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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

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: picturing Charlotte Brontë
Source:
Charlotte Brontë
Author(s):

Amber K. Regis

Deborah Wynne

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781784992460.003.0001

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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