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How to live without love, without security? Hardly any other Victorian woman had thought as much about this as Charlotte Brontë. The large, gaping flaws in the construction of the stories — mad wives in the attic, strange apparitions in Belgium—are a representation of the life she could not face; these gothic subterfuges represent the mind at a breaking point, frantic to find any way out. If the flaws are only to be attributed to the practice of popular fiction of the time, we cannot then explain the large amount of genuine feeling that goes into them. They stand for the hidden wishes of an intolerable life.

Elizabeth Hardwick in “The Brontës,” as reprinted in Seduction and Betrayal.
(via ascendingcoherence)

This book is Hardwick’s essays about female characters in literature and plays, as well as female authors. Intro by Joan Didion, to boot. It is totally ruling my brain right now.

—Jessica H.

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