Charlotte Bronte Biography & Facts
Charlotte Brontë (, commonly ; 21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855) was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood and whose novels became classics of English literature.
She enlisted in school at Roe Head in January 1831, aged 14 years. She left the year after to teach her sisters, Emily and Anne, at home, returning in 1835 as a governess. In 1839 she undertook the role as governess for the Sidgwick family but left after a few months to return to Haworth where the sisters opened a school, but failed to attract pupils. Instead, they turned to writing and they each first published in 1846 under the pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Although her first novel, The Professor, was rejected by publishers, her second novel, Jane Eyre, was published in 1847. The sisters admitted to their Bell pseudonyms in 1848, and by the following year were celebrated in London literary circles.
Charlotte Brontë was the last to die of all her siblings. She became pregnant shortly after her marriage in June 1854 but died on 31 March 1855, almost certainly from hyperemesis gravidarum, a complication of pregnancy which causes excessive nausea and vomiting.
Early years and education
Charlotte Brontë was born on 21 April 1816 in Market Street, Thornton, west of Bradford in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the third of the six children of Maria (née Branwell) and Patrick Brontë (formerly surnamed Brunty), an Irish Anglican clergyman. In 1820 her family moved a few miles to the village of Haworth, where her father had been appointed perpetual curate of St Michael and All Angels Church. Maria died of cancer on 15 September 1821, leaving five daughters, Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and a son, Branwell, to be taken care of by her sister, Elizabeth Branwell.
In August 1824, Patrick sent Charlotte, Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth to the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire. Charlotte maintained that the school's poor conditions permanently affected her health and physical development, and hastened the deaths of Maria (born 1814) and Elizabeth (born 1815), who both died of tuberculosis in June 1825. After the deaths of his older daughters, Patrick removed Charlotte and Emily from the school. Charlotte used the school as the basis for Lowood School in Jane Eyre.
At home in Haworth Parsonage, Brontë acted as "the motherly friend and guardian of her younger sisters". Brontë wrote her first known poem at the age of 13 in 1829, and was to go on to write more than 200 poems in the course of her life. Many of her poems were "published" in their homemade magazine Branwell's Blackwood's Magazine, and concerned the fictional world of Glass Town. She and her surviving siblings – Branwell, Emily and Anne – created this shared world, and began chronicling the lives and struggles of the inhabitants of their imaginary kingdom in 1827. Charlotte, in private letters, called Glass Town "her 'world below', a private escape where she could act out her desires and multiple identities". Charlotte's "predilection for romantic settings, passionate relationships, and high society is at odds with Branwell's obsession with battles and politics and her young sisters' homely North Country realism, none the less at this stage there is still a sense of the writings as a family enterprise".However, from 1831 onwards, Emily and Anne 'seceded' from the Glass Town Confederacy to create a 'spin-off' called Gondal, which included many of their poems. After 1831, Charlotte and Branwell concentrated on an evolution of the Glass Town Confederacy called Angria. Christine Alexander, a Brontë juvenilia historian, wrote "both Charlotte and Branwell ensured the consistency of their imaginary world. When Branwell exuberantly kills off important characters in his manuscripts, Charlotte comes to the rescue and, in effect, resurrects them for the next stories [...]; and when Branwell becomes bored with his inventions, such as the Glass Town magazine he edits, Charlotte takes over his initiative and keeps the publication going for several more years".: 6–7 The sagas the siblings created were episodic and elaborate, and they exist in incomplete manuscripts, some of which have been published as juvenilia. They provided them with an obsessive interest during childhood and early adolescence, which prepared them for literary vocations in adulthood.
Between 1831 and 1832, Brontë continued her education at Roe Head in Mirfield, where she met her lifelong friends and correspondents Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. In 1833 she wrote a novella, The Green Dwarf, using the name Wellesley. Around about 1833, her stories shifted from tales of the supernatural to more realistic stories. She returned to Roe Head as a teacher from 1835 to 1838. Unhappy and lonely as a teacher at Roe Head, Brontë took out her sorrows in poetry, writing a series of melancholic poems. In "We wove a Web in Childhood" written in December 1835, Brontë drew a sharp contrast between her miserable life as a teacher and the vivid imaginary worlds she and her siblings had created. In another poem "Morning was its freshness still" written at the same time, Brontë wrote "Tis bitter sometimes to recall/Illusions once deemed fair". Many of her poems concerned the imaginary world of Angria, often concerning Byronic heroes, and in December 1836 she wrote to the Poet Laureate Robert Southey asking him for encouragement of her career as a poet. Southey replied, famously, that "Literature cannot be the business of a woman's life, and it ought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties, the less leisure will she have for it even as an accomplishment and a recreation." This advice she respected but did not heed.
In 1839, she took up the first of many positions as governess to families in Yorkshire, a career she pursued until 1841. In particular, from May to July 1839 she was employed by the Sidgwick family at their summer residence, Stone Gappe, in Lothersdale, where one of her charges was John Benson Sidgwick (1835–1927), an unruly child who on one occasion threw a Bible at Charlotte, an incident that may have been the inspiration for a part of the opening chapter of Jane Eyre in which John Reed throws a book at the young Jane. Brontë did not enjoy her work as a governess, noting her employers treated her almost as a slave, constantly humiliating her.Brontë was of slight build and was less than five feet tall.
Brussels and Haworth
In 1842 Charlotte and Emily travelled to Brussels to enrol at the boarding school run by Constantin Héger (1809–1896) and his wife Claire Zoé Parent Héger (1804–1887). During her time in Brussels, Brontë, who favoured the Protestant ideal of an individual in direct contact with God, objected to the stern Catholicism of Madame Héger, which she considered a tyrannical religion that enforced conformity and submission to the Pope. In return .... Discover the Charlotte Bronte popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Charlotte Bronte books.