Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Vol. 1

We had our Twitter discussion of volume 1 of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall last night. We covered ground like

  • the preface (would it be seen as too confrontational in today’s writing environment?),
  • similarities to/deviations from Austen (e.g., Reverend Milward),
  • the framing device,
  • Gilbert (prig or flawed hero? why does he hit Lawrence? does that make G irredeemable?),
  • the meddling of the villagers,
  • Gilbert as a stand-in for Branwell Bronte,
  • the many negative male characters,
  • the female characters as different reactions to social limits,
  • Helen’s art as metaphor,
  • and various literary references in the text.

It was a fast-paced discussion and a lot of fun. But I know that not everyone is on Twitter, the time wasn’t convenient for everyone, and of course the 140-character limit can constrain discussion. So what thought do you have on volume 1? What are you looking forward to in volumes 2 and 3?