One hundred and ninety-eight years ago today in Thornton, West Yorkshire, Charlotte Brontë was born, the eldest of three daughters who would together leave an indelible mark on the history of the English novel. From the New Republic archives, an appraisal of Charlotte and Emily’s unique brilliance from 1918.
A new interpretation of Charlotte Brontes Jane Eyre, hoping to emphasise the active rather than passive nature of the lead character, is being staged at the Bristol Old Vic.
Charlotte and Emily Brontë gave us romanticised, byronic heroes, but Anne refused to wear rose-tinted glasses when dealing with male alcoholism and brutality
At the time of this letter’s writing the Brönte household was in disarray. Branwell, Charlotte’s elder brother, had died from a case of alcoholism-enflamed bronchitis in September 1848. Soon after Branwell’s death, Emily succumbed to tuberculosis. All responsibility of the family’s care and upkeep fell to Charlotte, who took another blow when Anne, the youngest, started with a racking cough. Charlotte addresses William Smith Williams, one of her editors at the publishing house of Smith, Elder, and Co. Her hopes, outlined below, were too generous; Anne’s case of TB proved fatal in May.
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (Mon 23, BBC2) gets a suitably windswept rendition, complete with rolling moors, Mia Wasikowska as the demure heroine and Michael Fassbender as a lean, mean Rochester.
he Brontës have always been novelists’ novelists, perhaps because their history is novelistic material—the six children in their bleak setting of the Yorkshire moors, their struggle against fate, marked by recurrent death—Maria and Elizabeth dying in childhood—Branwell’s fantastic tragedy, the simultaneous illumination of three personalities in Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey, fame and then death once more—Emily, Anne, Charlotte.
Charlotte Brontës erotic, gothic masterpiece became the sensation of Victorian England. Its great breakthrough was its intimate dialogue with the reader