The project investigates the way social anxieties provoked by the strangeness of Charlotte Bronte's unorthodox novels were converted into aesthetic pleasures by publishing institutions and practices. Combining methods from editorial scholarship, literary/cultural history, digital humanities and literary criticism, the project proposes an innovative new scholarly print/digital edition of Brontë’s novels, together with a pioneering online critical archive of Brontë manuscripts, texts and contexts, and a ground-breaking book-length interpretive study.
Supported by prestigious international cultural institutions (The British Library, Morgan Library, Brontë Parsonage Museum), this project aims to transform our understanding of Brontë's fiction.
Charlotte Brontë’s novels are stranger, more unsettling, and more artistically and socially challenging than the available editions lead readers to believe. This strangeness, so apparent in her manuscripts, is moderated in all print versions of the novels because Brontë’s punctuation was radically altered by the printers who normalised it for the first editions, with significant effects on the novels and their interpretation.
This project restores the MS versions in a new scholarly print/digital edition, reproduces them along with the print versions in an innovative online critical archive of Brontë texts and contexts, and analyses them in a book-length reinterpretation of the novels that will transform our understanding of Brontë’s achievement.
The potential impact on the Brontë cultural and critical heritage is far-reaching and highly significant for our partners, the British Library, Morgan Library, and Brontë Society, who will be working with us to research and disseminate the findings to a wide and diverse readership. Cambridge University Press will publish both the print and digital editions of what they refer to as this “major scholarly endeavour”.
CI: Emeritus Scientia Professor Christine Alexander – School of the Arts & Media, UNSW
Partner CI: Emeritus Professor Tim Dolin – School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, Curtin University, WA.
Australian Research Council / Linkage Grant
Literary and textual studies