BOOKS
06/20/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Bertha In 'Jane Eyre,' Emma In 'Madame Bovary': Were The 'Mad' Heroines Of Victorian Literature Really Sane?

The violent and feral Bertha Rochester in Jane Eyre, the mysterious Woman in White whose escape from an asylum begins Wilkie Collins's gripping thriller, and the terminally delusional Emma in Madame Bovary.

But were they really mad? Would we today recognise them as mentally ill or were our heroines merely misunderstood, not to mention a tad inconvenient?

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