The Brontes: Wild Genius on the Moors: The Story of a Literary Family

The Brontes: Wild Genius on the Moors: The Story of a Literary Family

Language: English

Pages: 1184

ISBN: 1605984590

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In a revised and updated edition for a new generation of readers, the real story of the Brontë sisters, by distinguished scholar and historian Juliet Barker.

The story of the tragic Brontë family is familiar to everyone: we all know about the half-mad, repressive father, the drunken, drug-addled wastrel of a brother, wildly romantic Emily, unrequited Anne, and "poor Charlotte." Or do we? These stereotypes of the popular imagination are precisely that - imaginary - created by amateur biographers such as Mrs. Gaskell who were primarily novelists and were attracted by the tale of an apparently doomed family of genius.

Juliet Barker''s landmark book is the first definitive history of the Brontës. It demolishes the myths, yet provides startling new information that is just as compelling - but true. Based on first-hand research among all the Brontë manuscripts, including contemporary historical documents never before used by Brontë biographers, this book is both scholarly and compulsively readable. The Brontës is a revolutionary picture of the world''s favorite literary family. 32 B&W phots plus 25 in text drawings















aristocratic marquis. The conflict between them, which was to shape much of the future writing of both Charlotte and Branwell, is already foreshadowed in ‘The Pirate’. At the end of the story, Rogue suddenly and unexpectedly marries Lady Zenobia Ellrington, the magnificent Italian blue-stocking whom Charlotte had invented as a rival to Marian Hume for the Marquis of Douro’s affections.69 The few fragments Charlotte wrote in the spring of 1833 suggest she was at least thinking about the

the point that Daniel O’Connell, the Irish nationalist leader, who was a vociferous opponent of church tithes, had similarly driven his audiences mad with the use of his tongue. It was not surprising, given the subject and tone of the poem, that Patrick chose to submit it under his initials alone.30 Politics were very much in the minds of both Patrick and his son throughout 1837. On 27 January Branwell took the lead in establishing a Haworth Operative Conservative Society at a meeting in the

and ‘got thoroughly provoked’ when ‘my worthy acquaintance at Kirk-Smeaton’ announced he would be returning to stay at Haworth for another week. She sent him a smart reply that ‘he positively should not stay the whole week – and expostulated with him seriously’.27 Even the comparatively simple matter of printing wedding cards announcing the marriage was a cause of harassment. Ellen had been commissioned to organize them, but Charlotte proved difficult to please: she had to double her order for

his family’s pride and joy, the leader and innovator, artist, poet, musician and writer, is barely touched upon, despite the fact that, without him, there would probably have been no Currer, Ellis or Acton Bell. For all her faults, Mrs Gaskell at least ensured that the lives of the Brontës would be as perennially fascinating to future generations as their novels. The trickle of visitors to Haworth, which began in the 1850s, has now become a mighty flood: hundreds of thousands of Brontë

[LCB, ii, 251]. 19. CB to WSW, [?c.20 Sept 1849]: MS EL 400, Rylands [LCB, ii, 257]. 20. CB to WSW, 2 Jan 1849: MS p.1, Berg [LCB, ii, 165]. 21. CB to WSW, 16 Aug 1849: MS Gr. F8 p.4, BPM [LCB, ii, 236]; CB, Preface: A Word to the Quarterly, 29 Aug 1849: MS SG 96 p.1, BPM [LCB, ii, 242]. 22. Ibid., pp.3–7 [LCB, ii, 243–5]. 23. CB to WSW, [?31 Aug 1849]: MS n.l. [LCB, ii, 245–66]; CB to GS, 31 Aug 1849: MS SG 21 p.1, BPM [LCB, ii, 216]; CB to WSW, 4Sept 1849: MS BS 71.5, BPM [LCB, ii, 248].

Download sample