The Brontës and Religion (paperback)
appeared from Cambridge University Press in 1999. The first full-length study of religion in the Brontë fiction, it shows how the Brontës’ familiarity with the contemporary debates on doctrinal, ethical, and ecclesiastical issues informs their novels. Divided into four parts, the book examines denominations, doctrines, ethics, and clerics in the work of the Brontës. The analyses of the novels clarify the constant interplay of human and divine love in their development. While demonstrating that the Brontës’ fiction is usually in agreement with the basic tenets of Evangelical Anglicanism, The Brontës and Religion emphasises the characteristic spiritual freedom and audacity of the Brontës. Lucid and vigorously written, it opens up new perspectives for Brontë specialists and enthusiasts alike on a fundamental aspect of the novels greatly neglected in recent decades.
Excerpts from reviews: “[a] well-informed [study] based on scrupulous readings and meticulous judgments” (Times Literary Supplement); “[the author’s] willingness to read with the grain of the novels’ religion makes for absorbing reading” (Victorian Studies); “a refreshingly textual study of the Brontës’ fiction” (The Review of English Studies); “a work of extraordinarily comprehensive scholarship” (The Journal of Ecclesiastical History); “the kind of writing which will endure and remain valuable for many years to come” (Theology); “I very much enjoyed this book” (Reviews in Religion & Theology).
Reviews so far'General readers will enjoy it as much as Brontë students and fans, and its careful avoidance of anything too topical or controversial will keep it fresh for years. Thormählen's high-quality contributors, assembly of reliable facts and data, pertinent commentary, maps, illustrations, splendid chronology and further reading lists make it everything that one could wish for.' Times Literary Supplement 'The high quality of scholarship in combination with the clarity of the jargon-free writing make it a book accessible to all. Those new to the Brontës will receive a solid introduction; those familiar with the Brontë story will be surprised by new information and fresh insights. Much of the knowledge one gains over the years from reading many disparate books is gathered together into this one volume, helping the reader to develop a coherent and comprehensive understanding of this literary family's life and historical contexts. I would recommend The Brontës in Context not only to those interested in the Brontës, but to anyone studying literature in the Victorian age. /---/ [It] will serve current and future generations of Brontë readers, students and scholars admirably; it will also prompt new avenues of study as readers delve deeper into the variety of issues that this volume covers. The Brontës in Context exemplifies the best writing, communicating not only information but also pleasure to the reader who enters its pages, ensuring that it will have a lasting contribution to make to the world of Brontë studies.' Brontë Studies 'Readers of The Brontës in Context will gain fresh insights into the writings of the sisters, and also how those writings relate to the concerns of their time and contribute to our understanding of the nineteenth-century mindset. Already my copy is getting thumb-marked, and I'm sure the book will be a valued handbook for years to come.' Emerald Insight
All the seven Brontë novels are concerned with education in both senses, that of upbringing as well as that of learning. The Brontë sisters all worked as teachers before they became published novelists. In spite of the prevalence of education in the sisters' lives and fiction, however, this is the first full-length book on the subject. Marianne Thormählen explores how their representations of fictional teachers and schools engage with the intense debates on education in the nineteenth century, drawing on a wealth of documentary evidence about educational theory and practice in the lifetime of the Brontës. This study offers much new information both about the Brontës and their books and about the most urgent issue in early-nineteenth-century British social politics: the education of the people, of all classes and both sexes.The Brontës and Education, hardback The Brontës and Education, paperback