Last Things: Emily Brontė's Poems

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At present, Emily Brontë's poetry is more frequently celebrated than read. Ironically, the very uniqueness of her poems has made them less interesting to current feminist critics than other poems written by Victorian women. Last Things seeks to reinstate Emily Brontë's poems at the heart of Romantic and Victorian concerns while at the same time underlining their enduring relevance for readers today. It presents the poems as the achievement of a powerfully independent mind responding to her own inner experience of the world and seeking always an abrogation of human limits compatible with a stern morality. It develops Georges Batille's insight that it doesn't matter whether Brontë had a mystical experience because she "reached the very essence of such an experience." Although the book does not discuss all of Brontë's poems, it seeks to be comprehensive by undertaking an analysis of individual poems, the progress she made from the beginning of her career as a poet to its end, her poetical fragments and her writing practice, and her motives for writing poetry. For admirers of Wuthering Heights, Last Things will bring the concerns and methods of the novel into sharper focus by relating them to the poems.

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Janet Gezari is Lucy Marsh Haskell '19 Professor of English at Connecticut College.

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"Gezari's long familiarity with Bronte's fragments and revisions enriches many of the discussions about editing and attribution in Last Things."--Victorian Studies


"Last Things offers precise, beautifully observed close readings of Bront:e's poetry in context that interweave Sigmund Freud and Georges Bataille with Romantic poetics and Victorian cultures of mourning."--Margaret Russett, Studies in English Literature


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