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From Pasha to Cleopatra and Vashti: the Oriental Other in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette

Mohd Ramli, Aimillia (2010) From Pasha to Cleopatra and Vashti: the Oriental Other in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette. In: IRIEE 2011, 9-10, February 2011, Gombak, Kuala Lumpur.

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Critics have argued that Jane’s engagement with the Orient in Jane Eyre (1847) is grounded in the vocabulary of her role as liberator and the discourse of female slavery and male domination as represented by the use of the harem metaphor in the text. Yet little is said about how this same metaphor exposes in Villette (1853) the ambivalence inherent in the construction of a Western character that has been invaded by the so-called menacing influences of the Orient. In the novel, the Oriental familial institution of the harem is figuratively and literally seen as a contaminant that poses a threat to a racial and gendered colonial British character. It suggests that this contamination destabilizes this character, blurring the line that divides both East and West, fantasy and reality, and argues that the Oriental institution of the harem, the artistic representations of women as illustrated by the Orientalist portrait of Cleopatra and the actress playing Vashti and, finally, M. Paul, represent the different ways in which this character is gendered and orientalized.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Additional Information: 2219/14795
Uncontrolled Keywords: Charlotte Brontë, gender, harem, Orientalism, race, Villette
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences > Department of English Language & Literature
Depositing User: Dr. Aimillia Mohd Ramli
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2012 14:38
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2012 23:08
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/14795

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