The Brontë Sisters: Anne, Emily and Charlotte were some of the greatest contributors to the literature we love. Their books didn’t abide by the norm. Instead they were original and creative. The sisters had a talent for giving their characters depth and complexity which only few writers could pen down. They created a legacy which has been passed down for generations. Yet, their lives weren’t always perfect. Tragedy was regular for the Brontë’s, with the deaths of first their mother, and then of their two older sisters.
“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
-Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Emily is best known for her only piece of work ever published- Wuthering Heights, an original and exciting book, portraying the dark and twisted face of love. She published her works under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. Her inspiration could be found in authors like Percy Shelley and Lord Byron. Emily was described as the shy and mysterious one in the family. The second youngest, she found occupation as a teacher in Law Hill School.
Yet, she had to return due to her fragile health. Her book, Wuthering Heights, was published in 1847, yet she didn’t live to see the success of her novel. She died at the age of 30, a few months after her brother Branwell’s death. It is said that she had grown so narrow and small that her coffin only measured 16 inches wide. Her work is now regarded as literary classic.
“’I am not an angel,’ I asserted; ‘and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself.”
-Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Charlotte was the oldest of the surviving Brontë sisters, who published her works under the pseudonym of Currer Bell, to veil her gender from the public. She was employed as a governess, a job she didn’t like, due to the abysmal treatment she received from her employers. Her first manuscript, The Professor, never found a publisher, but her second one, Jane Eyre, was her most famous and well known work. She was one of the few authors, who wrote the book from a female perspective. A governess, who falls in love with her employer, yet discovers that his crazy wife has been locked up in the attic the whole time. It was dramatic and ground-breaking, and found great success as well as positive reviews from critics. She published her last book, Villette, in 1853. The last surviving member of the family, she lost all remaining siblings within a span of ten months Brontë died at the age of 38, along with her unborn child.
“What a fool you must be,” said my head to my heart, or my sterner to my softer self.”
-Anne Brontë, Agnes Grey
Anne was the youngest member of her family, and the least known, partly due to the delay in the re-publishing of her book The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. She too worked as a governess, but was later dismissed by her employers. Her debut novel, Agnes Grey was published in 1847 under the pseudonym Acton Bell, which was based largely on her own experiences as a governess. She drew inspiration from real life for her writing. This concept of realism was common amongst the sisters. Her second work, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, is described as a shocking and disturbing contemporary Victorian novel. Yet, it was well received and an instant success. Anne died at the age of 29, shortly after her sister Emily’s demise.