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The Identity of Victorian Fireplaces
The Identity of Victorian Fireplaces

Author(s): Ioana Boghian
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Editura Alma Mater
Keywords: fireplace; cultural space; identity; power; hierarchy; cultural practices

Summary/Abstract: This article is an attempt to reveal how the physical place of the fireplace turns into a cultural space, by analyzing the Victorian cultural practices associated with it. We shall try to show how the concepts of place and social action are connected, and how this connection may construct the identity of a fireplace as cultural space and the identity of its users. For this, we shall refer to some Victorian novels, such as: Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), Charles Dickens’s Dombey and Son (1846-1848) and David Copperfield (1850), and Thomas Hardy ‘s The Return of the Native (1878). Although fireplaces also existed in public places, for example inns, we shall restrict our cultural and semiotic analysis to the fireplace areas found in the private spaces of homes. The paper will provide a brief history of fireplaces, the symbolism of the hearth, the implications of the presence or absence of fire, as well as the Victorians’ use of fireplaces, as represented in the nineteenth-century English novels.

  • Issue Year: 2013
  • Issue No: 18
  • Page Range: 7-32
  • Page Count: 25
  • Language: English