Shuhita Bhattacharjee

Shuhita Bhattacharjee

Shuhita Bhattacharjee

Shuhita Bhattacharjee is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Presidency University located in Kolkata, India.  Dr. Bhattacharjee has written often on the intersection of religion and colonization in the nineteenth century, particularly in regards to faith and doubt in women’s experiences.  Her graduate work at the University of Iowa focused on British New Woman novels, the experience of the religious, colonial, and gendered Other, and the effect of the Other on British appreciation of the religious “impossible”/miraculous.  Additional areas of interest for Dr. Bhattacharjee include material print items and cultural reception, anxiety and bodies in Victorian Literature, and detective fiction in the Victorian Era.  Along with her degrees in English, Dr. Bhattacharjee also holds a Masters in Philosophy from Jadavpur University. 

Dr. Bhattacharjee will be presenting a paper entitled “The New Woman of New Faith: Narratives of Doubt and Refashioned Faith in New Woman Novels.”  Through an examination of Ella Hepworth Dixon’s The Story of a Modern Woman, Mary Cholmondeley’s Red Pottage, and Grant Allen’s The Typewriter Girl, Dr. Bhattacharjee positions the New Woman as the one who defies the binaries of rational Protestantism and secularism and of the secular man and spiritual woman.  The New Woman escapes these binaries through the work of redefining her faith in the context of a successful public life and bodily acts of suffering.  Thus, Dr. Bhattacharjee’s paper, as an examination of the nineteenth century’s New Woman movement, critiques the belief that feminism and religion are at odds with one another – a belief that continues even today.

Dr. Bhattacharjee has worked and published not only in academia, but also in the social sector on issues concerning violence against women.  In 2001, she was elected President of UNICEF’s Children’s Borough Council, Calcutta, India, for Social Activism.

 

Reginald Cholmondeley (1826-96) was the uncle of Mary Cholmondeley (1859-1925), whose book Red Pottage is considered a work of the New Woman Movement and appears in Dr. Shuhita Bhattacharjee’s presentation. Reginald Cholmondeley inherited Condover Hall in Shropshire, England, near Shrewsbury, and from there he and his wife Alice Mary Cholmondeley, a poet, hosted members of the international literary community including, of course, his niece Mary, but also Mark Twain and Robert Browning.

Letter from Reginald Cholmondeley to Robert Browning, 25 June [1871].

(Click to see all pages and envelope)

Letter from Reginald Cholmondeley to Robert Browning. 25 June [1871].

In this letter, Reginald discusses with Browning the title and dedication needed on a book of poems written by Reginald’s wife, Alice Mary Cholmondeley, who passed away in 1868.  Alice Mary Cholmondeley was the aunt of Mary Cholmondeley (1859-1925), the author of Red Pottage.   The book of poems written by Alice Mary Cholmondeley discussed below exists under the title suggested: Poems by A.C.

I have arranged with Smith about everything except title & dedication[.]

What do you propose for title? I have not an idea further than Poems by AC[.]

As to dedication, I propose the following [:]
To Robert Browning[:] these verses would have been dedicated by the affectionate author A.C. obt Nov 27. 1868.
A copy of the book for correction will very shortly be sent to you. Would you kindly cause to be delivered to Nettleship the little private manuscript of poems. I wish him to make a wood block of the lamp
[.]

I burn; to give light[.]

Letter from Reginald Cholmondeley to Robert Browning, [3] May [1873]. <br />

(Click to see both pages and envelope)

Letter from Reginald Cholmondeley to Robert Browning. [3] May [1873].

In this letter, Reginald Cholmondeley discusses the location of Kirconnel Lea, a place mentioned in a famous Scottish ballad published in the early nineteenth century by Walter Scott in The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Volume 2.

Nobody seems to know where “Kirconnel Lea” was, as I shall want to paint a real background. Let us be truthful or nothing. There was water near for I remember this

As I went down the water side
None but my foe to be my guide
None but my foe to be my guide
On fair Kirconnel lea

Palgrave is likely to know. I much want to know Carlyle. Would you bring him here to dinner some day. You can tell him that there is a “tabajie” here.

Letter from Robert Browning to Reginald Cholmondeley. Undated.

(Click to enlarge)

Letter from Robert Browning to Reginald Cholmondeley. Undated.

This letter appears to be a greeting from Robert Browning to Reginald Cholmondeley in which the weather and Cholmondeley’s home, Condover Hall, are mentioned.

Does your purpose hold? Here is a brilliant day—with us, even: how it must light up Condover, and make the beasts circulate in their cages!

Letter from Robert Browning to William Hepworth Dixon, 3 June 1863.

(Click to see both pages)

Letter from Robert Browning to William Hepworth Dixon. 3 June 1869.

William Hepworth Dixon (1821-79) was a British author, editor, historian, and traveler.  His work also carried him into the realm of social activist.  Born to an established Puritan family, Dixon appears to have valued education for all his children.  One of these children, the seventh, Ella Hepworth Dixon wrote what is considered a New Woman novel, The Story of a Modern Woman, to be discussed in Dr. Shuhita Bhattacharjee’s presentation.

In this letter, Browning turns down an invitation from William Hepworth Dixon to meet a Mr. Ripley and view an Induction Coil, which was a type of electrical transformer.

Thank you very much for your kind remembrance of me on so pleasant an occasion: but I am unluckily engaged. It is the second time that I have been tempted with the company of Mr Ripley: and I miss it again with real regret.

Thank you also for the offer about the “Induction Coil”: but, interesting as it needs must be, I never expressed a desire to see it: you offer me what somebody else is anxious for, I can well believe. Your goodness is the same.

Letter from Robert Browning to William Hepworth Dixon, 11 July 1868.

(Click to enlarge)

Letter from Robert Browning to William Hepworth Dixon, 11 July 1868.

In this letter, Browning expresses hope that he will be able to meet with Dixon.

I don’t sup nor smoke,—but your company will “tempt me” if these do not: that is, if I possibly can get away in time from a place a good way off where I have to be, I will gladly do so: but if I am beaten in the endeavour, you must forgive. . . .

Letter from Robert Browning to Mrs. William Hepworth Dixon. 16 January 1873.

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Letter from Robert Browning to Mrs. William Hepworth Dixon. 16 January 1873.

Robert Browning declines Mrs. Hepworth’s invitation, but accepts for his son, Pen, if he is in town.

I beg to thank you exceedingly for your kind invitation. I fear it is out of my power to accept it, myself, as I keep at home of evenings as much as possible: but if my son be in Town,—he is in the country at present,—he desires me to say that he will be happy to go to you on the 21st.

Gleeson White. Letters to Eminent Hands, by "i". Derby, Leicester, and Nottingham: Frank Murray, 1892.

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Gleeson White. Letters to Eminent Hands, by "i". Derby, Leicester, and Nottingham: Frank Murray, 1892.

This volume is a series of letters written by Gleeson White, an English writer on art, to various authors, including Grant Allen, Canadian science writer, novelist, and proponent of evolution.

 

 

 - Exhibition Text by Lois Johnson

Shuhita Bhattacharjee