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Charlotte

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Immorale et rebelle dans une maison de correction religieuse victorienne. Invention de la psychologie enfantine avant d’être femme (1847). Les Victoriens trouvaient Charlotte grossière et immorale. The Naughty Book. This year is the bicentennial of Charlotte Brontë's birth.

Les Victoriens trouvaient Charlotte grossière et immorale. The Naughty Book.

She died in March 1855, at the age of nearly 39, which makes this month something of an anniversary too. Her best known work, Jane Eyre, has the capacity of a fairytale to transcend time, with its Cinderella story of an unwanted child who becomes a poor, plain governess but ends up beating the odds by snaring the Byronic hero Mr Rochester. High points in the novel's rich afterlife include the 1943 Hollywood version with Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles, and, in more recent times, Michael Berkeley's opera, Fanny Britt's graphic novel Jane, the Fox and Me and the artist Paula Rego's haunting images.

Yet despite its mesmerising staying power, posterity has not quite known what to do with Jane Eyre. In modern times it has been marketed as a feel-good children's book, claimed as a high-minded feminist bible, and commercially exploited as a clichéd bodice-ripper (I recently bought a racy, lacy bra called "Brontë" in its honour). La Victorian girl féministe, Charlotte Brontë. As a poor, plain parson's daughter, struggling to make a living as a teacher and governess, Charlotte Brontë didn't think of herself as a potential revolutionary, but as soon as she started to express herself, revolutionary views came out.

La Victorian girl féministe, Charlotte Brontë

She wrote Jane Eyre in secret and published it under a pseudonym, so had little idea of what a sensation it was causing among its first readers, who were bowled over by the novel's freshness, passion and brilliant storytelling. But most of all, it was the novel's heroine who made people sit up and take notice, with her fiery spirit and refusal to compromise. "Unjust! Unjust! " the 10-year old Jane declares when she faces up to her cold-hearted relations and turns on them "like any other rebel slave".

You'd think 168 years would be long enough for the culture to have absorbed what an obscure Victorian girl had to say, but when I reread Brontë's novels recently, I was struck by how much in them remains totally undigested. Coming up for Eyre. Une féministe en pleine époque victorienne. April 21 marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth and is the occasion for the publication of another biography of a writer who has captured readers' imagination quite as much as her most famous creations — and for good reason.

Une féministe en pleine époque victorienne.

Brontë's life was filled with enough domestic drama, passion, romantic suffering and melancholy circumstance for any fictional character. Charlotte Brontë par Freddie Philips — Exposition de portraits de Charlotte à la National Portrait Gallery of London. Devenir fantôme dans le miroir. Autoportrait de la société. Charlotte Brontë © The Folio Society edition of Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brontë. Punir son corps pour sauver son âme. Les demoiselles apprenant prières et pénitence © The Folio Society edition of Jane Eyre. 1847. Charlotte Brontë ou l’invention moderne du « soi » (protestantisme, féminisme, littérature… ) Consider the selfie.

1847. Charlotte Brontë ou l’invention moderne du « soi » (protestantisme, féminisme, littérature… )

By now, it’s a fairly mundane artistic tradition, even after a profusion of thinkpieces have wrestled with its rise thanks to the so-called Me Generation’s “obsession” with social media. Anyone in possession of a cheap camera phone or laptop can take a picture of themselves, edit it (or not), and share it with the world in a matter or seconds. But before the selfie came “the self,” or the fairly modern concept of the independent “individual.”

The now-ubiquitous selfie expresses in miniature the seismic conceptual shift that came about centuries ago, spurred in part by advances in printing technology and new ways of thinking in philosophy. It’s not that the self didn’t exist in pre-modern cultures: Rather, the emphasis the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century placed on personal will, conscience, and understanding—rather than tradition and authority—in matters of faith spilled over the bounds of religious experience into all of life.