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Emili Brönte biography english

Emily Brontë
Emily Jane Brontë 1818 – 19 December 1848)[3] was an English novelist and poet who is best
known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, now considered a classic of English literature.
She also published a book of poetry with her sisters Charlotte and Anne titled Poems by Currer,
Ellis and Acton Bell with her own poems finding regard as poetic genius. Emily was the secondyoungest of the four surviving Brontë siblings, between the youngest Anne and her brother
Branwell. She published under the pen name Ellis Bell.
Early life and loss
Emily Brontë was born on 30 July 1818 to Maria Branwell and an Irish father, Patrick Brontë.
The family was living on Market Street in the village of Thornton on the outskirts of Bradford,
in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Northern England. Emily was the youngest of five siblings,
preceded by Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Branwell. In 1820, Emily's younger sister Anne, the
last Brontë child, was born. Shortly thereafter, the family moved eight miles away to Haworth,
where Patrick was employed as perpetual curate. In Haworth, the children would have
opportunities to develop their literary talents.
When Emily was only three, and all six children under the age of eight, she and her siblings lost
their mother, Maria, to cancer on 15 September 1821. The younger children were to be cared
for by Elizabeth Branwell, their aunt and mother Maria's sister.
Emily's three elder sisters, Maria, Elizabeth, and Charlotte, were sent to the Clergy Daughters'
School at Cowan Bridge. At the age of six, on 25 November 1824, Emily joined her sisters at
school for a brief period. At school, however, the children suffered abuse and privations, and
when a typhoid epidemic swept the school, Maria and Elizabeth became ill. Maria, who may
actually have had tuberculosis, was sent home, where she died. Emily, Charlotte and Elizabeth
were subsequently removed from the school in June 1825. Elizabeth died soon after their
return home.
The four youngest Brontë children, all under ten years of age, had suffered the loss of the
three eldest females in their immediate family.
Charlotte maintained that the school's poor conditions permanently affected her health and
physical development and that it had hastened the deaths of Maria (born 1814) and Elizabeth
(born 1815), who both died in 1825. After the deaths of his older daughters, Patrick removed
Charlotte and Emily from the school. Charlotte would use her experiences and knowledge of
the school as the basis for Lowood School in Jane Eyre.
The three remaining sisters and their brother Branwell were thereafter educated at home by
their father and aunt Elizabeth Branwell. A shy girl, Emily was very close to her siblings and was
known as a great animal lover, especially for befriending stray dogs she found wandering
around the countryside. Despite the lack of formal education, Emily and her siblings had access
to a wide range of published material; favourites included Sir Walter Scott, Byron, Shelley, and
Blackwood's Magazine.
Emily's Gondal poems
Inspired by a box of toy soldiers Branwell had received as a gift, the children began to write
stories which they set in a number of invented imaginary worlds peopled by their soldiers as
well as their heroes the Duke of Wellington and his sons, Charles and Arthur Wellesley. Little of
Emily's work from this period survives, except for poems spoken by characters. Initially, all four
children shared in creating stories about a world called Angria.
However, when Emily was 13, she and Anne withdrew from participation in the Angria story
and began a new one about Gondal, a fictional island whose myths and legends were to
preoccupy the two sisters throughout their lives. With the exception of their Gondal poems
and Anne's lists of Gondal's characters and place-names, Emily and Anne's Gondal writings
were largely not preserved. Among those that did survive are some "diary papers," written by
Emily in her twenties, which describe current events in Gondal. The heroes of Gondal tended
to resemble the popular image of the Scottish Highlander, a sort of British version of the
"noble savage": romantic outlaws capable of more nobility, passion, and bravery than the
denizens of "civilization". Similar themes of romanticism and noble savagery are apparent
across the Brontë's juvenilia, notably in Branwell's The Life of Alexander Percy, which tells the
story of an all-consuming, death-defying, and ultimately self-destructive love and is generally
considered an inspiration for Wuthering Heights.
At seventeen, Emily began to attend the Roe Head Girls' School, where Charlotte was a teacher,
but suffered from extreme homesickness and left after only a few months. Charlotte wrote
later that "Liberty was the breath of Emily's nostrils; without it, she perished. The change from
her own home to a school and from her own very noiseless, very secluded but unrestricted
and unartificial mode of life, to one of disciplined routine (though under the kindest auspices),
was what she failed in enduring... I felt in my heart she would die if she did not go home, and
with this conviction obtained her recall."Emily returned home and Anne took her place. At this
time, the girls' objective was to obtain sufficient education to open a small school of their own.
Emily became a teacher at Law Hill School in Halifax beginning in September 1838, when she
was twenty. Her always fragile health soon broke under the stress of the 17-hour work day and
she returned home in April 1839. Thereafter she remained at home, doing most of the cooking,
ironing, and cleaning at Haworth. She taught herself German out of books and also practised
the piano.
In 1842, Emily accompanied Charlotte to the Héger Pensionnat in Brussels, Belgium, where
they attended the girls' academy run by Constantin Héger in the hope of perfecting their
French and German before opening their school. Unlike Charlotte, Emily was uncomfortable in
Brussels, and refused to adopt Belgian fashions, saying "I wish to be as God made me", which
rendered her something of an outcast. Nine of Emily's French essays survive from this period.
Héger seems to have been impressed with the strength of Emily's character, writing that:
She should have been a man – a great navigator. Her powerful reason would have deduced
new spheres of discovery from the knowledge of the old; and her strong imperious will would
never have been daunted by opposition or difficulty, never have given way but with life. She
had a head for logic, and a capability of argument unusual in a man and rarer indeed in a
woman... impairing this gift was her stubborn tenacity of will which rendered her obtuse to all
reasoning where her own wishes, or her own sense of right, was concerned.
The two sisters were committed to their studies and by the end of the term had become so
competent in French that Madame Héger proposed that they both stay another half-year,
even, according to Charlotte, offering to dismiss the English master so that she could take his
place. Emily had, by this time, become a competent pianist and teacher and it was suggested
that she might stay on to teach music.[24] However, the illness and death of their aunt drove
them to return to their father and Haworth.[25] In 1844, the sisters attempted to open a
school in their house, but their plans were stymied by an inability to attract students to the
remote area.
In 1844, Emily began going through all the poems she had written, recopying them neatly into
two notebooks. One was labelled "Gondal Poems"; the other was unlabelled. Scholars such as
Fannie Ratchford and Derek Roper have attempted to piece together a Gondal storyline and
chronology from these poems.[27][28] In the autumn of 1845, Charlotte discovered the
notebooks and insisted that the poems be published. Emily, furious at the invasion of her
privacy, at first refused but relented when Anne brought out her own manuscripts and
revealed to Charlotte that she had been writing poems in secret as well. As co-authors of
Gondal stories, Anne and Emily were accustomed to read their Gondal stories and poems to
each other, while Charlotte was excluded from their privacy. Around this time she had written
one of her most famous poems "No coward soul is mine", probably as an answer to the
violation of her privacy and her own transformation into a published writer. Despite
Charlotte's later claim, it was not her last poem.
In 1846, the sisters' poems were published in one volume as Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton
Bell. The Brontë sisters had adopted pseudonyms for publication, preserving their initials:
Charlotte was "Currer Bell", Emily was "Ellis Bell" and Anne was "Acton Bell". Charlotte wrote
in the 'Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell' that their "ambiguous choice" was "dictated
by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we
did not like to declare ourselves women, because... we had a vague impression that
authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice". Charlotte contributed 19 poems, and
Emily and Anne each contributed 21. Although the sisters were told several months after
publication that only two copies had sold, they were not discouraged (of their two readers,
one was impressed enough to request their autographs). The Athenaeum reviewer praised
Ellis Bell's work for its music and power, singling out his poems as the best: "Ellis possesses a
fine, quaint spirit and an evident power of wing that may reach heights not here attempted",
and The Critic reviewer recognised "the presence of more genius than it was supposed this
utilitarian age had devoted to the loftier exercises of the intellect."
Personality and character
Emily Brontë remains a mysterious figure and a challenge to biographers because there is
limited information about her, due to her solitary and reclusive nature. Except for Ellen Nussey
and Louise de Bassompierre, Emily's fellow student in Brussels, she does not seem to have
made any friends outside her family. Her closest friend was her sister Anne. Together they
shared their own fantasy world, Gondal, and, according to Ellen Nussey, in childhood they
were "like twins", "inseparable companions" and "in the very closest sympathy which never
had any interruption". In 1845 Anne took Emily to visit some of the places she had come to
know and love in the five years she spent as governess. A plan to visit Scarborough fell through
and instead the sisters went to York where Anne showed Emily York Minster. During the trip
the sisters acted out some of their Gondal characters.
Charlotte Brontë remains the primary source of information about Emily, although as an elder
sister, writing publicly about her only shortly after her death, she is considered by certain
scholars not to be a neutral witness. Stevie Davies believes that there is what might be called
Charlotte's smoke-screen and argues that Emily evidently shocked her, to the point where she
may even have doubted her sister's sanity. After Emily's death, Charlotte rewrote her
character, history and even poems on a more acceptable (to her and the bourgeois reading
public) model. Charlotte presented Emily as someone whose "natural" love of the beauties of
nature had become somewhat exaggerated owing to her shy nature, portraying her as too
fond of the Yorkshire moors, and homesick whenever she was away. According to Lucasta
Miller, in her analysis of Brontë biographies, "Charlotte took on the role of Emily's first
mythographer." In the Preface to the Second Edition of Wuthering Heights, in 1850, Charlotte
My sister's disposition was not naturally gregarious; circumstances favoured and fostered her
tendency to seclusion; except to go to church or take a walk on the hills, she rarely crossed the
threshold of home. Though her feeling for the people round was benevolent, intercourse with
them she never sought; nor, with very few exceptions, ever experienced. And yet she knew
them: knew their ways, their language, their family histories; she could hear of them with
interest, and talk of them with detail, minute, graphic, and accurate; but WITH them, she
rarely exchanged a word.
Emily's unsociability and extremely shy nature have subsequently been reported many times.
According to Norma Crandall, her "warm, human aspect" was "usually revealed only in her
love of nature and of animals". In a similar description, Literary news (1883) states: "[Emily]
loved the solemn moors, she loved all wild, free creatures and things", and critics attest that
her love of the moors is manifest in Wuthering Heights. Over the years, Emily's love of nature
has been the subject of many anecdotes. A newspaper dated 31 December 1899, gives the
folksy account that "with bird and beast [Emily] had the most intimate relations, and from her
walks she often came with fledgling or young rabbit in hand, talking softly to it, quite sure, too,
that it understood". Elizabeth Gaskell, in her biography of Charlotte, told the story of Emily's
punishing her pet dog Keeper for lying "on the delicate white counterpane" that covered one
of the beds in the Parsonage. According to Gaskell, she struck him with her fists until he was
"half-blind" with his eyes "swelled up". This story is apocryphal, and contradicts the following
account of Emily's and Keeper's relationship:
Poor old Keeper, Emily's faithful friend and worshipper, seemed to understand her like a
human being. One evening, when the four friends were sitting closely round the fire in the
sitting-room, Keeper forced himself in between Charlotte and Emily and mounted himself on
Emily’s lap; finding the space too limited for his comfort he pressed himself forward on to the
guest’s knees, making himself quite comfortable. Emily’s heart was won by the unresisting
endurance of the visitor, little guessing that she herself, being in close contact, was the
inspiring cause of submission to Keeper’s preference. Sometimes Emily would delight in
showing off Keeper—make him frantic in action, and roar with the voice of a lion. It was a
terrifying exhibition within the walls of an ordinary sitting-room. Keeper was a solemn
mourner at Emily’s funeral and never recovered his cheerfulness.
In Queens of Literature of the Victorian Era (1886), Eva Hope summarises Emily's character as
"a peculiar mixture of timidity and Spartan-like courage", and goes on to say, "She was
painfully shy, but physically she was brave to a surprising degree. She loved few persons, but
those few with a passion of self-sacrificing tenderness and devotion. To other people's failings
she was understanding and forgiving, but over herself she kept a continual and most austere
watch, never allowing herself to deviate for one instant from what she considered her duty."
Emily Brontë has often been characterised as a devout if somewhat unorthodox Christian, a
heretic and a visionary "mystic of the moors".
Wuthering Heights
Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights was first published in London in 1847 by Thomas Cautley
Newby, appearing as the first two volumes of a three-volume set that included Anne Brontë's
Agnes Grey. The authors were printed as being Ellis and Acton Bell; Emily's real name did not
appear until 1850, when it was printed on the title page of an edited commercial edition.[59]
The novel's innovative structure somewhat puzzled critics.
Wuthering Heights's violence and passion led the Victorian public and many early reviewers to
think that it had been written by a man. According to Juliet Gardiner, "the vivid sexual passion
and power of its language and imagery impressed, bewildered and appalled reviewers."
Literary critic Thomas Joudrey further contextualizes this reaction: "Expecting in the wake of
Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre to be swept up in an earnest Bildungsroman, they were instead
shocked and confounded by a tale of unchecked primal passions, replete with savage cruelty
and outright barbarism."Even though the novel received mixed reviews when it first came out,
and was often condemned for its portrayal of amoral passion, the book subsequently became
an English literary classic. Emily Brontë never knew the extent of fame she achieved with her
only novel, as she died a year after its publication, aged 30.
Although a letter from her publisher indicates that Emily had begun to write a second novel,
the manuscript has never been found. Perhaps Emily or a member of her family eventually
destroyed the manuscript, if it existed, when she was prevented by illness from completing it.
It has also been suggested that, though less likely, the letter could have been intended for
Anne Brontë, who was already writing The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, her second novel.[64]
Emily's health was probably weakened by the harsh local climate and by unsanitary conditions
at home,[65] the source of water being contaminated by run off from the church's
graveyard.[c] Branwell died suddenly, on Sunday, 24 September 1848. At his funeral service, a
week later, Emily caught a severe cold which quickly developed into inflammation of the lungs
and led to tuberculosis. Though her condition worsened steadily, she rejected medical help
and all offered remedies, saying that she would have "no poisoning doctor" near her. On the
morning of 19 December 1848, Charlotte, fearing for her sister, wrote:
She grows daily weaker. The physician's opinion was expressed too obscurely to be of use – he
sent some medicine which she would not take. Moments so dark as these I have never known
– I pray for God's support to us all.
At noon, Emily was worse; she could only whisper in gasps. With her last audible words she
said to Charlotte, "If you will send for a doctor, I will see him now",[70] but it was too late. She
died that same day at about two in the afternoon. According to Mary Robinson, an early
biographer of Emily, it happened while she was sitting on the sofa. However, Charlotte's letter
to William Smith Williams where she mentions Emily's dog, Keeper, lying at the side of her
dying-bed, makes this statement seem unlikely.
It was less than three months since Branwell's death, which led Martha Brown, a housemaid,
to declare that "Miss Emily died of a broken heart for love of her brother". Emily had grown so
thin that her coffin measured only 16 inches wide. The carpenter said he had never made a
narrower one for an adult. Her mortal remains were interred in the family vault in St Michael
and All Angels' Church, Haworth.