A Life of Emily Brontë

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She is my right-hand, nay the very apple of my eye! After a huge argument, Emily was finally persuaded to send the poems to publishers with those of her sisters. Emily was stoical to the point of stubbornness. She would not even admit she was ill, and insisted on carrying out her domestic duties.

She died that afternoon, with Anne and Charlotte by her side. For most households the week before Christmas is a joyous one filled with happiness and anticipation, but it was rather different for one household on the western edge of Yorkshire in December A portrait of Emily painted by her brother Branwell. Sign up for our newsletter Enter your email address below to get the latest news and exclusive content from The History Press delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up.

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Emily Brontë

Emily Bronte Buy. Explore Yorkshire's history Show more books. She will write in a rage where she should write calmly.

Charlotte and Emily explored—and exploited—the prison-house of gender with unprecedented clear-sightedness. Pushed out into the world, they came home as fast as they could, and in their retreat from society found the autonomy to cultivate their altogether original voices. Those forays into the marketplace of female labor, though, gave them their best material.


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Their childhood was sui generis. They read everything they could; spent long afternoons on the moor that began at their back door; invented exotic kingdoms with voluminous histories and political intrigues; put on plays only they would see; issued magazines only they would read; and sewed novels and poems into miniature books written in script so tiny that no adult in the household could decipher them.

Nonetheless, since their aging father occupied his parsonage on the sufferance of a quarrelsome congregation, they lacked security and had to find a profession.

Anne managed to hold her second governess post for five years. Charlotte and Emily both taught for the second time at the Pensionnat Heger in Brussels, where they were also students.

Wuthering Heights

Emily quit after a couple of months and moved back into the parsonage, becoming the family housekeeper. Charlotte hung on a year longer, mostly because she fell in love with her teacher and colleague Constantin Heger. Heger grew distant. After many months of this, Charlotte quit. Back home, she toyed with the idea of starting a school in the parsonage with Emily and Anne, but poured her energy into increasingly desperate letters to Heger.

He replied intermittently and formally. But in her next novel, Jane Eyre , and her last, Villette , she put her work history to spectacular use. She expressed her outrage at the degraded status of governesses and teachers. She condemned the isolation and vulnerability of a woman who goes into the world to make her own way. She let loose her feelings for Heger, electromagnetizing the novels with sensuality. Alternately, Emily's supposed anorexia is used to explain aspects of the novel. Katherine Frank characterizes Emily as a constantly hungry anorexic who denies her constant hunger; "Even more importantly," Frank asks, "how was this physical hunger related to a more pervasive hunger in her life—hunger for power and experience, for love and happiness, fame and fortune and fulfilment?

A Life of Emily Brontë by Edward Chitham

Furthermore, the kitchen is the main setting, and most of the passionate or violent scenes occur there. Similarly, Emily's poems are used to interpret her novel, particularly those poems discussing isolation, rebellion, and freedom. Readings of Wuthering Heights as a mystical novel, a religious novel, or a visionary novel call on "No coward soul is mine," one of her best poems. The well known "Riches I hold in light esteem" is cited to explain her choice of a reclusive lifestyle, as is"A Chainless Life.

In Emily went through her poems, destroying some, revising others, and writing new poems; she collected them and clearly labeled the Gondal poems. The poems and Wuthering Heights have also been connected.