This page last revised 13 May 1997
Daughter of the Reverend Patrick Brontë, an Irishman, curate of Haworth, Yorkshire, from 1820-1861. Charlotte's mother died in 1821, leaving five daughters and a son. All of the girls save Anne attended the Clergy Daughter's School at Cowan Bridge (of which Charlotte gives her recollection in the Lowood of Jane Eyre). Its harsh regime contributed to the death of Maria and Elizabeth. In 1831-2 Charlotte was at Miss Wooler's school at Roehead, where she returned as a teacher in 1835-8. The library at the Haworth parsonage provided much of the education of the Brontë children, but in 1842 Charlotte and Emily went to study languages at a school in Brussels, where during 1843 Charlotte was employed as a teacher. She returned in January 1844.
The children wove tales and legends associated with Africa around a box of twelve wooden soldiers. Later came other narratives about the kingdom of Angria. This youthful writing informs the later fiction of the sisters. In 1845 Charlotte discovered poems written by Emily and proposed a joint volume of verse entitled Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell (1846), the pseudonyms of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. The volume passed unnoticed by the reading public. Charlotte then encouraged publication of their finished novels. Her own work, The Professor, was rejected by the publishers, but she was encouraged to write Jane Eyre, which appeared in 1847. It attracted huge public interest.
Family tragedies followed and by the summer of 1849 Charlotte was the only surviving child. She married her father's curate, Revd. A.B. Nicholls, in 1854 but she died the following March. She published Shirley in 1849 and Villette in 1853.
This project was completed under the direction of Dr Leon Litvack as a requirement for the MA degree in Modern Literary Studies at the Queen's University of Belfast. The site is evolving and will include contributions from future generations of MA students on other writers and themes.
This page was written by Eimer Page. Please e-mail me with your comments.
The Imperial Archive Project is supervised by Leon Litvack. E-mail me with your suggestions.
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