Historical Figures

Charlotte Brontë, the eldest of the sisters

Emily and Anne's sister, Charlotte Brontë (1816 – 1855) is one of the most famous English writers, whose most famous work remains Jane Eyre .

Childhood trauma

Daughter of Maria Branwell and Patrick Brontë, curate and author, Charlotte was born on April 21, 1816 in Thornton in the Yorkshire (England), third in a family of six children. She was only five years old when her mother died of stomach cancer in September 1821.

In 1824, the four eldest daughters, including Charlotte, entered the reputable Cowan Bridge School as pupils. However, living conditions there are harsh due to the lack of hygiene, heating and a balanced diet. In 1825, the two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, fell seriously ill. The four girls are taken out of school but Maria and Elizabeth both die a few weeks later. This tragedy remains, for the four Brontë children, a deep trauma.

The Glass Town Confederacy

Charlotte Brontë becomes the eldest of the children who are raised by their aunt Elizabeth Branwell. Between the children, a real cohesion is created and is reflected in particular by literature. Reading a lot, they imagine a whole universe, the confederation of Glass Town, of which they create the geography, the organization, the history, through newspapers, plays, stories and poems.

In 1831, Charlotte was sent to a quality boarding school. When she began to work, as a teacher and then as a governess, she felt a real need to write but her attempts to approach authors were unsuccessful. She then planned to open a boarding school for young girls and, in 1842, left for Brussels with her sister Emily to perfect her language skills. She moved there to the Héger boarding school, run by Mme Héger; her husband Constantin Héger then had a strong influence on her. In 1845, the death of their aunt forced the two sisters to return.

Jane Eyre

The same year, Charlotte Brontë accidentally discovered texts by her sister Emily. Finding them very good, she suggested that her sisters Emily and Anne publish a collective collection of texts, which appeared the following year under the title Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Anne and Emily then publish Agnes Grey and Wtorten Heights . After a rejected first novel, Charlotte published, in 1847, Jane Eyre under the pseudonym of Currer Bell. Her text scandalized some but nevertheless became a huge success, and Charlotte embarked on writing a third novel, Shirley .

In September 1848, his brother Branwell, who had become an alcoholic and opium addict, died of tuberculosis. This tragedy was quickly followed by the death of Emily, in December of the same year, then that of Anne, in May 1849. Following these consecutive misfortunes, Charlotte sank into depression while continuing to work on her novel, whose heroines transform into figures of her sisters. She then worked on her novel Villette , which some consider his masterpiece.

In 1853, the vicar Arthur Bell Nicholls proposed to Charlotte in marriage. Despite her father's opposition, she married him in 1854 and the two spouses enjoyed happiness for a few months. Falling ill, Charlotte Brontë died on March 31, 1855, at the age of 38.

Useful links

Wikipedia entry of Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë's works