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Writing the Stage Coach NationLocality on the Move in Nineteenth-Century British Literature$
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Ruth Livesey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769439

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769439.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 December 2021

Communicating with Jane Eyre

Communicating with Jane Eyre

Stage Coach, Mail, and the Tory Nation

Chapter:
(p.153) 5 Communicating with Jane Eyre
Source:
Writing the Stage Coach Nation
Author(s):

Ruth Livesey

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769439.003.0006

Critics have long read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre as an exemplary account of liberal individualism and self-expression. This chapter instead argues that the novel, written in the 1840s and depicting the 1820s, employs stage and mail coach communication as a Tory emblem of a Britain unified through the preservation of regional customs, against an increasingly dominant railway network. Radical though Jane Eyre’s claims to speak and feel may be from the perspective of liberal narratives of progressive individualism, they are best understood in this Tory context of anti-metropolitan regionalism and preservationism. Jane’s self assertions are momentary staging posts in a journey that preserves customary regional community. The stage coach knits the smallest, most remote places and persons into the nation while preserving their distinct identities. It is a resistant Tory mode of inscribing an alternative modernity in the era of progress.

Keywords:   Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, regionalism, communicating, mail coach, rail, Tory, liberal, locality, mobility

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