“Fettered Amongst Our Hands:” Images of Slavery in Jane Eyre

“Jane Eyre” is a seminal piece of feminist fiction. Jane’s conflict is the conflict of any woman in a patriarchal society: the battle for true independence and freedom in the confines of a society that denies her any avenue to reach it. The central conflict of the novel with Bertha Mason, Rochester’s “mad” wife, isContinue reading ““Fettered Amongst Our Hands:” Images of Slavery in Jane Eyre”

Elizabeth Siddal: Beyond Ophelia

Long, high noses, and plump, rounded lips. Curled, lush hair and long, sensuous necks. Gowns folding over themselves, loose and ethereal in decadent Arthurian and Grecian scenes. Striking, a demanding kind of beauty. These were the divine muses — women both commanding and ethereal — of the Pre-Raphaelite painters — women embodying goddesses, saints, legends.Continue reading “Elizabeth Siddal: Beyond Ophelia”

“The Queens of Hysterics”

Marie “Blanche” Wittmann is a name you probably have not heard, although you may know her face. “Blanche” features, among a throng of famous psychologists and neurologists, in the painting Une leçon Clinique à La Salpêtrière (A Clinical Lesson at La Salpêtrière) as the ideal hysterical woman. Her eyes half-closed, collapsed into the arms ofContinue reading ““The Queens of Hysterics””