The Prison in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: The Domestic Prison - Essay

Leland Monk (essay date 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Monk, Leland. “The Novel as Prison: Scott's The Heart of Midlothian.Novel 27 (1994): 287-303.

[In the following essay, Monk argues that rather than its brief attention to the actual prison mentioned in its title, the novel's more significant engagement with the theme of imprisonment is its mechanism for discipline. Drawing from the ideas of Michel Foucault, Monk argues that the novel itself acts as a disciplinary structure more effective than a physical prison by compelling the reader's self-regulation.]

“The heart of Midlothian” is the almost affectionate nickname given to Edinburgh's Tolbooth prison by the functionaries of the law in Walter...

(The entire section is 8327 words.)

Laura C. Berry (essay date 1996)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Berry, Laura C. “Acts of Custody and Incarceration in Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.Novel 48 (1996): 32-55.

[In the following essay, Berry incorporates a study of the Infant Custody Bill of 1839 into her analysis of Charlotte and Anne Brontë's novels. Berry argues that the Brontës depict the domestic realm as a place of confinement or imprisonment, and that the issue of child custody illuminates the relationship between individuals and the social and legal structures that contain them.]

If perversity were not so often the defining mode in Brontë criticism, it might seem perverse to assert that Wuthering Heights...

(The entire section is 13571 words.)

Lisa A. Long (essay date 1998)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Long, Lisa A. “Imprisoned in/at Home: Criminal Culture in Rebecca Harding Davis' Margret Howth: A Story of Today.Arizona Quarterly 54, no. 2 (1998): 65-98.

[In the following essay, Long compares the discourse of American prison reform and the discourse of domestic culture in the 1860s, focusing on the work of progressive social critic Rebecca Harding Davis, whose novel Margret Howth connects the struggles of middle-class white women to those of marginalized groups in American culture, especially African Americans and supposed criminals.]

Midway through Rebecca Harding Davis' first novel, Margret Howth: A Story of To-day (1862), her...

(The entire section is 13253 words.)