Brontë family

From Wikipedia for FEVERv2
(Redirected from Brontë sisters)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Brontë" redirects here. Brontë family_sentence_0

For other uses, see Brontë (disambiguation). Brontë family_sentence_1

"Elizabeth Brontë" redirects here. Brontë family_sentence_2

For the Witchblade character, see Elizabeth Brontë (Witchblade). Brontë family_sentence_3

The Brontës (/ˈbrɒntiz/) were a nineteenth-century literary family, born in the village of Thornton and later associated with the village of Haworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. Brontë family_sentence_4

The sisters, Charlotte (1816–1855), Emily (1818–1848), and Anne (1820–1849), are well known as poets and novelists. Brontë family_sentence_5

Like many contemporary female writers, they originally published their poems and novels under male pseudonyms: Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Brontë family_sentence_6

Their stories immediately attracted attention for their passion and originality. Brontë family_sentence_7

Charlotte's Jane Eyre was the first to know success, while Emily's Wuthering Heights, Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and other works were later to be accepted as masterpieces of literature. Brontë family_sentence_8

The three sisters and their brother, Branwell (1817–1848), were very close and during childhood developed their imaginations first through oral storytelling and play set in an intricate imaginary world, and then through the collaborative writing of increasingly complex stories set therein. Brontë family_sentence_9

The deaths of first their mother, and then of their two older sisters marked them profoundly and influenced their writing, as did the relative isolation in which they were raised. Brontë family_sentence_10

The Brontë birthplace in Thornton is a place of pilgrimage and their later home, the parsonage at Haworth in Yorkshire, now the Brontë Parsonage Museum, welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Brontë family_sentence_11

Origin of the name 1830–1852 Brontë family_section_0

The Brontë family can be traced to the Irish clan Ó Pronntaigh, which literally means "descendant of Pronntach". Brontë family_sentence_12

They were a family of hereditary scribes and literary men in Fermanagh. Brontë family_sentence_13

The version Ó Proinntigh, which was first given by Patrick Woulfe in his Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall (Surnames of the Gael and the Foreigner) and reproduced without question by MacLysaght inter alia, cannot be accepted as correct, as there were a number of well-known scribes with this name writing in Irish in the 17th and 18th centuries and all of them used the spelling Ó Pronntaigh. Brontë family_sentence_14

The name is derived from the word pronntach or bronntach, which is related to the word bronnadh, meaning giving or bestowal (pronn is given as an Ulster version of bronn in O'Reilly's Irish English Dictionary.) Brontë family_sentence_15

The author of Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall, suggested that it was derived from proinnteach (the refectory of a monastery). Brontë family_sentence_16

Ó Pronntaigh was earlier anglicised as Prunty and sometimes Brunty. Brontë family_sentence_17

At some point, the father of the sisters, Patrick Brontë (born Brunty), decided on the alternative spelling with the diaeresis over the terminal e to indicate that the name has two syllables. Brontë family_sentence_18

It is not known for certain what motivated him to do so, and multiple theories exist to account for the change. Brontë family_sentence_19

He may have wished to hide his humble origins. Brontë family_sentence_20

As a man of letters, he would have been familiar with classical Greek and may have chosen the name after the Greek ("thunder"). Brontë family_sentence_21

One view, put forward by the biographer C. Brontë family_sentence_22 K. Shorter in 1896, is that he adapted his name to associate himself with Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was also Duke of Bronté. Brontë family_sentence_23

Evidence for this may be found in his desire to associate himself with the Duke of Wellington in his form of dress. Brontë family_sentence_24

Members of the Brontë family Brontë family_section_1

Patrick Brontë Brontë family_section_2

Patrick Brontë (17 March 1777 – 7 June 1861), the Brontë sisters' father, was born in Loughbrickland, County Down, Ireland, of a family of farm workers of moderate means. Brontë family_sentence_25

His birth name was Patrick Prunty or Brunty. Brontë family_sentence_26

His mother, Alice McClory, was of the Roman Catholic faith, whilst his father Hugh was a Protestant, and Patrick was brought up in his father's faith. Brontë family_sentence_27

He was a bright young man and, after being taught by the Rev. Brontë family_sentence_28

Thomas Tighe, he won a scholarship to St John's College, Cambridge, where he studied divinity and ancient and modern history. Brontë family_sentence_29

Attending Cambridge may have made him think his name was too Irish, and he changed its spelling to Brontë, perhaps in honour of Horatio Nelson, whom Patrick admired. Brontë family_sentence_30

However, a more likely reason may have been that his brother, William, was 'on the run' from the authorities for his involvement with the radical United Irishmen, and he wanted to distance himself from the name Prunty. Brontë family_sentence_31

Having obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, he was ordained on 10 August 1806. Brontë family_sentence_32

He is the author of Cottage Poems (1811), The Rural Minstrel (1814), numerous pamphlets and newspaper articles, and various rural poems. Brontë family_sentence_33

In 1812, he met and married 29-year-old Maria Branwell and by 1820 they had moved into the parsonage at Haworth where he took up the post of Perpetual Curate (Haworth was an ancient chapelry in the large parish of Bradford, so he could not be rector or vicar.) Brontë family_sentence_34

They had six children. Brontë family_sentence_35

On the death of his wife in 1821, his sister in law, Elizabeth Branwell, came from Penzance, Cornwall to help him bring up the children. Brontë family_sentence_36

Open, intelligent, generous, and personally taking care of their education, he bought all the books and toys the children asked for and accorded them great freedom and unconditional love, but nevertheless embittered their lives due to his eccentric habits and peculiar theories of education. Brontë family_sentence_37

After several unlucky attempts to seek a new spouse, Patrick came to terms with widowerhood at the age of 47, and spent his time visiting the sick and the poor, giving sermons and administering communion, leaving the three sisters Emily, Charlotte, Anne, and their brother Branwell alone with their aunt and a maid, Tabitha Aykroyd (Tabby), who tirelessly recounted local legends in her Yorkshire dialect while preparing the meals. Brontë family_sentence_38

He survived his entire family, and six years after Charlotte's death he died in 1861 at the age of 84. Brontë family_sentence_39

At the end he was helped by his son-in-law, the Rev. Brontë family_sentence_40

Arthur Bell Nicholls. Brontë family_sentence_41

Maria, née Branwell Brontë family_section_3

Main article: Maria Branwell Brontë family_sentence_42

Patrick's wife Maria Brontë, née Branwell, (15 April 1783 – 15 September 1821), originated in Penzance, Cornwall, and came from a comfortably well off, middle-class family. Brontë family_sentence_43

Her father had a flourishing tea and grocery store and had accumulated considerable wealth. Brontë family_sentence_44

Maria died at the age of 38 of uterine cancer. Brontë family_sentence_45

She married the same day as her younger sister Charlotte in the church at Guiseley after her fiancé had celebrated the union of two other couples. Brontë family_sentence_46

She was a literate and pious woman, known for her lively spirit, joyfulness, and tenderness, and it was she who designed the samplers that are on display in the museum and had them embroidered by her children. Brontë family_sentence_47

She left memories with her husband and with Charlotte, the oldest surviving sibling, of a very vivacious woman at the parsonage. Brontë family_sentence_48

The younger ones, particularly Emily and Anne, admitted to retaining only vague images of their mother, especially of her suffering on her sickbed. Brontë family_sentence_49

Elizabeth Branwell Brontë family_section_4

Main article: Elizabeth Branwell Brontë family_sentence_50

Elizabeth Branwell (2 December 1776 – 29 October 1842) arrived from Penzance in 1821, aged 45, after the death of Maria, her younger sister, to help Patrick look after the children, and was known as 'Aunt Branwell'. Brontë family_sentence_51

Elizabeth Branwell, who raised the children after the death of their mother, was a Methodist. Brontë family_sentence_52

It seems, nevertheless, that her denomination did not exert any influence on the children. Brontë family_sentence_53

It was Aunt Branwell who taught the children arithmetic, the alphabet, how to sew, embroidery and cross-stitching appropriate for ladies. Brontë family_sentence_54

Aunt Branwell also gave them books and subscribed to Fraser's Magazine, less interesting than Blackwood's, but, nevertheless, providing plenty of material for discussion. Brontë family_sentence_55

She was a generous person who dedicated her life to her nieces and nephew, neither marrying nor returning to visit her relations in Cornwall. Brontë family_sentence_56

She died of bowel obstruction in October 1842, after a brief agony, comforted by her beloved nephew Branwell. Brontë family_sentence_57

In her last will, Aunt Branwell left to her three nieces the considerable sum of £900 (about £95,700 in 2017 currency), which allowed them to resign their low-paid jobs as governesses and teachers. Brontë family_sentence_58

Children Brontë family_section_5

Maria (1814–1825), the eldest, was born in Clough House, High Town, on 23 April 1814. Brontë family_sentence_59

She suffered from hunger, cold, and privation at Cowan Bridge School. Brontë family_sentence_60

Charlotte described her as very lively, very sensitive, and particularly advanced in her reading. Brontë family_sentence_61

She returned from school with an advanced case of tuberculosis and died at Haworth at the age of 11 on 6 May 1825. Brontë family_sentence_62

Elizabeth (1815–1825), the second child, joined her sister Maria at Cowan Bridge where she suffered the same fate. Brontë family_sentence_63

Elizabeth was less vivacious than her brother and her sisters and apparently less advanced for her age. Brontë family_sentence_64

She died on 15 June 1825 at the age of 10, within two weeks of returning home to her father. Brontë family_sentence_65

Charlotte (1816–1855), born in Market Street Thornton, near Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, on 21 April 1816, was a poet and novelist and is the author of Jane Eyre, her best known work, and three other novels. Brontë family_sentence_66

She died on 31 March 1855 just before reaching the age of 39. Brontë family_sentence_67

Patrick Branwell (1817–1848) was born in Market Street Thornton on 26 June 1817. Brontë family_sentence_68

Known as Branwell, he was a painter, writer and casual worker. Brontë family_sentence_69

He became addicted to alcohol and laudanum and died at Haworth on 24 September 1848 at the age of 31. Brontë family_sentence_70

Emily Jane (1818–1848), born in Market Street Thornton, 30 July 1818, was a poet and novelist. Brontë family_sentence_71

She died in Haworth on 19 December 1848 at the age of 30. Brontë family_sentence_72

Wuthering Heights was her only novel. Brontë family_sentence_73

Anne (1820–1849), born in Market Street Thornton on 17 January 1820, was a poet and novelist. Brontë family_sentence_74

She wrote a largely autobiographical novel entitled Agnes Grey, but her second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), was far more ambitious. Brontë family_sentence_75

She died on 28 May 1849 in Scarborough at the age of 29. Brontë family_sentence_76

Education Brontë family_section_6

Cowan Bridge School Brontë family_section_7

In 1824, the four eldest girls (excluding Anne) entered the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge, which educated the children of less prosperous members of the clergy, which had been recommended to Mr Brontë. Brontë family_sentence_77

The following year, Maria and Elizabeth fell gravely ill and were removed from the school, but died shortly afterwards within a few weeks of each other on 6 May and 15 June 1825. Brontë family_sentence_78

Charlotte and Emily were also withdrawn from the school and returned to Haworth. Brontë family_sentence_79

The loss of their sisters was a trauma that showed in Charlotte's writing. Brontë family_sentence_80

In Jane Eyre, Cowan Bridge becomes Lowood, Maria is represented by the character of the young Helen Burns, the cruelty of the mistress Miss Andrews by that of Miss Scatcherd, and the tyranny of the headmaster, the Rev. Brontë family_sentence_81 Carus Wilson, by that of Mr Brocklehurst. Brontë family_sentence_82

Tuberculosis, which afflicted Maria and Elizabeth in 1825, was the eventual cause of death of three of the surviving Brontës: Branwell in September 1848, Emily in December 1848, and finally, Anne five months later in May 1849. Brontë family_sentence_83

Patrick Brontë faced a challenge in arranging for the education of the girls of his family, which was barely middle class. Brontë family_sentence_84

They had no significant connections and he could not afford the fees for them to attend an established school for young ladies. Brontë family_sentence_85

One solution was the schools where the fees were reduced to a minimum – so called "charity schools" – with a mission to assist families such as those of the lower clergy. Brontë family_sentence_86

One cannot accuse Mr. Brontë of not having done everything possible to find a solution that he thought would be best for his daughters. Brontë family_sentence_87

As Barker comments, he had read in the Leeds Intelligencer of 6 November 1823 the reports of cases in the Court of Commons in Bowes, and he later read other cases decided on 24 November 1824 near Richmond, two towns in the county of Yorkshire, where pupils had been discovered gnawed by rats and suffering from malnutrition to the extent that some of them had lost their sight. Brontë family_sentence_88

There was nothing to suggest that the Reverend Carus Wilson's Clergy Daughters' School would not provide a good education and good care for his daughters. Brontë family_sentence_89

The school was not expensive, and its patrons (supporters who allowed the school to use their names) were all respected people. Brontë family_sentence_90

Among these was the daughter of Hannah More, a religious author and philanthropist who took a particular interest in education and was a close friend of the poet William Cowper, like her a proponent of a correct education for young girls. Brontë family_sentence_91

The pupils included the offspring of different prelates and even certain acquaintances of Patrick Brontë including William Wilberforce, young women whose fathers had also been educated at St John's College, Cambridge. Brontë family_sentence_92

Thus Brontë believed Wilson's school to have a number of the necessary guarantees. Brontë family_sentence_93

John Bradley Brontë family_section_8

Main article: John Bradley (d. 1844) Brontë family_sentence_94

In 1829–30, Patrick Brontë engaged John Bradley, an artist from neighbouring Keighley, as drawing-master for the children. Brontë family_sentence_95

Bradley was an artist of some local repute, rather than a professional instructor, but he may well have fostered Branwell's enthusiasm for art and architecture. Brontë family_sentence_96

Miss Wooler's school Brontë family_section_9

In 1831, 14-year-old Charlotte was enrolled at the school of Miss Wooler in Roe Head, Mirfield. Brontë family_sentence_97

Patrick could have sent his daughter to a less costly school in Keighley nearer home but Miss Wooler and her sisters had a good reputation and he remembered the building which he passed when strolling around the parishes of Kirklees, Dewsbury, and Hartshead-cum-Clifton where he was vicar. Brontë family_sentence_98

Margaret Wooler showed fondness towards the sisters and she accompanied Charlotte to the altar at her marriage. Brontë family_sentence_99

Patrick's choice of school was excellent – Charlotte was happy there and studied well. Brontë family_sentence_100

She made many lifelong friends, in particular Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor who later went to New Zealand before returning to England. Brontë family_sentence_101

Charlotte returned from Roe Head in June 1832, missing her friends, but happy to rejoin her family. Brontë family_sentence_102

Three years later, Miss Wooler offered her former pupil a position as her assistant. Brontë family_sentence_103

The family decided that Emily would accompany her to pursue studies that would otherwise have been unaffordable. Brontë family_sentence_104

Emily's fees were partly covered by Charlotte's salary. Brontë family_sentence_105

Emily was 17 and it was the first time she had left Haworth since leaving Cowan Bridge. Brontë family_sentence_106

On 29 July 1835, the sisters left for Roe Head. Brontë family_sentence_107

The same day, Branwell wrote a letter to the Royal Academy of Art in London, to present several of his drawings as part of his candidature as a probationary student. Brontë family_sentence_108

Charlotte taught, and wrote about her students without much sympathy. Brontë family_sentence_109

Emily did not settle and after three months she seemed to decline and had to be taken home to the parsonage. Brontë family_sentence_110

Anne took her place and stayed until Christmas 1837. Brontë family_sentence_111

Charlotte avoided boredom by following the development of Angria which she received in letters from her brother. Brontë family_sentence_112

During holidays at Haworth, she wrote long narratives while being reproached by her father who wanted her to become more involved in parish affairs. Brontë family_sentence_113

These were coming to a head over the imposition of the Church rates, a local tax levied on parishes where the majority of the population were dissenters. Brontë family_sentence_114

In the meantime, Miss Wooler moved to Heald's House, at Dewsbury Moor, where Charlotte complained about the humidity that made her unwell. Brontë family_sentence_115

Upon leaving the establishment in 1838 Miss Wooler presented her with a parting gift of The Vision of Don Roderick and Rokeby, a collection of poems by Walter Scott. Brontë family_sentence_116

Literary evolution Brontë family_section_10

The children became interested in writing from an early age, initially as a game which later matured into a passion. Brontë family_sentence_117

Although they all displayed a talent for narrative, it was the younger ones whose pastime it became to develop them. Brontë family_sentence_118

At the centre of the children's creativity were twelve wooden soldiers which Patrick Brontë gave to Branwell at the beginning of June 1826. Brontë family_sentence_119

These toy soldiers instantly fired their imaginations and they spoke of them as the Young Men, and gave them names. Brontë family_sentence_120

However, it was not until December 1827 that their ideas took written form, and the imaginary African kingdom of Glass Town came into existence, followed by the Empire of Angria. Brontë family_sentence_121

Emily and Anne created Gondal, an island continent in the North Pacific, ruled by a woman, after the departure of Charlotte in 1831. Brontë family_sentence_122

In the beginning, these stories were written in little books, the size of a matchbox (about 1.5 x 2.5 inches—3.8 x 6.4 cm), and cursorily bound with thread. Brontë family_sentence_123

The pages were filled with close, minute writing, often in capital letters without punctuation and embellished with illustrations, detailed maps, schemes, landscapes, and plans of buildings, created by the children according to their specialisations. Brontë family_sentence_124

The idea was that the books were of a size for the soldiers to read. Brontë family_sentence_125

The complexity of the stories matured as the children's imaginations developed, fed by reading the three weekly or monthly magazines to which their father had subscribed, or the newspapers that were bought daily from John Greenwood's local news and stationery store. Brontë family_sentence_126

Literary and artistic influence Brontë family_section_11

These fictional worlds were the product of fertile imagination fed by reading, discussion, and a passion for literature. Brontë family_sentence_127

Far from suffering from the negative influences that never left them and which were reflected in the works of their later, more mature years, the Brontë children absorbed them with open arms. Brontë family_sentence_128

Press Brontë family_section_12

The periodicals that Patrick Brontë read were a mine of information for his children. Brontë family_sentence_129

The Leeds Intelligencer and Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, conservative and well written, but better than the Quarterly Review that defended the same political ideas whilst addressing a less refined readership (the reason Mr. Brontë did not read it), were exploited in every detail. Brontë family_sentence_130

Blackwood's Magazine in particular, was not only the source of their knowledge of world affairs, but also provided material for the Brontës' early writing. Brontë family_sentence_131

For instance, an article in the June 1826 number of Blackwood’s, provides commentary on new discoveries from the exploration of central Africa. Brontë family_sentence_132

The map included with the article highlights geographical features the Brontës reference in their tales: the Jibbel Kumera (the Mountains of the Moon), Ashantee, and the rivers Niger and Calabar. Brontë family_sentence_133

The author also advises the British to expand into Africa from Fernando Po, where, Christine Alexander notes, the Brontë children locate the Great Glass Town. Brontë family_sentence_134

Their knowledge of geography was completed by Goldsmith's Grammar of General Geography, which the Brontës owned and heavily annotated. Brontë family_sentence_135

Lord Byron Brontë family_section_13

From 1833, Charlotte and Branwell's Angrian tales begin to feature Byronic heroes who have a strong sexual magnetism and passionate spirit, and demonstrate arrogance and even black-heartedness. Brontë family_sentence_136

Again, it is in an article in Blackwood's Magazine from August 1825 that they discover the poet for the first time; he had died the previous year. Brontë family_sentence_137

From this moment, the name Byron became synonymous with all the prohibitions and audacities as if it had stirred up the very essence of the rise of those forbidden things. Brontë family_sentence_138

Branwell's Charlotte Zamorna, one of the heroes of Verdopolis, tends towards increasingly ambiguous behaviour, and the same influence and evolution recur with the Brontës, especially in the characters of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, and Mr. Brontë family_sentence_139 Rochester in Jane Eyre, who display the traits of a Byronic hero. Brontë family_sentence_140

Numerous other works have left their mark on the Brontës—the Thousand and One Nights for example, which inspired jinn in which they became themselves in the centre of their kingdoms, while adding a touch of exoticism. Brontë family_sentence_141

John Martin Brontë family_section_14

The children's imagination was also influenced by three prints of engravings in mezzotint by John Martin around 1820. Brontë family_sentence_142

Charlotte and Branwell made copies of the prints Belshazzar's Feast, Déluge, and Joshua Commanding the Sun to Stand Still upon Gibeon (1816), which hung on the walls of the parsonage. Brontë family_sentence_143

Martin's fantastic architecture is reflected in the Glass Town and Angrian writings, where he appears himself among Branwell's characters and under the name of Edward de Lisle, the greatest painter and portraitist of Verdopolis, the capital of Glass Town. Brontë family_sentence_144

One of Sir Edward de Lisle's major works, Les Quatre Genii en Conseil, is inspired by Martin's illustration for John Milton's Paradise Lost. Brontë family_sentence_145

Together with Byron, John Martin seems to have been one of the artistic influences essential to the Brontës' universe. Brontë family_sentence_146

Anne's morals and realism Brontë family_section_15

The influence revealed by Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is much less clear. Brontë family_sentence_147

Anne's works are largely founded on her experience as a governess and on that of her brother's decline. Brontë family_sentence_148

Furthermore, they demonstrate her conviction, a legacy from her father, that books should provide moral education. Brontë family_sentence_149

This sense of moral duty and the need to record it, are more evident in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Brontë family_sentence_150

The influence of the gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, Gregory "Monk" Lewis and Charles Maturin is noticeable, and that of Walter Scott too, if only because the heroine, abandoned and left alone, resists not only by her almost supernatural talents, but by her powerful temperament. Brontë family_sentence_151

Jane Eyre, Agnes Grey, then The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Shirley, Villette and even The Professor present a linear structure concerning a character who advances through life after several trials and tribulations, to find a kind of happiness in love and virtue, recalling the works of religious inspiration of the 17th century such as John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress or his Grace abounding to the Chief of Sinners. Brontë family_sentence_152

In a more profane manner, the hero or heroine follows a picaresque itinerary such as in Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616), Daniel Defoe (1660–1731), Henry Fielding (1707–1764) and Tobias Smollett (1721–1771). Brontë family_sentence_153

This lively tradition continued into the 19th century with the rags to riches genre to which almost all the great Victorian romancers have contributed. Brontë family_sentence_154

The protagonist is thrown by fate into poverty and after many difficulties achieves a golden happiness. Brontë family_sentence_155

Often an artifice is employed to effect the passage from one state to another such as an unexpected inheritance, a miraculous gift, grand reunions, etc. and in a sense, it is the route followed by Charlotte's and Anne's protagonists, even if the riches they win are more those of the heart than of the wallet. Brontë family_sentence_156

Apart from its Gothic elements, Wuthering Heights moves like a Greek tragedy and possesses its music, the cosmic dimensions of the epics of John Milton, and the power of the Shakespearian theatre. Brontë family_sentence_157

One can hear the echoes of King Lear as well as the completely different characters of Romeo and Juliet. Brontë family_sentence_158

The Brontës were also seduced by the writings of Walter Scott, and in 1834 Charlotte exclaimed, "For fiction, read Walter Scott and only him – all novels after his are without value." Brontë family_sentence_159

Governesses and Charlotte's idea Brontë family_section_16

Early teaching opportunities Brontë family_section_17

Through their father's influence and their own intellectual curiosity, they were able to benefit from an education that placed them among knowledgeable people, but Mr Brontë's emoluments were modest. Brontë family_sentence_160

The only options open to the girls were either marriage or a choice between the professions of school mistress or governess. Brontë family_sentence_161

The Brontë sisters found positions in families educating often rebellious young children, or employment as school teachers. Brontë family_sentence_162

The possibility of becoming a paid companion to a rich and solitary woman might have been a fall-back role but one which would have bored any of the sisters intolerably. Brontë family_sentence_163

Janet Todd's Mary Wollstonecraft, a revolutionary life mentions the predicament, and none of the Brontë girls seems seriously to have considered a similar eventuality. Brontë family_sentence_164

Only Emily never became a governess. Brontë family_sentence_165

Her sole professional experience would be an experiment in teaching during six months of intolerable exile in Miss Patchett's school at Law Hill (between Haworth and Halifax). Brontë family_sentence_166

In contrast, Charlotte had teaching positions at Miss Margaret Wooler's school, and in Brussels with the Hegers. Brontë family_sentence_167

She became governess to the Sidgwicks, the Stonegappes, and the Lotherdales where she worked for several months in 1839, then with Mrs White, at Upperhouse House, Rawdon, from March to September 1841. Brontë family_sentence_168

Anne became a governess and worked for Mrs Ingham, at Blake Hall, Mirfield from April to December 1839, then for Mrs Robinson at Thorp Green Hall, Little Ouseburn, near York, where she also obtained employment for her brother in an attempt to stabilise him; an attempt that proved futile. Brontë family_sentence_169

Working as governesses Brontë family_section_18

The family's finances did not flourish, and Aunt Branwell spent the money with caution. Brontë family_sentence_170

Emily had a visceral need of her home and the countryside that surrounded it, and to leave it would cause her to languish and wither. Brontë family_sentence_171

Charlotte and Anne, being more realistic, did not hesitate in finding work and from April 1839 to December 1841 the two sisters had several posts as governesses. Brontë family_sentence_172

Not staying long with each family, their employment would last for some months or a single season. Brontë family_sentence_173

However, Anne did stay with the Robinsons in Thorp Green where things went well, from May 1840 to June 1845. Brontë family_sentence_174

In the meantime, Charlotte had an idea that would place all the advantages on her side. Brontë family_sentence_175

On advice from her father and friends, she thought that she and her sisters had the intellectual capacity to create a school for young girls in the parsonage where their Sunday School classes took place. Brontë family_sentence_176

It was agreed to offer the future pupils the opportunity of correctly learning modern languages and that preparation for this should be done abroad, which led to a further decision. Brontë family_sentence_177

Among the possibilities Paris and Lille were considered, but were rejected due to aversion to the French. Brontë family_sentence_178

Indeed, the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars had not been forgotten by the Tory spirited and deeply conservative girls. Brontë family_sentence_179

On the recommendation of a pastor based in Brussels, who wanted to be of help, Belgium was chosen, where they could also study German, and music. Brontë family_sentence_180

Aunt Branwell provided the funds for the Brussels project. Brontë family_sentence_181

School project and study trip to Brussels Brontë family_section_19

Charlotte's and Emily's journey to Brussels Brontë family_section_20

See also: Constantin Héger Brontë family_sentence_182

Emily and Charlotte arrived in Brussels in February 1842 accompanied by their father. Brontë family_sentence_183

Once there, they enrolled at Monsieur and Madame Héger's boarding school in the Rue d'Isabelle, for six months. Brontë family_sentence_184

Claire Héger was the second wife of Constantin, and it was she who founded and directed the school while Constantin had the responsibility for the higher French classes. Brontë family_sentence_185

According to Miss Wheelwright, a former pupil, he had the intellect of a genius. Brontë family_sentence_186

He was passionate about his auditorium, demanding many lectures, perspectives, and structured analyses. Brontë family_sentence_187

He was also a good-looking man with regular features, bushy hair, very black whiskers, and wore an excited expression while sounding forth on great authors about whom he invited his students to make a pastiche on general or philosophical themes. Brontë family_sentence_188

The lessons, especially those of Constantin Héger, were very much appreciated by Charlotte, and the two sisters showed exceptional intelligence, although Emily hardly liked her teacher and was somewhat rebellious. Brontë family_sentence_189

Emily learned German and to play the piano with natural brilliance and very quickly the two sisters were writing literary and philosophical essays in an advanced level of French. Brontë family_sentence_190

After six months of study, Mme Héger suggested they stay at the boarding school free of charge, in return for giving some lessons. Brontë family_sentence_191

After much hesitation, the girls accepted. Brontë family_sentence_192

Neither of them felt particularly attached to their students, and only one, Mademoiselle de Bassompierre, then aged 16, later expressed any affection for her teacher, which in Emily's case appeared to be mutual, and made her a gift of a signed, detailed drawing of a storm ravaged pine tree. Brontë family_sentence_193

Return and recall Brontë family_section_21

The death of their aunt in October of the same year forced them to return once more to Haworth. Brontë family_sentence_194

Aunt Branwell had left all her worldly goods in equal shares to her nieces and to Eliza Kingston, a cousin in Penzance, which had the immediate effect of purging all their debts and providing a small reserve of funds. Brontë family_sentence_195

Nevertheless, they were asked to return to Brussels as they were regarded as being competent and were needed. Brontë family_sentence_196

They were each offered teaching posts in the boarding school, still English for Charlotte and music for Emily. Brontë family_sentence_197

However, Charlotte returned alone to Belgium in January 1843, while Emily remained critical of Monsieur Heger, in spite of the excellent opinion he held of her. Brontë family_sentence_198

He later stated that she 'had the spirit of a man', and would probably become a great traveller due to her being gifted with a superior faculty of reason that allowed her to deduce ancient knowledge of new spheres of knowledge, and her unbending willpower would have triumphed over all obstacles. Brontë family_sentence_199

Charlotte returns Brontë family_section_22

Almost a year to the day, enamoured already for some time of Monsieur Héger, Charlotte resigned and returned to Haworth. Brontë family_sentence_200

Her life there had not been without suffering, and on one occasion she ventured into the cathedral and entered a confessional. Brontë family_sentence_201

She may have had intention of converting to Catholicism, but it would only have been for a short time. Brontë family_sentence_202

Life at Haworth had become more difficult during her absence. Brontë family_sentence_203

Mr. Brontë had lost his sight although his cataract had nevertheless been operated on with success in Manchester, and it was there in August 1846, when Charlotte arrived at his bedside that she began to write Jane Eyre. Brontë family_sentence_204

Meanwhile, her brother Branwell fell into a rapid decline punctuated by dramas, drunkenness, and delirium. Brontë family_sentence_205

Due partly to Branwell's poor reputation, the school project failed and was abandoned. Brontë family_sentence_206

Charlotte wrote four long, very personal, and sometimes vague letters to Monsieur Héger that never received replies. Brontë family_sentence_207

The extent of Charlotte Brontë's feelings for Héger were not fully realised until 1913, when her letters to him were published for the first time. Brontë family_sentence_208

Héger had first shown them to Mrs. Brontë family_sentence_209 Gaskell when she visited him in 1856 while researching her biography The Life of Charlotte Brontë, but she concealed their true significance. Brontë family_sentence_210

These letters, referred to as the "Héger Letters", had been ripped up at some stage by Héger, but his wife had retrieved the pieces from the wastepaper bin and meticulously glued or sewn them back together. Brontë family_sentence_211

Paul Héger, Constantin's son, and his sisters gave these letters to the British Museum, and they were shortly thereafter printed in The Times newspaper. Brontë family_sentence_212

Brontë sisters' literary career Brontë family_section_23

First publication: Poems, by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell Brontë family_section_24

The writing that had begun so early never left the family. Brontë family_sentence_213

Charlotte had ambition like her brother (though Branwell was kept at a distance from her project) and wrote to the poet laureate Robert Southey to submit several poems of his style; she received a hardly encouraging reply after several months. Brontë family_sentence_214

Southey, still illustrious although his star has somewhat waned, was one of the great figures of English Romanticism, with William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and shared the prejudice of the times: literature, or more particularly poetry (for women had been publishing fiction and enjoying critical, popular and economic success for over a century by this time), was considered a man's business, and not an appropriate occupation for ladies. Brontë family_sentence_215

However, Charlotte did not allow herself to be discouraged. Brontë family_sentence_216

Furthermore, coincidence came to her aid. Brontë family_sentence_217

One day in autumn 1845 while alone in the dining room she noticed a small notebook lying open in the drawer of Emily's portable writing desk and "of my sister Emily's handwriting". Brontë family_sentence_218

She read it and was dazzled by the beauty of the poems that she did not know. Brontë family_sentence_219

The discovery of this treasure was what she recalled five years later, and according to Juliet Barker, she erased the excitement that she had felt "more than surprise ..., a deep conviction that these were not common effusions, nor at all like the poetry women generally write. Brontë family_sentence_220

I thought them condensed and terse, vigorous and genuine. Brontë family_sentence_221

To my ear, they had a peculiar music – wild, melancholy, and elevating." Brontë family_sentence_222

In the following paragraph Charlotte describes her sister's indignant reaction at her having ventured into such an intimate realm with impunity. Brontë family_sentence_223

It took Emily hours to calm down and days to be convinced to publish the poems. Brontë family_sentence_224

Charlotte envisaged a joint publication by the three sisters. Brontë family_sentence_225

Anne was easily won over to the project, and the work was shared, compared, and edited. Brontë family_sentence_226

Once the poems had been chosen, nineteen for Charlotte and twenty-one each for Anne and Emily, Charlotte went about searching for a publisher. Brontë family_sentence_227

She took advice from William and Robert Chambers of Edinburgh, directors of one of their favourite magazines, Chambers's Edinburgh Journal. Brontë family_sentence_228

It is thought, although no documents exist to support the claim, that they advised the sisters to contact Aylott & Jones, a small publishing house at 8, Paternoster Row, London, who accepted but rather at the authors' own risk as they felt the commercial risk to the company was too great. Brontë family_sentence_229

The work thus appeared in 1846, published using the male pseudonyms of Currer (Charlotte), Ellis (Emily), and Acton (Anne) Bell. Brontë family_sentence_230

These were very uncommon forenames but the initials of each of the sisters were preserved and the patronym could have been inspired by that of the vicar of the parish, Arthur Bell Nicholls. Brontë family_sentence_231

It was in fact on 18 May 1845 that he took up his duties at Haworth, at the moment when the publication project was well advanced. Brontë family_sentence_232

The book attracted hardly any attention. Brontë family_sentence_233

Only three copies were sold, of which one was purchased by Fredrick Enoch, a resident of Cornmarket, Warwick, who in admiration, wrote to the publisher to request an autograph – the only extant single document carrying the three authors' signatures in their pseudonyms, and they continued creating their prose, each one producing a book a year later. Brontë family_sentence_234

Each worked in secret, unceasingly discussing their writing for hours at the dinner table, after which their father would open the door at 9 p.m. with "Don't stay up late, girls! Brontë family_sentence_235

", then rewinding the clock and taking the stairs to his room upstairs. Brontë family_sentence_236

Fame Brontë family_section_25

1847 Brontë family_section_26

Charlotte's Jane Eyre, Emily's Wuthering Heights, and Anne's Agnes Grey, appeared in 1847 after many tribulations, again for reasons of finding a publisher. Brontë family_sentence_237

The packets containing the manuscripts often returned to the parsonage and Charlotte simply added a new address and did this at least a dozen times during the year. Brontë family_sentence_238

The first one was finally published by Smith, Elder & Co in London. Brontë family_sentence_239

The 23-year-old owner, George Smith, had specialised in publishing scientific revues, aided by his perspicacious reader William Smith Williams. Brontë family_sentence_240

After publishing Jane Eyre Smith remained faithful to the family. Brontë family_sentence_241

Emily and Anne's manuscripts were confided to Thomas Cautley Newby, who intended to compile a three-decker; more economical for sale and for loan in the "circulating libraries". Brontë family_sentence_242

The two first volumes included Wuthering Heights and the third one Agnes Grey. Brontë family_sentence_243

Both novels attracted critical acclaim, occasionally harsh about Wuthering Heights, praised for the originality of the subject and its narrative style, but viewed with suspicion because of its outrageous violence and immorality – surely, the critics wrote, a work of a man with a depraved mind. Brontë family_sentence_244

Critics were fairly neutral about Agnes Grey, but more flattering for Jane Eyre, which soon became a best-seller, despite some commentators denouncing it as an affront to morals and good mores. Brontë family_sentence_245

Jane Eyre and rising fame Brontë family_section_27

Main article: Jane Eyre Brontë family_sentence_246

The pseudonymous (Currer Bell) publication in 1847 of Jane Eyre, An Autobiography, established a dazzling reputation for Charlotte. Brontë family_sentence_247

In July 1848, Charlotte and Anne (Emily had refused to go along with them) travelled by train to London to prove to Smith, Elder & Co. that each sister was indeed an independent author, for Thomas Cautley Newby, the publisher of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, had launched a rumour that the three novels were the work of one author, understood to be Ellis Bell (Emily). Brontë family_sentence_248

George Smith was extremely surprised to find two gawky, ill-dressed country girls paralysed with fear, who, to identify themselves, held out the letters addressed to Messrs. Acton, Currer and Ellis Bell. Brontë family_sentence_249

Taken by such surprise, he introduced them to his mother with all the dignity their talent merited, and invited them to the opera for a performance of Rossini's Barber of Seville. Brontë family_sentence_250

Wuthering Heights Brontë family_section_28

Main article: Wuthering Heights Brontë family_sentence_251

See also: Agnes Grey Brontë family_sentence_252

Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights was published in 1847 under the masculine pseudonym Ellis Bell, by Thomas Cautley Newby, in two companion volumes to that of Anne's (Acton Bell), Agnes Grey. Brontë family_sentence_253

Controversial from the start of its release, its originality, its subject, narrative style and troubled action raised intrigue. Brontë family_sentence_254

Certain critics condemned it, but sales were nevertheless considerable for a novel from an unknown author and which defied all conventions. Brontë family_sentence_255

It is a work of black Romanticism, covering three generations isolated in the cold or the spring of the countryside with two opposing elements: the dignified manor of Thrushcross Grange and the rambling dilapidated pile of Wuthering Heights. Brontë family_sentence_256

The main characters, swept by tumults of the earth, the skies and the hearts, are strange and often possessed of unheard of violence and deprivations. Brontë family_sentence_257

The story is told in a scholarly fashion, with two narrators, the traveller and tenant Lockwood, and the housekeeper/governess, Nelly Dean, with two sections in the first person, one direct, one cloaked, which overlap each other with digressions and sub-plots that form, from apparently scattered fragments, a coherently locked unit. Brontë family_sentence_258

1848, Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Brontë family_section_29

Main article: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Brontë family_sentence_259

One year before her death in May 1849, Anne published a second novel. Brontë family_sentence_260

Far more ambitious than her previous novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was a great success and rapidly outsold Emily's Wuthering Heights. Brontë family_sentence_261

However, the critical reception was mixed — praise for the novel's "power" and "effect" and sharp criticism for being "coarse". Brontë family_sentence_262

Charlotte Brontë herself, Anne's sister, wrote to her publisher that it "hardly seems to me desirable to preserve ... the choice of subject in that work is a mistake." Brontë family_sentence_263

After Anne's death, Charlotte prevented the novel's republication and thus condemned her sister to temporary oblivion. Brontë family_sentence_264

The master theme is the alcoholism of a man who causes the downfall of his family. Brontë family_sentence_265

Helen Graham, the central character, gets married for love to Arthur Huntingdon, whom she soon discovers to be lecherous, violent, and alcoholic. Brontë family_sentence_266

She is forced to break with the conventions that keep her in the family home that has become hell, and to leave with her child to seek secret refuge in the old house of Wildfell Hall. Brontë family_sentence_267

When the alcohol causes her husband's ultimate decline, she returns to care for him in total abnegation until his death. Brontë family_sentence_268

Today, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is considered by most of the critics to be one of the first sustained feminist novels. Brontë family_sentence_269

Charlotte Brontë Brontë family_section_30

Main article: Charlotte Brontë Brontë family_sentence_270

Denunciation of boarding schools (Jane Eyre) Brontë family_section_31

Conditions at the school at Cowan Bridge, where Maria and Elizabeth may have contracted the tuberculosis from which they died, were probably no worse than those at many other schools of the time. Brontë family_sentence_271

(For example, several decades before the Brontë sisters' experience at Cowan Bridge, Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra contracted typhus at a similar boarding school, and Jane nearly died. Brontë family_sentence_272

The Austen sisters' education, like that of the Brontë sisters, was continued at home.) Brontë family_sentence_273

Nevertheless, Charlotte blamed Cowan Bridge for her sisters' deaths, especially its poor medical care – chiefly, repeated emetics and blood-lettings – and the negligence of the school's doctor – who was the director's brother-in-law. Brontë family_sentence_274

Charlotte's vivid memories of the privations at Cowan Bridge were poured into her depiction of Lowood School in Jane Eyre: the scanty and at times spoiled food, the lack of heating and adequate clothing, the periodic epidemics of illness such as "low fever" (probably typhus), the severity and arbitrariness of the punishments, and even the harshness of particular teachers (a Miss Andrews who taught at Cowan Bridge is thought to have been Charlotte's model for Miss Scatcherd in Jane Eyre). Brontë family_sentence_275

While Elizabeth Gaskell, a personal friend and the first biographer of Charlotte, confirmed that Cowan Bridge was Charlotte's model for Lowood and insisted that conditions there in Charlotte's day were egregious, more recent biographers have argued that the food, clothing, heating, medical care, discipline, etc. at Cowan Bridge were not considered sub-standard for religious schools of the time. Brontë family_sentence_276

One scholar has even commended Patrick Brontë for his perspicacity in removing all his daughters from the school, a few weeks before the deaths of Maria and Elizabeth. Brontë family_sentence_277

Literary encounters Brontë family_section_32

Following the overwhelming success of Jane Eyre, Charlotte was pressured by George Smith, her publisher, to travel to London to meet her public. Brontë family_sentence_278

Despite the extreme timidity that paralysed her among strangers and made her almost incapable of expressing herself, Charlotte consented to be lionised, and in London was introduced to other great writers of the era, including Harriet Martineau and William Makepeace Thackeray, who both befriended her. Brontë family_sentence_279

Charlotte especially admired Thackeray, whose portrait, given to her by Smith, still hangs in the dining room at Haworth parsonage. Brontë family_sentence_280

On one occasion Thackeray apparently introduced Charlotte to his mother during a public gathering as Jane Eyre and when Charlotte called on him the next day, received an extended dressing-down, in which Smith had to intervene. Brontë family_sentence_281

During her trip to London in 1851 she visited the Great Exhibition and The Crystal Palace. Brontë family_sentence_282

In 1849 she published Shirley and in 1853 Villette. Brontë family_sentence_283

Marriage and death Brontë family_section_33

The Brontë sisters were highly amused by the behaviour of the curates they met. Brontë family_sentence_284

Arthur Bell Nicholls (1818–1906) had been curate of Haworth for seven and a half years, when contrary to all expectations, and to the fury of Patrick Brontë (their father), he proposed to Charlotte. Brontë family_sentence_285

Although impressed by his dignity and deep voice, as well as by his near complete emotional collapse when she rejected him, she found him rigid, conventional, and rather narrow-minded "like all the curates" – as she wrote to Ellen Nussey. Brontë family_sentence_286

After she declined his proposal, Nicholls, pursued by the anger of Patrick Brontë, left his functions for several months. Brontë family_sentence_287

However, little by little her feelings evolved and after slowly convincing her father, she finally married Nicholls on 29 June 1854. Brontë family_sentence_288

On return from their honeymoon in Ireland where she had been introduced to Mr. Nicholls' aunt and cousins, her life completely changed. Brontë family_sentence_289

She adopted her new duties as a wife that took up most of her time, she wrote to her friends telling them that Nicholls was a good and attentive husband, but that she nevertheless felt a kind of holy terror at her new situation. Brontë family_sentence_290

In a letter to Ellen Nussey (Nell), in 1854 she wrote "Indeed-indeed-Nell-it is a solemn and strange and perilous thing for a woman to become a wife." Brontë family_sentence_291

The following year she died aged 38. Brontë family_sentence_292

The cause of death given at the time was tuberculosis, but it may have been complicated with typhoid fever (the water at Haworth being likely contaminated due to poor sanitation and the vast cemetery that surrounded the church and the parsonage) and her pregnancy that was in its early stage. Brontë family_sentence_293

The first biography of Charlotte was written by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell at the request of Patrick Brontë, and published in 1857, helping to create the myth of a family of condemned genius, living in a painful and romantic solitude. Brontë family_sentence_294

After having stayed at Haworth several times and having accommodated Charlotte in Plymouth Grove, Manchester, and become her friend and confidant, Mrs Gaskell had certainly had the advantage of knowing the family. Brontë family_sentence_295

Novels Brontë family_section_34

Brontë family_unordered_list_0

Unfinished fragments Brontë family_section_35

These are outlines or unedited roughcasts which with the exception of Emma have been recently published. Brontë family_sentence_296

Brontë family_unordered_list_1

  • Ashford, written between 1840 and 1841, where certain characters from Angria are transported to Yorkshire and are included in a realistic plot.Brontë family_item_1_4
  • Willie Ellin, started after Shirley and Villette, and on which Charlotte worked relatively little in May and July 1853, is a story in three poorly linked parts in which the plot at this stage remains rather vague.Brontë family_item_1_5
  • The Moores is an outline for two short chapters with two characters, the brothers Robert Moore, a dominator, and John Henry Moore, an intellectual fanatic.Brontë family_item_1_6
  • Emma, already published in 1860 with an introduction from Thackeray. This brilliant fragment would doubtlessly have become a novel of similar scope to her previous ones. It later inspired the novel A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.Brontë family_item_1_7
  • The Green Dwarf published in 2003. This story was probably inspired by The Black Dwarf by Walter Scott of whose novels Charlotte was a fan. The novel is a fictional history about a war that breaks out between Verdopolis (the capital of the confederation of Glass Town) and Senegal.Brontë family_item_1_8

Branwell Brontë Brontë family_section_36

Patrick Branwell Brontë (1817–1848) was considered by his father and sisters to be a genius. Brontë family_sentence_297

On the other hand, the book by Daphne du Maurier (1986), The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë, contains numerous references to his addiction to alcohol and laudanum. Brontë family_sentence_298

He was an intelligent boy with many talents and interested in many subjects, especially literature. Brontë family_sentence_299

He was often the driving force in the Brontë siblings' construction of the imaginary worlds. Brontë family_sentence_300

He was artistic and encouraged by his father to pursue this. Brontë family_sentence_301

Whilst trying to make a name as an artist, he left for London but in several days used up in cafés of ill-repute the allowance provided by his father. Brontë family_sentence_302

His attempts to obtain low paid work failed, and very quickly he foundered in alcohol and laudanum and was unable to regain his stability. Brontë family_sentence_303

Anne Brontë obtained employment for him in January 1843, but nearly three years later he was dismissed. Brontë family_sentence_304

In September 1848, after several years of decline, he died from tuberculosis. Brontë family_sentence_305

On his death, his father tearfully repeated, "My brilliant boy", while the clearheaded and totally loyal Emily wrote that his condition had been "hopeless". Brontë family_sentence_306

Branwell is the author of Juvenilia, which he wrote as a child with his sister Charlotte, Glass Town, Angria, poems, pieces of prose and verse under the pseudonym of Northangerland, such as "Real Rest", published by the Halifax Guardian (8 November 1846) from several articles accepted by local newspapers and from an unfinished novel probably from around 1845 entitled And the Weary are at Rest. Brontë family_sentence_307

Emily Brontë Brontë family_section_37

Main article: Emily Brontë Brontë family_sentence_308

Emily Brontë (1818–1848) has been called the "Sphinx of Literature", writing without the slightest desire for fame and only for her own satisfaction. Brontë family_sentence_309

She was obsessively timid outside the family circle to the point of turning her back on her partners in conversation without saying a word. Brontë family_sentence_310

With a single novel, Wuthering Heights (1847), and poems with an elemental power, she reached the heights of literature. Brontë family_sentence_311

Though she was almost unknown during her life, posterity classes her as "top level" in the literary canon of English literature. Brontë family_sentence_312

Simone de Beauvoir, in The Second Sex (1949), among writers, chooses only Emily Brontë, Virginia Woolf and ("sometimes") Mary Webb (and she mentions Colette and Mansfield), as among those who have tried to approach nature "in its inhuman freedom". Brontë family_sentence_313

Above all, Emily loved to wander about the wild landscape of the moors around Haworth. Brontë family_sentence_314

In September 1848 her health began to decline rapidly. Brontë family_sentence_315

Consumptive, but refusing all treatment, with the exception of a visit from a London doctor – because although it was already too late, her relatives insisted. Brontë family_sentence_316

Despite popular belief, Emily did not die on the dining room sofa. Brontë family_sentence_317

There is no contemporary evidence for the story and Charlotte, in her letter to William Smith Williams, mentions Emily's dog Keeper lying at the side of her dying-bed. Brontë family_sentence_318

It is possible that she left an unfinished manuscript which Charlotte burned to avoid such controversy as followed the publication of Wuthering Heights. Brontë family_sentence_319

Several documents exist that allude to the possibility, although no proof corroborating this suggestion has ever been found. Brontë family_sentence_320

Emily Brontë's poems Brontë family_section_38

Emily's poems were probably written to be inserted in the saga of Gondal, several of whose characters she identified with right into adulthood. Brontë family_sentence_321

At the age of 28 she still acted out scenes from the little books with Anne while travelling on the train to York. Brontë family_sentence_322

"Remembrance" was one of the 21 of Emily's poems that were chosen for the 1846 joint publication, before which Emily had deleted all references to Gondal. Brontë family_sentence_323

Anne Brontë Brontë family_section_39

Main article: Anne Brontë Brontë family_sentence_324

See also: Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Brontë family_sentence_325

Anne was not as celebrated as her other two sisters. Brontë family_sentence_326

Her second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was prevented from being republished after Anne's death by her sister Charlotte, who wrote to her publisher that "it hardly appears to me desirable to preserve. Brontë family_sentence_327

The choice of subject in that work is a mistake, it was too little consonant with the character, tastes and ideas of the gentle, retiring inexperienced writer." Brontë family_sentence_328

This prevention is considered to be the main reason for Anne's being less renowned than her sisters. Brontë family_sentence_329

Anne's health began to decline rapidly, like that of her brother and sister some months earlier. Brontë family_sentence_330

On 5 April 1849, she wrote to Ellen Nussey asking her to accompany her to Scarborough on the east coast. Brontë family_sentence_331

Anne confides her thoughts to Ellen: Brontë family_sentence_332

Anne hoped that the sea air would improve her health, as recommended by the doctor, and Charlotte finally agreed to go. Brontë family_sentence_333

On the Sunday morning she felt weaker and asked if she could be taken back to Haworth. Brontë family_sentence_334

The doctor confirmed that she was near to death and Anne thanked him for his candour. Brontë family_sentence_335

"Take courage, take courage" she murmured to Charlotte. Brontë family_sentence_336

She died at 2 pm on Monday 18 May. Brontë family_sentence_337

She is buried in the cemetery of St Mary's of Scarborough. Brontë family_sentence_338

Her gravestone carried an error in her age in the inscription because she died at the age of 29 and not at 28. Brontë family_sentence_339

It was noticed by Charlotte during her only visit, and she had the intention of asking the mason to correct it. Brontë family_sentence_340

Ill health did not leave him time to effect the repair and the tombstone remained in the same state until replaced by the Brontë Society in April 2013. Brontë family_sentence_341

Northern England at the time of the Brontës Brontë family_section_40

In her 1857 biography The Life of Charlotte Brontë, Mrs Gaskell begins with two explanatory and descriptive chapters. Brontë family_sentence_342

The first one covers the wild countryside of the West Riding of Yorkshire, the little village of Haworth, the parsonage and the church surrounded by its vast cemetery perched on the top of a hill. Brontë family_sentence_343

The second chapter presents an overview of the social, sanitary, and economic conditions of the region. Brontë family_sentence_344

Social, sanitary, and economic conditions in Haworth Brontë family_section_41

The death toll within the Brontë family was not unusual and left little impression on the village population, who were confronted with death on a daily basis. Brontë family_sentence_345

When Patrick Brontë arrived, the parish was suffering from unemployment. Brontë family_sentence_346

The men sought work in the quarries and local handicrafts. Brontë family_sentence_347

The only businesses were the pharmacy which supplied Branwell, and John Greenwood's stationery store in which the Brontës were the best customers. Brontë family_sentence_348

Haworth's population grew rapidly during the first half of the 18th century, from hardly 1,000 to 3,365 in 50 years. Brontë family_sentence_349

The village did not have a sewage system and the well water was contaminated by faecal matter and the decomposition of bodies in the cemetery on the hilltop. Brontë family_sentence_350

Life expectancy was less than 25 years and infant mortality was around 41% of children under six months of age. Brontë family_sentence_351

Most of the population lived from working the poorly fertile land of the moors and supplemented their incomes with work done at home, such as spinning and weaving wool from the sheep that were farmed on the moors. Brontë family_sentence_352

Conditions changed and the textile industry, already present since the end of the 17th century, grew in the mills on the banks of the River Worth, whose waters turned the wheels which consequently required fewer people to work them. Brontë family_sentence_353

Food was scarce, often little more than porridge, resulting in vitamin deficiencies. Brontë family_sentence_354

Public hygiene was non-existent and lavatories were basic. Brontë family_sentence_355

The facilities at the parsonage were no more than a plank across a hole in a hut at the rear, with a lower plank for the children. Brontë family_sentence_356

In her thirties, Charlotte was described as having a toothless jaw, by such persons as Mrs Gaskell, who stated in a letter dated 25 August 1850 to Catherine Winkworth: "large mouth and many teeth gone". Brontë family_sentence_357

However, food was reasonable in the family. Brontë family_sentence_358

Well filled plates of porridge in the morning and piles of potatoes were peeled each day in the kitchen while Tabby told stories about her country or Emily revised her German grammar, and sometimes Mr Brontë would return home from his tours of the village with game donated by the parishioners. Brontë family_sentence_359

Role of the women Brontë family_section_42

According to Robert Southey, poet laureate, in his response to Charlotte, ladies from a good background should be content with an education and a marriage embellished with some decorative talents. Brontë family_sentence_360

Mr Brontë also said to one of the characters in his The Maid of Kilarney, without one knowing whether it truly reflected a widespread opinion in order to support it or to condemn it: "The education of female ought, most assuredly, to be competent, in order that she might enjoy herself, and be a fit companion for man. Brontë family_sentence_361

But, believe me, lovely, delicate and sprightly woman, is not formed by nature, to pore over the musty pages of Grecian and Roman literature, or to plod through the windings of Mathematical Problems, nor has Providence assigned for her sphere of action, either the cabinet or the field. Brontë family_sentence_362

Her forte is softness, tenderness and grace." Brontë family_sentence_363

In any case, it seemed to contradict his attitude towards his daughters whom he encouraged even if he was not completely aware of what they did with their time. Brontë family_sentence_364

Sisters' place in literature Brontë family_section_43

Due to their forced or voluntary isolation, the Brontë sisters constituted a separate literary group which neither had predecessors nor successors. Brontë family_sentence_365

There is not a 'Brontë' line such as exists among authors of realist and naturalist novels, and in poetry, the romantic, and the symbolic. Brontë family_sentence_366

Their influence certainly existed but it is difficult to define in its totality. Brontë family_sentence_367

Writers who followed them doubtlessly thought about them while they were creating their dark and tormented worlds such as Thomas Hardy in Jude the Obscure or Tess of the d'Urbervilles, or George Eliot with Adam Bede and The Mill on the Floss. Brontë family_sentence_368

There were also more conventional authors such as Matthew Arnold, who in a letter from 1853 says of Charlotte that she only pretends to heartless: "nothing but hunger, rebellion and rage". Brontë family_sentence_369

In contrast, Mrs Humphry Ward, author of Robert Elsmere and morality novels, only finds didactic among the works of Charlotte, while she appreciates the happy blend of romance and realism in the works of Emily. Brontë family_sentence_370

There is however nothing that could constitute a literary vein. Brontë family_sentence_371

Pilgrimages to Haworth from 1860 Brontë family_section_44

By 1860 Charlotte had been dead for five years, and the only people living at the parsonage were Mr. Brontë, his son-in-law, Arthur Bell Nicholls, and two servants. Brontë family_sentence_372

In 1857 Mrs. Gaskell's biography of Charlotte was published, and though Mr. Brontë at its first reading approved of its commissioning, several months later he expressed doubts. Brontë family_sentence_373

The portrait of Nicholls, founded partly on the confidence of Ellen Nussey, seemed to him to be unjustified. Brontë family_sentence_374

Ellen Nussey, who hated Arthur, insists that his marital claims had perverted Charlotte's writing and she had to struggle against an interruption of her career. Brontë family_sentence_375

It is true that Arthur found Nussey to be too close to his wife, and he insisted that she should destroy her letters – although this never actually happened. Brontë family_sentence_376

Mrs. Gaskell's book caused a sensation and was distributed nationwide. Brontë family_sentence_377

The polemic launched by Charlotte's father resulted in a squabble that only served to increase the family's fame. Brontë family_sentence_378

During Charlotte's lifetime friends and sponsors visited the parsonage, including Sir James and Lady Kay Shuttleworth, Ellen Nussey, Elizabeth Gaskell, John Store Smith, a young writer from Manchester, Bessie Parkes, who recounted her visit to Mrs. Gaskell, and Abraham Holroyd, poet, antiquarian, and historian. Brontë family_sentence_379

However, following the publication of the book and the pastor's public remonstrations, the parsonage became a place of pilgrimage for admirers wanting to see it with their own eyes. Brontë family_sentence_380

Charlotte's husband recalled that he had to protect his father-in-law, when on the short path to the church they had to push their way through the crowds of people wanting to reach out and touch the cape of the father of the Brontë girls. Brontë family_sentence_381

The hundreds of visitors became thousands, coming from all over Britain and even from across the Atlantic. Brontë family_sentence_382

Whenever he agreed to meet them, Patrick received them with utmost courtesy and recounted the story of his brilliant daughters, never omitting to express his displeasure at the opinions held about Charlotte's husband. Brontë family_sentence_383

The flow of visitors has never abated. Brontë family_sentence_384

Indeed, the parsonage at Haworth received an estimated 88,000 visitors in 2017. Brontë family_sentence_385

Brontë Society Brontë family_section_45

The Brontë Parsonage Museum is managed and maintained by the Brontë Society, which organises exhibitions and takes care of the cultural heritage represented by objects and documents which belonged to the family. Brontë family_sentence_386

The society has branches in Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, the Scandinavian countries, South Africa, and the USA. Brontë family_sentence_387

Haworth Brontë family_section_46

In 1904, Virginia Woolf visited Haworth and published an account in The Guardian on 21 December. Brontë family_sentence_388

She remarked on the symbiosis between the village and the Brontë sisters, the fact that utensils and clothes which would normally have disappeared before those who used them, have survived, enables one to better understand their singular presence. Brontë family_sentence_389

She also wrote: "Haworth expresses the Brontës; the Brontës express Haworth; they fit like a snail to its shell". Brontë family_sentence_390

Descendants Brontë family_section_47

The line of Patrick Brontë died out with his children, but Patrick's brother had notable descendants, including James Brontë Gatenby, whose most important work was studying Golgi bodies in various animals, including humans, and Peter Brontë Gatenby, the medical director of the UN. Brontë family_sentence_391

In popular culture Brontë family_section_48

Books, Comics and Graphic Novels Brontë family_section_49

Brontë family_unordered_list_2

  • In the comic series Die (2018) by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Stephanie Hans, three of the locations on the icosahedron shaped world are Gondal, Angria, and Glass Town based on the Brontë juvenilia. In issue #9, Charlotte is a narrative character and reveals the connection between the world of Die, her siblings and their paracosms. Charlotte is also featured on the cover of the issue.Brontë family_item_2_9
  • In the graphic novel Glass Town (2020) by Isabel Greenberg, parts of the Brontë juvenilia are retold and intersected with the lives of four Brontë children — Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne, as they explore the imaginary world they created. "Greenberg blurs fiction and memoir: characters walk between worlds and woo their creators. [...] This is a tale, bookended by funerals, about the collision between dreamlike places of possibility and constrained 19th-century lives".Brontë family_item_2_10

Cinema Brontë family_section_50

Brontë family_unordered_list_3

Dance Brontë family_section_51

Brontë family_unordered_list_4

  • Several 20th century choreographic works have been inspired by the lives and works of the Brontë sisters.Brontë family_item_4_15
  • The title of Martha Graham's ballet, Death and Entrances (1943), is taken from a poem by Dylan Thomas.Brontë family_item_4_16
  • Dancer Gillian Lynne presented a composition entitled The Brontës (1995).Brontë family_item_4_17

Natural phenomena Brontë family_section_52

Brontë family_unordered_list_5

  • Charlottebrontë is the name of asteroid #39427, discovered at the Palomar Observatory, located on Palomar Mountain in southern California, on 25 September 1973. The asteroids #39428 and #39429 (both discovered on 29 September 1973, at Palomar Observatory) are named Emilybrontë and Annebrontë respectively.Brontë family_item_5_18
  • The 60 km-diameter impact crater Brontë on the surface of the planet Mercury is named in honour of the Brontë family.Brontë family_item_5_19

Music Brontë family_section_53

Brontë family_unordered_list_6

  • Wuthering Heights is presented as John Lennon's favourite book in The Sky is Everywhere, a young adult fiction novel by author Jandy Nelson.Brontë family_item_6_20
  • English singer-songwriter Kate Bush released a song titled "Wuthering Heights" in 1978 to critical success. Coincidentally, Bush shares the same birthday with Emily Brontë.Brontë family_item_6_21

Opera Brontë family_section_54

Brontë family_unordered_list_7

Sport Brontë family_section_55

Brontë family_unordered_list_8

Stage productions Brontë family_section_56

Brontë family_unordered_list_9

  • The play Brontë (2005), by Polly Teale, explores their lives as well as the characters they created.Brontë family_item_9_24
  • The musical Schwestern im Geiste (2014; Sisters in Spirit), by Peter Lund, is about the Brontës.Brontë family_item_9_25

Television Brontë family_section_57

Brontë family_unordered_list_10

  • In the Family Guy episode "New Kidney In Town", a cutaway gag shows Charlotte and Emily congratulating each other on their literary achievements, while Anne is shown as a crude simpleton (implying her literary contributions were negligible compared to her sisters)Brontë family_item_10_26
  • In the short-lived MTV animated series, ‘’Clone High’’, the Brontë sisters were recurring background characters. In the season finale, “Changes: The Big Prom: The Sex Romp: The Season Finale”, they go out as Clone JFK’s Prom dates, along with Catherine the Great and Joan of Arc. Later on, he states that he gave them away to The Three Stooges.Brontë family_item_10_27
    • The creators of Clone High, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller previously made a failed pilot entitled “Super X-Treme Mega History Heroes” where it depicts a fictional toy line where the three sister action figures morph together into “Brontësaurus” á la other action figure toys such as Transformers and Power Rangers.Brontë family_item_10_28
  • In the episode "Educating Doug" of the American television series The King of Queens, Doug and Carrie enrol in a course on classic literature to improve their level of sophistication. They are assigned the book Jane Eyre where Doug struggles to get past even the second page.Brontë family_item_10_29
  • In the episode of CBBC children's television show Horrible Histories entitled "Staggering Storytellers", Charlotte (Jessica Ransom), Emily (Gemma Whelan), Anne (Natalie Walter) and Branwell (Thom Tuck) try to get their work published, forgetting all about the Brontë brother.Brontë family_item_10_30
  • In 2016 a BBC TV drama, To Walk Invisible, was made about the initial success of their novels and the death of Branwell.Brontë family_item_10_31
  • In 2018, a TV sitcom series, Mom, episode titled, "Charlotte Brontë and a Backbone", references being a college educated waitress who knows the difference between Charlotte and Emily.Brontë family_item_10_32


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brontë family.