In a parson’s cottage outside the tiny hamlet of Haworth, England, there lived three sisters. They shared a home with their curate father, and a brother who loved to paint. Their names were Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte. As adults, they wrote some of the most loved and powerful novels in the English language.
After failed attempts at careers as governesses, the sisters wrote a novel each, submitting them to different publishers in England. Charlotte asked advice of a popular publisher and was told that women should never attempt to write. Defiantly sure of their talent, they published under pen names until their work was accepted, and took the literary world by storm.
Many of the Bronte sisters’ works can be found here. Charlotte’s “Jane Eyre” is possibly her most famous novel, but only one of four she published in her life. The others were “The Professor”, “Shirley” and “Villette”. Don’t have time to read? No excuse! Movie adaptations of “Jane Eyre” are also available in many DVD versions.
Emily was primarily a writer of poetry, but her “Wuthering Heights” is a novel almost every high school student knows well. Her love story of the wild Catherine and Heathcliff is passionate, tragic, and hopeful.
Anne Bronte published two novels in her lifetime; they are “Tenant of Wildfell Hall” and “Agnes Grey”. Both are the stories of independent women trying to live a Victorian life. The “Tenant of Wildfell Hall” has been called “the novel that rocked England”, as it portrayed a woman who is abused and wronged by her husband, and so she leaves him, taking her young child with her. These themes were virtually unheard of in “polite society”, and scandalous for a woman to write about, even in a novel!
Branwell, an alcoholic and addict, died at the age of 31 in 1848. Emily died 3 months after Branwell, at the age of 30, from tuberculosis. In May of 1849, only 6 months after Emily’s death, Anne also succumbed to illness, and died at the age of 29. Charlotte reeled from the death of her siblings in such close succession. There was momentary happiness in her marriage to her father’s associate in 1854. Sadly, she died in the early days of her first pregnancy.
Though the Brontes ultimately died very young, their brilliant stories endure. Why not delve into this rich family legacy and pick up a novel or movie today?