Shelves: timeless-classics , cherished , romance , human-drama , european-literature , and-more , britain , by-women-who-matter , gbbw "Reformed rakes make the best husbands. Women writers of today, particularly those who are laughing all the way to the bank by mass-producing this unforgivable blather, wake the hell up! What are you still waiting for? It is all very well to talk about noble resistance, and trials of virtue; but for fifty-or five hundred men that have yielded to temptation, show me one that has had virtue to resist. And why should I take it for granted that my son will be one in a thousand? A blow by blow account of an abusive marriage and a woman being condemned to tolerating a melee hosted by drunken, wife-and-child-abusing reprobates day after infuriating day, year after agonizing year will do that to you.
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Arthur Huntingdon and most of his male friends are heavy drinkers. Lord Lowborough is "the drunkard by necessity" — he tries to use alcohol as a way to cope with his personal problems. Arthur, like his friend Ralph Hattersley, is the "drunkard from an excess of indulgence in youth. Arthur and Lord Lowborough particularly seem affected by the traditional signs of alcoholism. Lord Lowborough understands that he has a problem and, with willpower and strenuous effort, overcomes his addiction.
Arthur continues drinking even after he injures himself falling from a horse, which eventually leads to his death. Ralph, although he drinks heavily with his friends, does not seem to be as much afflicted by alcoholism as by his way of life.
Mr Grimsby continues his degradation, going from bad to worse and eventually dying in a brawl. This doctrine found its way into even "protofeminist" novels such as Jane Eyre, where the main heroine fulfills or reduces her ambitions for a wider life by taming and managing her husband. In The Tenant, however, masculinity is impervious to the softening or "superior" influence of women. Marrying Arthur, Helen is convinced that she can reform him, but six years later she escapes from him to protect herself and her young son.
Joshi concludes that Gilbert is "tottering toward a new form of masculinity" together with Jack Halford, his close friend, by exchanging [a] confidences and, by learning to communicate and reveal emotions, doing what is considered to be feminine, he can redeem himself, become a new man and a worthy husband of Helen.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is thus considered a feminist novel by many critics. The Tenant features numerous allusions to a wide range of other texts, from the Bible to contemporary novels. Apart from being used as a quotation, allusions are often applied by peculiar characters to reflect their personalities. Sometimes the individual voices of characters are shown as a patchwork of quotations.
The emphasis on allusions in the novel, on using the "language of others," according to McDonagh, may be a reflection on the position of being a tenant, which in its subjugation is similar to that of being a wife. Wealthy Annabella wants only a title, while Lord Lowborough devotedly loves her.
The social climber Jane Wilson seeks wealth. She wants to "obviate his becoming such a gentleman as his father. At the beginning of her diary, the young and unmarried Helen already defines herself as an artist.
Her early drawings reveal her private and true feelings for Arthur Huntingdon, feelings that lead her to overlook his true character and lose herself to marriage. That she puts so much of herself into her paintings and drawings attests to this self-definition. After her marriage to Arthur, Helen, accepting the roles of wife and housekeeper, rarely refers to herself as an artist. She does not reassure the elder Arthur about this on his deathbed because she wants him to repent of his wrongdoing on his own accord.
Despite his inability to do so, Helen still believes in his redemption. When we have to do with vice and vicious characters, I maintain it is better to depict them as they really are than as they would wish to appear.
To represent a bad thing in its least offensive light, is doubtless the most agreeable course for a writer of fiction to pursue; but is it the most honest, or the safest? Is it better to reveal the snares and pitfalls of life to the young and thoughtless traveller, or to cover them with branches and flowers?
Wildfell Hall is not haunted, it is simply dilapidated, damp and un-welcoming. Analyzing the lack of sense and reason amongst males as the consequence of value-system based on the worship of machismo , Anne depicts the pathetic end of her main hero, brought on by his drinking habits.
Totally dependent on his estranged wife in his final illness, Arthur Huntingdon ultimately loses all his personality. The eternal struggle between good and evil is emphasised by heavy use of biblical references: sinners who repent and listen to reason are brought within the fold, while those who remain stubborn tend to meet violent or miserable ends.
The characteristics of Arthur Huntington and Annabella Wilmot, both self-indulgent sexual transgressors, may be the relics of Gondal, where most of the main heroes were extravagant and led adventurous lives. The original "Ur-hall" in Gondal may be the source of inspiration for at least two of them — Wuthering Heights and Wildfell Hall.
However, the narrator, Gilbert Markham, differs from his gothic predecessors in that he and the official standards he represents are shown to be in part the cause of the shocking reality he encounters.
His story is also taken from his own diary. Naomi Jacobs argues that "the displacement [of framing narration by the inner] is exactly the point of the novel, which subjects its readers to a shouldering-aside of familiar notions and comfortable perceptions of the world", and both narrations and jarring discrepancies of tone and perspective between them are essential to the purpose. In The Tenant, like in Wuthering Heights, a horrific reality of private life is obtained after passing through the voice of a framing narrator.
According to Jacobs, the male narrator represents the public world, and the framed structure serves several functions that are strongly gender-related: it illustrates the process of going behind the official version of reality in order to approach the truth that the culture prefers to deny; it exemplifies the ways in which domestic reality is obscured by layers of conventional ideology; and it replicates the cultural split between male and female spheres that is shown to be one of the sources of the tragedy in the novel.
Jacobs concludes that both Emily and Anne seemed to find it necessary, in approaching subjects that were considered to be controversial, to use the voice of a male narrator, appropriating, delegitimizing and even ridiculing his power, before telling anti-patriarchal truth.
Like Pride and Prejudice , The Tenant of Wildfell Hall starts with the arrival of a new person in a neighbourhood — a source of curiosity for a small rural community. The relationship between Frederick and Helen is insular and cannot solve all the problems or contradictions that cluster around the concept of the domestic.
In a powerfully argued Miltonic debate about virtue, experience, choice and temptation, Helen challenges the segregated education of the two sexes, with its over-exposure for boys and over-protection for girls. In The Tenant, a reformed masculinity emerges not, as More would have it, under the tutelage of a woman, but by emulating feminine ways. Anne presents the "idle talk" of Linden-Car villagers primary as a way of creating fellowship and community, not only as vicious gossip. According to Joshi, the gossip of middle-class Linden-Car functions not as a critique of the behavior, but rather to heighten its contrast with the chilling atmosphere of the upper-class estate.
It is, taken altogether, a powerful and an interesting book. Not that it is a pleasant book to read, nor, as we fancy, has it been a pleasant book to write; still less has it been a pleasant training which could teach an author such awful facts, or give courage to write them. The fault of the book is coarseness—not merely that coarseness of subject which will be the stumbling-block of most readers, and which makes it utterly unfit to be put into the hands of girls There is power, effect, and even nature, though of an extreme kind, in its pages; but there seems in the writer a morbid love for the coarse, not to say the brutal; so that his level subjects are not very attractive, and the more forcible are displeasing or repulsive, from their gross, physical, or profligate substratum.
He might reply, that such things are in life Mere existence, however, as we have often had occasion to remark, is not a sufficient reason for a choice of subject: its general or typical character is a point to consider, and its power of pleasing must be regarded, as well as its mere capabilities of force or effect. It is not only the subject of this novel, however, that is objectionable, but the manner of treating it.
Chorley , cited The Tenant as "the most entertaining novel we have read in a month past". However, he warned the authors, having in mind all the novels from Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell published by , "against their fancy for dwelling upon what is disagreeable".
Considering the novels structure as "faulty", Examiner concludes that "it is scarcely possible to analyze [the novel]". Noting, that "all that is good or attractive about [the male characters in The Tenant] is or might be womanish" it supposes that the author may be "some gifted and retired woman".
However, both novels, in his opinion, were constructed with an "excessive clumsiness" and "the brutal element of human nature" was equally "given prominence" in them. Despite this, Whipple praised novels characterization: "All the characters are drawn with great power and precision of outline, and the scenes are vivid as the life itself.
Whipple concludes: "The reader of Acton Bell gains no enlarged view of mankind, giving a healthy action to his sympathies, but is confined to a narrow space of life, and held down, as it were, by main force, to witness the wolfish side of his nature literally and logically set forth. But the criminal courts are not the places in which to take a comprehensive view of humanity and the novelist who confines his observation to them is not likely to produce any lasting impression except of horror and disgust".
It argues that the scenes of debauchery "are described with a disgustingly truthful minuteness, which shows the writer to be only too well acquainted with the revolting details of such evil revelry" and considers it a final "proof of the unreadableness of these volumes". It concludes: "Unless our authoress can contrive to refine and elevate her general notions of all human and divine things, we shall be glad to learn that she is not intending to add another work to those which have already been produced by her pen".
Books, coarse even for men, coarse in language and coarse in conception, the coarseness apparently of violence and uncultivated men — turn out to be the productions of two girls living almost alone, filling their loneliness with quiet studies, and writing their books from a sense of duty, hating the pictures they drew, yet drawing them with austere conscientiousness!
There is matter here for the moralist or critic to speculate on". The novel was out of print in England until , but not in America, which had no copyright restriction. Others believe Charlotte was jealous of her younger sister. Williams: "That it had faults of execution, faults of art, was obvious, but faults of intention of feeling could be suspected by none who knew the writer. For my part, I consider the subject unfortunately chosen — it was one the author was not qualified to handle at once vigorously and truthfully.
I liked Agnes Grey better than the present work. Her behaviour is the least unusual, not to say revolutionary. Despite the general dismissiveness of the late 19th—early 20th century critics, Anne still had supporters in literary circles. Esther Alice Chadwick, while believing that Anne lacked "the fire and passion of her sisters"  and was "inferior" to them,  claimed that she is still "a character well worth studying. Hale, [e] where he stated that in the "ideas and situations," presented in The Tenant, Anne "was way ahead of her times" and that "she rushed in where Thackeray dared not tread.
Lokatorka Wildfell Hall
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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall