Friday, October 31, 2014

Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)

Kristina Barnes
Dr. Bender
Eng 5243
October 30, 2014
Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855)


Charlotte Brontë was born on April 21, 1816 to Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell. She was the third of six children; Maria, Elizabeth, Branwell, Emily and Anne. Charlotte had a childhood filled with loss. Her mother passed away when she was five and her aunt came to help her father raise their six children. Charlotte and her sisters, Maria, Elizabeth and Emily were sent to the Clergy Daughters School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire. While they were there because of the harsh regimen, poor food and typhoid fever Maria was brought home and passed away a few months later. After Elizabeth was sent home ill their father, Patrick, brought home Charlotte and Emily. Soon after their return Elizabeth passed away. Charlotte’s experiences and the bitterness she felt towards the school are reflected in her portrayal of Lowood School in Jane Eyre. From an early age Charlotte knew she was not going to have financial independence like her aunt so she must earn her own living. She lacked the self-esteem and was sensitive to her lack of physical charm gave her little faith in marriage and
Charlotte Brontë by George Richmond, 1850
Source: National Portrait Gallery, London
realized she needed to pursue her talents. She would take every educational opportunity that she had and self-improvement was important to her. She wanted to refine her knowledge in art and later become an artist then a poet. She had to later abandon these dreams to become a governess. After her experience at Clergy Daughters School she was educated at home for the next five years from her Aunt Branwell who taught Charlotte and her sister’s letters, needlework and French while Patrick Brontë taught his son Branwell and later his daughters the classics. In January 1831 Charlotte went to Margaret Wooler’s school at Roe Head. After eighteen months Charlotte returned home to share her knowledge with her sisters. Together over the next three years they read, studied, taught, and wrote letters to their school friends but above all she continued to write and create imaginary realms with her sisters. In July 1835 Charlotte Brontë returned to Roe Head as a teacher so her sisters could receive a free education. Charlotte remained employed for three years. Still wanting to be known for her poetry she sent some of her work to Robert Southey asking for his advice. He expressed the conventional ideas about women writers which didn’t discourage Brontë; he only recommended she not forget her real duties as a woman. In 1839 she began one of what would be many positions as a governess. It is thought that many of these events were the inspiration to characters in Jane Eyre. 

In May 1846 Charlotte, Emily and Anne financed the publication of a collection of poems under the names Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. The pseudonyms were to hide their gender but keeping with their initials. In August 1847 Jane Eyre was published and it had initial success and favorable reviews. After Brontë began to work on her next novel Shirley her family suffered three more deaths; Branwell, Emily, and Anne. After Anne’s death Charlotte began writing as a way to cope with the grief of losing her siblings. The final noel published in Brontë’s lifetime was Villette. Like Jane Eyre Brontë uses experiences from her own life to create fictional events. 
In January 1854 Charlotte finally accepted a marriage proposal from Arthur Bell Nicholls and they were married that June. Soon after Charlotte became pregnant but her health declined rapidly and she died with her unborn child on March 31, 1855 at age 38. After her death The Professor her first novel she had written was published and a fragment of a new novel she had been writing has been completed by two different authors. 
The decades after her death Charlotte Brontë’s writing was becoming to be seen as inferior because critics claimed it was just a retelling of her life. More recently Charlotte Brontë’s writing has been seen as inspirational and as a criticism against political, religious and social standards of her time. 


Alexander, Christine. “Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Anecdotes of the Duke of Wellington’.” Bronte
           Studies 35.3 (2010): 208-14. Academic Search Compete. Web. 15 Oct.2014.
Armitt, Lucie. “Haunted Childhood in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette.” Yearbook of English Studies
 (2002): 217. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
Brown, Kate E. “Beloved Objects: Mourning, Materiality, and Charlotte Brontë’s “Never-Ending
 Story.”’ ELH 65.2 (1998): 395-421. JSTOR. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Braun, Gretchen. ""A Great Break in the Common Course of Confession": Narrating Loss in 
Charlotte Brontë's Villette." ELH 78.1 (2011): 189-212. Project MUSE. Web. 28 Oct. 2014. 
Burstein, Miriam E. “When did Charlotte Brontë Read Vanity Fair?.” Bronte Studies 37.2
 (2012): 159-162. Academic Search Complete.  Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Capuano, Peter J. "Networked Manufacture in Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley." Victorian 
Studies 55.2 (2013): 231-242. Project MUSE. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.
Clarke, Micael M. "Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, Mid-Victorian Anti-Catholicism, and the Turn to
 Secularism." ELH 78.4 (2011): 967-989.Project MUSE. Web. 28 Oct. 2014. 
Cohn, Elisha. "Still life: suspended animation in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette." Studies in English 
Literature, 1500-1900 52.4 (2012): 843. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Connor, Sharon.“Loneness’ in the Letters of Charlotte Brontë.” Bronte Studies 33.2 (2008):
91-96. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29. Oct. 2014.
Dalsimer, Katherine. "The Young Charlotte Brontë." The Journal of the History of Childhood
 and Youth 3.3 (2010): 317-339. Project MUSE. Web. 28 Oct. 2014. 
Fenton-Hathaway, Anna. “Charlotte Brontë, Marcy Taylor, and the ‘Redundant Women’ Debate.
 Bronte Studies 35.2 (2010): 137-148. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Gao, Haiyan. “ Reflection on Feminism in Jane Eyre.” Theory and Practice in Language Studies
 3.6 (2013): 926-931. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Hadjiafxendi, Kyriaki. "Women Reviewing Women in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Critical
 Reception of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot ." Victorian Studies 54.2 
(2012): 328-330. Project MUSE. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
Herischian, Nazila. “Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargaso Sea as a Hypertext of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane
 Eyre: A Postmodern Perspective.” International Journal of Applied Linguistics & 
English Literature 1.6 (2012): 72-82. 
Inglis, Katherine. “Ophthalmoscopy In Charlotte Brontë’s Villette.” Journal of Victorian Culture
 (Routledge) 15.3 (2010): 348-369. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Jackson, Rachel. “Empty Letters and the Ghost of Desire in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette.” Bronte 
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Jung, Sandro. “Curiosity, Surveillance and Detection in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette.” Bronte
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Kent, Julia D. “Making the Prude in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette.” Partial Answers (British
 Women Writers) 8.2 (2010): 325-39. Literature Online. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Jung, Sandro. “Curiosity, Surveillance and Detection in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette.” Bronte
 Studies 35.2 (2010): 160-171. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

Lydon, Susan. “The Gendering of Art and Science in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette.” Bronte Studies

 34.1 (2009): 20-30. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Marin, Ileana. “Charlotte Brontë’s Heron Scissors: Cancellations and Excisions in the 
Manuscript of Shirley.” Bronte Studies 38.1 (2013): 19-29. Academic Search Complete. 
Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Miller, Kathleen Ann. "Haunted Heroines: The Gothic Imagination and the Female 
Bildungsroman of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, and L. M. Montgomery." The 
Lion and the Unicorn 34.2 (2010): 125-147.Project MUSE. Web. 29 Oct. 2014. 
Miller, Lucasta. “Sex and the Woman Writer: Charlotte Brontë and the Cautionary Tale of 
Letitia Elizabeth Landon.” Bronte Studies 36.1 (2011): 38-43. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Mullen, Richard. “Charlotte Brontë And William Thackeray.” Bronte Studies 36.1 (2011)
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Owsley, Lauren. “Charlotte Brontë’s circumvention of Patriarchy: Gender, Labour and Financial
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 Oct. 2014.
Parsons, Diana. “Charlotte Brontë and Henrietta Asseretti: Neighbouring Governesses?.” Bronte 
Studies 34.1 (2009): 67-75. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Pearson, Sara L. “Charlotte Brontë’s Poetics: A Study of ‘Pilate’s Wife’s Dream’*.” Bronte 
Studies 37.3 (2012): 194-207. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Pearson, Sara L. “The Coming Man’: Revelations of Male Character in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane 
Eyre.” Bronte Studies 37.4 (2012): 299-305. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct.
Peterson, Linda H. “Triangulation, Desire, and Discontent in The Life of Charlotte Bronte.” 
Studies in English Literature 47.4 (2007): 901-20. Project Muse. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Rea, Joanne E. “Brontë’s Jane Eyre. “Explicator 50.2 (1992): 75. Academic Search Complete.
 Web. 15 Oct. 2014. 
Reger, Mark. “Brontë’s Jane Eyre.” Explicator 50.4 (1992): 213. Academic Search Complete. 
Web. 28 Oct. 2014.
Roberts, Michele. "How Eating Becomes a Metaphor in the Novels of Charlotte Brontë. (Food)."
New Statesman [1996] 5 May 2003: 56. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
Sadiq, ebtisam. “Negation, Selection and Substitution: Charlotte Brontë’s Feminist Poetics.”
 English Studies 93.7 (2012): 833-857. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Jung, Sandro. “Curiosity, Surveillance and Detection in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette.” Bronte
 Studies 35.2 (2010): 160-171. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Stone, Laurie. “Why Charlotte Dissed Emily.” Literary Review 49.3 (2006): 63-70. Academic
 Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Sutherland, Kathryn. “Jane Eyre’s Literary History: The Case for Mansfield Park.” ELH  59.2 
(1992): 409-440. JSTOR. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Tomaiuolo, Saverio. “From ‘Emma’ to Emma Brown: Charlotte Brontë’s Legacies.” Bronte
 Studies 38.3 (2013): 195-205. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Twinn, Frances. “The Portrait of Haworth in the Life of Charlotte Brontë.” Bronte Studies 30.2 
(2005): 151-161. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Voskuil, Lynn M. "Acting naturally: Brontë, Lewes and the Problem of Gender Performance." 
ELH 62.2 (1995): 409. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Ward, Ian. “In Search of Healing Voices: Church and State in Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley.” 
Journal of Church & State 54.4. (2012): 603-624. Religion and Philosophy Collection.
 Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Weisser, Susan Ostrov. “Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, and the Meaning of Love.” Bronte 
Studies 31.2 (2006): 93-100. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

Wong,  Daniel. “Charlotte Brontë’s Villette and the Possibilities of a Post secular Cosmopolitan

Critique.” Journal of Victorian Culture (Routledge)  18.1 (2013): 1-6. Academic Search 
Complete. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

Selected letter of Charlotte Bronte

Smith, Margaret, ed. Selected Letters of Charlotte Brontë. Oxford, GBR: Oxford University 
Press, UK, 2007. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 28 October 2014.

Web Resources
These two web resources about teeny tiny adventure books written by Charlotte Bronte and her brother. There are links so you can read each book digitally.
Book Review
In Charlotte Brontë, a psychological Study author Rosmand Langbride examines Charlotte Brontë’s life from a psychological stand point. He looks at her life from childhood, when she was a governess, her Brussels period and her marriage. Langbride argues that every agony in the Brontë family can be tracked back to her father. Langbride uses Charlotte’s letter and accounts from her novels to illustrate how mentally her father damaged both her and her siblings. 
In the first chapter Langbride describes the sad childhood of Charlotte Brontë and her siblings. Her father wouldn’t allow them to play like normal children and Langbride argues that their father’s view of children was an unfavorable one and that religion also kept his beliefs stern which was passed down to his children. Since their father wanted complete silence in the home the children didn’t have a typical upbringing. They would read the newspaper and discuss politics at a young age; Langbride argues that this would hinder the children in their lives later and that they were not developing the mental part of themselves that many children do during this time of their lives. It is an interesting insight to the Brontë family. Because Charlotte didn’t know how to play as a child when she later became a governess she didn’t understand the children she would be in charge of watching. Their tendencies were unfamiliar to her and she would see them as unruly. 
Langbride also argues that the time spent at Clergy Daughter School would under develop the girls physically. Charlotte eventually loses her oldest sisters because of the conditions at the school. Because of the way they were raised to suffer in silence the Brontë children never requested medical aid when they were sick until it was too late. So one by one Charlotte lost every single one of her siblings and she too would die at a young age. 
Another psychological impact on Charlotte from her father was the idea of a perfect man or husband. Since from birth the family regarded Branwell as a genius him and his father were the ideal in Charlottes eyes. This idea kept her from marrying someone while she was younger and eventually she married to a man like her father at the age of 38 and when she tried to have a child with her husband at this age she became since and died. 
Langbride provides a good argument for the Brontë family and their father being able to prevent all the heartache of their short lives. There were many habits formed by the family that could have prevented much of the heartache the family felt. 

Work Cited

Langbridge, Rosamond, 1880-. Charlotte Brontë: a Psychological Study. Garden City, N.Y.: 
Doubleday, Doran & company, 1929.
Alexander, Christine. “Brontë, Charlotte (1816-1855).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press Online. 2014. 28 Oct. 2014.

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