Charlotte Bronte and Derrida

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Samindokht Ronaghzadeh Department of English Literature Middle East Technical University THE APPLICATION OF DERRIDA'S IDEA OF MOURNING TO BRONTË'S VILLETTE By studying Derrida and his responses to a wide range of literary works, a Derridean approach to Charlotte Brontë's mature novel Villette, is conducted. This paper considers Derrida's idea of death and mourning in Villette. The main sources used, which deal with this philosophical concept, are Derrida’s 2001 The Work of Mourning and A taste for the Secret. These books provide descriptions of particular aspects of his concept of mourning such as the fear of impending death, the singularity and plurality of death, two infidelities towards the dead, narcissism, self-delusion, interiorization of the dead and tasting a tear. Derrida's The Ear of the Other and Mémoires: for Paul de Man are also used to give an understanding of the best sign of fidelity toward the dead, the mystery of name as a death bearer and the knowledge of finitude. These aspects are going to be applied to Villette and the reviews from Miriam Allott's critical heritage will be helpful in presenting different contemporary responses to this novel. Brontë completed Villette while she was struggling with illness and depression after the profound experience of losing her young sisters and brother. Villette can be considered, in literature, as one of the most powerful and best descriptions of the woes of life and the pain of loss and loneliness. This paper focuses on a Derridean analysis of the way the protagonist, Lucy Snowe, mourns long before and after the death or absence of those she loved. BIBLIOGRAPHY Allott, Miriam. The Brontës: The Critical Heritage. (London and New York: Routledge, 1974). Brontë, Charlotte.Villette. (London: WordsWorth, 1993). Derrida, Jacques. 'This Strange Institution Called Literature'. trans.

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