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Brontë, Emily

charlotte anne novel figure

(British, 1818–48)

Emily Brontë was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, but soon moved to the parsonage at Haworth where her father was perpetual curate. Educated for the most part at home, she was a shy, introverted figure and during her brief lifetime was overshadowed by the figure of her sister Charlotte. Like her siblings, Charlotte, Anne, and Branwell, she wrote from childhood, inventing with Anne the imaginary kingdom of Gondal. Later, her poetry was published under the pseudonym of Ellis Bell, in a collection with poems by her sisters in 1846. However, Emily Brontë is best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights (1847), which in its time was deemed by critics to be grotesque and uncivilized, the result of a febrile imagination. In fact it is one of the great love-stories of the nineteenth century. It concerns the vengeful and all-consuming passion of the Byronic hero Heathcliff for the equally unrestrained Cathy Earnshaw, and is set in the West Yorkshire moorland that Emily Brontë knew and loved so well. It traces the results of Cathy and Heathcliff's love through the subsequent generation, and most of the novel is narrated by a family servant. The achievement of the novel lies in its romantic intensity and wholly memorable characters. Emily died of consumption at the age of 30, unmarried.

Charlotte Brontë, Anne Brontë.


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