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Brontë family


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In 1820, the Irish‐born Patrick Brontë brought his Cornish wife and six young children to Haworth parsonage, near Bradford. After the deaths of Mrs Brontë and the two eldest girls the children were cared for by an aunt but thrown very much on their own resources. After erratic schooling, then short teaching posts, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne returned to Haworth to care for their father; anxiety over their irresponsible debt‐laden brother Branwell deepened as he became addicted to alcohol and opium. Charlotte's discovery of some of Emily's poems led to publication of Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (pseudonyms corresponding to their initials), which, though selling poorly, encouraged them towards novels. Charlotte (Jane Eyre, 1847; Shirley, 1849; Villette, 1853) became a literary celebrity, but Emily's Wuthering Heights (1848) was too innovative and passionate for many tastes; Anne (Agnes Grey, 1847; Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1848) might have been overpowered by her more brilliant sisters, but continues to be quietly appreciated. Although Branwell's debts were discharged, he died in 1848, to be followed shortly by Emily, then Anne the following summer. Charlotte eventually married her father's curate (1854), but died soon after.

Subjects: Literature.


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