Most of us have heard of “Jane Eyre”, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” or “Wuthering Heights.” Some have read the books, while others have seen the movies. The Brontë sisters are known worldwide for their novels and are considered among the most important English authors of all times. Charlotte, Emily and Ann were also known not just as novelists, but as poets as well.
The Brontë family is associated with village of Haworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. The eldest sister, Charlotte, was born on 21 April 1816. Emily came second, born on 30 July 1818, while Anne was the youngest, born two years later on 17 January 1820. All three sisters attended different schools in their youth, while also being taught at home. They were often left alone in their isolated home. To help pass the time, the three started writing stories.
Initially, the Brontë sisters worked as teachers and governesses. For a brief period of time, in 1842, Charlotte and Emily went to Brussels to improve their French. Two years later, Charlotte returned to Brussels to teach English. However, by 1845, all three sisters had returned home.
A year later, in May 1846, the three published a volume of poetry at their own expense. As was the custom of those times, they did so under the male pseudonyms: Currer (Charlotte), Ellis (Emily) and Acton (Anne) Bell. In 1847, Anne published “Agnes Grey” and Charlotte published “Jane Eyre”. Anne’s second novel, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” and Emily’s “Wuthering Heights” joined their other published works a year later. Although Anne’s novel sold well, Emily’s was not appreciated by critics.
The same year, tragedy struck as well. Their brother Branwell died of tuberculosis in September. Emily followed him two months later, claimed by the same illness. Anne’s death followed the next year. After the death of her sisters, Charlotte published two more books, “Shirley” in 1849 and “Vilette” in 1853. As the other two Brontë sisters she too was claimed by tuberculosis in 1855.
Have you read any of the novels written by the Brontë sisters?
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