War Trauma and Alcoholism in the Early Writings of Charlotte and Branwell Brontë

TitleWar Trauma and Alcoholism in the Early Writings of Charlotte and Branwell Brontë
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsButcher, Emma
JournalJournal of Victorian Culture
Pagination465 - 481
Date Published12/2017

During and after the Napoleonic Wars, there was an outpouring of military-based biographical writing never before seen in British history. Over 200 military memoirs were published either as standalone entities or in periodicals, bringing the experiences of ordinary soldiers to the forefront of Britain’s public consciousness. This article attempts to reposition and establish Charlotte and Branwell Brontë as significant post-war commentators. By focusing on their military reading, it will become clear how they vicariously processed and reimagined war trauma and addiction through their Glass Town and Angrian sagas. Not only does this article argue that the introduction of military biography into British society generated wide-scale recognition of war trauma, despite its absence within contemporary medical discourse, but it also argues that the young Brontës’ literature is an important historical source for understanding and re-evaluating the public response to post-war military masculinity.

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