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Charlotte BrontëLegacies and Afterlives$
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Amber K. Regis and Deborah Wynne

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784992460

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784992460.001.0001

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Introduction: picturing Charlotte Brontë

Introduction: picturing Charlotte Brontë

(p.1) Introduction: picturing Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë

Amber K. Regis

Deborah Wynne

Manchester University Press

This introduction explores the circulation and appropriation of Charlotte Brontë’s image, from her professional portrait sketched by George Richmond in 1850, through to the re-discovery of Branwell’s family portraits in the early twentieth century and a host of subsequent discoveries, forgeries and adaptations. Recognisable iconography is a valuable commodity, but Brontë portraiture must (re-)construct Charlotte’s image from the evidence and narratives of a dual biographical tradition, caught between competing claims and representations of private domesticity and public authorship. Brontë’s face may now seem familiar to public audiences, but she is a mutable and malleable icon: she is constantly seen anew, bespeaking our persistent desire to re-imagine her life and work. Brontë’s bicentenary in 2016 provides the cue and occasion for a critical re-assessment of these legacies and cultural afterlives, and this introduction concludes with a survey of research themes identified and explored by the collection’s contributors.

Keywords:   Adaptation, Appropriation, Authorship, Bicentenary, Portraits, Portraiture

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