“The Brontë Myth” Reception in “«Brontë’s Mistress”» by Finola Austin
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Abstract: The article is aimed to analyze how the novel of the contemporary British-American writer Finola Austin “Brontë’s Mistress”, through the category of intertextuality, implements a new, close to feminist, reading of the history of the Brontë’s family and its “evil genius” Lydia Robinson. The urgency of the study is stimulated by the demand for “the Brontë myth” to be described in English-speaking and world culture, and the novelty is due to the low level of investigation of its reception by contemporary British literature in Russia literary studies. It is concluded that based on the dialogue with the fictionalized biography of Elizabeth Gaskell, the novels of Anne Brontë “Agnes Gray”, “Tenant of Wildfell Hall”, Charlotte Brontë “Jane Eyre”, “Villette” and Emily Brontë “Wuthering Heights”, Finola Austin poses and solves in a close to feminist way issues related to the themes of family, marriage, female sexuality, the role of women in Victorian and modern society. The novel by Finola Austin is a “manuscript” that was allegedly found in our time at the Thorp Green Hall estate, written as if by “that very” Lydia Robinson. Thus, the person who ones was only the object of the narrative acquires a subjectivity and a voice. The “fallen woman” in Austen’s novel does not receive the traditional punishment from society, the universe or any other higher power for her “sins”; the writer rehabilitates her right, if not to happiness, then to peace, thereby actualizing the modern European gender paradigm. The article considers the role of parallels in the novel with the novels of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “Lady Susan”. Cultural-historical and comparative methods of literary analysis are used to solve the problems of the study. The results of the research can be used for further study of Finola Austin’s creative work and the representations of the “the Brontë myth” in modern British and world literature, including mass literature.
Key words: British literature; British women-writers; intertextuality; new neo-Victorian novels; feminism; literary creative activity; literary genres; literary plots; literary characters.
Ilunina, A. A. (2021). “The Brontë Myth” Reception in “«Brontë’s Mistress”» by Finola Austin. In Philological Class. 2021. Vol. 26 ⋅ №1. P. 253–263. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2021-26-01-21.