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The World in PlayPortraits of a Victorian Concept$
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Matthew Kaiser

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804776080

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804776080.001.0001

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Toying with the Future in Wuthering Heights

Toying with the Future in Wuthering Heights

Chapter:
(p.85) Chapter 3 Toying with the Future in Wuthering Heights
Source:
The World in Play
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804776080.003.0004

This chapter examines the existential musings in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847). It reads this novel as a polemic against the middle-class pedagogization of child play, and against the modern impulse to transform play activity in children into an industrious expression of psychic development. Invoking the circular logic of cosmic time, Brontë plucks the ludic child from the stifling telos of domesticity and forges instead a future-destroying model of child play that refuses to subordinate itself to the demands of socialization. It is a refusal that leads to a sacred death, which is more life-affirming, in Brontë's eyes, than life.

Keywords:   Emily Brontë, existentialism, child play, domesticity, socialization, Victorians

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