CHARLOTTE AND EMILY BRONTE

CHARLOTTE AND EMILY BRONTE

(Respectively, b. April 21, 1816, Thornton, Yorkshire, Eng.d. March 31, 1855, Haworth, Yorkshire; b. July 30, 1818, Thornton, Yorkshire, Eng.—d. Dec. 19, 1848, Haworth, Yorkshire)

Charlotte Brontë and Emily Brontë, were English writers whose works—notably Jane Eyre (1847; by Charlotte) and Wuthering Heights (1847; by Emily) are considered classics of English literature.

Their youngest sister, Anne, was also a writer, the author of Agnes Grey (1847) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), but her works are little known.

The Brontë sisters’ father was Patrick Brontë (1777–1861), an Anglican clergyman. Irish-born, he had changed his name from the more commonplace Brunty.

After serving in several parishes, he moved with his wife, Maria Branwell Brontë, and their six small children to Haworth amid the Yorkshire moors in 1820, having been awarded a rectorship there.

Soon after, Mrs. Brontë and the two eldest children (Maria and Elizabeth) died, leaving the father to care for the remaining three girls—Charlotte, Emily, and Anne—and a boy, Patrick Branwell.

Their upbringing was aided by an aunt, Elizabeth Branwell, who left her native Cornwall and took up residence with the family at Haworth.

In 1824 Charlotte and Emily, together with their elder sisters before their deaths, attended Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge, near Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire. The fees were low, the food unattractive, and the discipline harsh.

Charlotte condemned the school (perhaps exagger-atedly) long years afterward in Jane Eyre, under the thin disguise of Lowood; and the principal, the Rev. William Carus Wilson, has been accepted as the counterpart of Mr. Naomi Brocklehurst in the novel.

Charlotte and Emily returned home in June 1825, and for more than five years the Brontë children learned and played there, writing and telling romantic tales for one another and inventing imaginative games played out at home or on the desolate moors.It is at this point that their paths diverged somewhat.