Spotlight On: Charlotte Brontë

Spotlight On: Charlotte Brontë

It’s time to celebrate all things Charlotte Brontë!

Charlotte Brontë wrote the most novels of her three sisters, and is arguably the most famous. Emily, Anne and Charlotte, along with their brother Branwell, grew up in the Yorkshire moors with their clergyman father. The three sisters did not by any means live an easy life: they struggled constantly for money and employment. Their brother Branwell offered promise with his charisma and wit, but was ultimately unstable and an addict. As a result, Charlotte was forced to take unsatisfactory teaching jobs to try and provide for her family. Her mental strength kept the family afloat, as well as her determination to be their main provider. 

Charlotte was the driving force behind the first publication between the sisters, a book of poetry. Though it only received a few reviews and sold two copies, her determination didn’t falter. She later managed to get Jane Eyre published in 1847, which was was much more celebrated than her sibling's later novels. However, Charlotte’s hardships did not then abate: all her siblings died in the following two years, leaving her to finish her final novel, Villette, in an effort to try and gain a living for herself. 

Her whole life was marked with struggle and personal suffering, but Charlotte stuck strong to her personal morals and the duty she had to her family. Arguably the most determined of the three sisters, she put her own personal needs aside for the sake of the family, which included turning down several proposals of marriage. Her works directly align with her life experiences, shining light on her rich intellectual prowess, which as a woman she was given little opportunity to flex. She remains one of the famous Victorian writers, and a celebrated poet. 

Five Fun Facts About Charlotte Brontë:

  • She used the gender-neutral pseudonym Currer Bell, as female writers were so frowned upon at the time
  • She rejected six marriage proposals in her lifetime. 
  • She based the school in Jane Eyre on her miserable experience in Cowan Bridge School - and wasn’t exactly subtle!
  • Even Queen Victoria was a fan of Jane Eyre, who referred to it as ‘that intensely interesting novel’!
  • Before Charlotte Brontë wrote Shirley in 1849, the name was usually given to boys. However, after 1849, the name was much more popular for girls

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