searching critical essays, first a general one on 'The influence of the visual arts on the Brontes", and then a series of individual essays on Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne. One appendix lists the books the Brontes owned, and reproduces some marginal doodles and sketches; another, by Tracey Messenger, provides a history of the dispersal and retrieval of Brontë artworks and other Brontëana. Many of the pictures of course are familiar, from biographies, editions of the juvenilia, Bronte picture books, and postcards from Hawarth — not to mention the reproductions of the group portrait of die three girls in the National Portrait Gallery from which Branwell famously erased himself. Emily's charming "Keeper" and "Grasper" portraits, Charlotte's "Maid of Saragoza," recently reproduced on the jacket of Christine Alexander's Life in Verdopolis, Branwell's profile of Emily — these are all here, along with less familiar items. But even on the familiar ones we get new and fascinating information, such as a history of the lost "gun...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 204-207
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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