ballet romantique dans Cycnos


Cycnos | Volume 25 Spécial - 2008

“Delicate and Aerial”: The Vanishing Body in Jane Eyre

I argue that Jane Eyre shows how the desirability of the disappearing body, a primary trope in Romantic ballet, is also encoded into contemporaneous Victorian fiction. Jane’s desire for disappearance—she attempts to erase her body, or vanish through self-starvation—resonates with the sensual rhetoric of vanishing sylphides and fairies that drives Romantic ballet narratives. The Romantic ballet’s combination of ethereal characters and eroticized dancers is reworked into the Victorian femininity depicted within Brontë’s novel: Jane inscribes a specific kind of eroticism on her frame in what can be seen as almost a reversal of the idealized Romantic ballet body. Paradoxically, as she removes her flesh in order to not be seen, Jane makes her vanishing body more visible, attractive, and desirable to Rochester: this complex figuration of starvation and idealization, I contend, internalizes Romantic ballet within Jane Eyre.

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