Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Member

David Coombs, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Erin M Goss

Committee Member

Andy Lemons


Charlotte and Branwell Brontë’s collaborative writing project, the Glass Town saga, is rarely the subject of academic examination that does not analyze it as either a derivative of the works of Sir Walter Scott or a precursor to Jane Eyre and The Professor. This paper instead considers Glass Town as a work of early fantasy, a reading which allows for an examination of colonialism’s relationship to the genre in its infant stages. Connecting Glass Town to nineteenth-century European theories of African history and development, and to articles of African exploration and conquest, I contextualize the colonialist messages contained in the Brontës’ early writings. Establishing Glass Town as a created fantasy world, I show how the Faerie elements of the Brontës’ stories support their fictional, British heroes’ occupation and domination of West Africa. This work calls for a new consideration of the Glass Town saga, not as juvenilia, nor in terms of its relationship to Scott and the later works of Charlotte Brontë, but as a precursor to early-twentieth-century fantasy epics. Such an analysis allows for further examination of fantasy’s relationship to nineteenth-century British colonial expansion.



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