Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë Emily Brontë[2†]

Emily Jane Brontë, also known by the pen name Ellis Bell, was an English novelist and poet who is best known for her only novel, “Wuthering Heights”, now considered a classic of English literature[1†][2†]. She was born on July 30, 1818, in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, and died on December 19, 1848, in Haworth, Yorkshire[1†][2†].

Brontë’s work, characterized by its imaginative power and passionate intensity, is set against the backdrop of the Yorkshire moors. Despite the record of her life being extremely meager, she is considered perhaps the greatest of the three Brontë sisters[1†]. Her single novel, “Wuthering Heights”, darkens rather than solves the mystery of her spiritual existence[1†].

In addition to her novel, 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[1†][2†]. Despite her short life and limited published works, Emily Brontë left an indelible mark on English literature[1†][2†].

Early Years and Education

Emily Jane Brontë was born on July 30, 1818, in Thornton, Yorkshire, England[1†][3†]. She was the fifth of six children born to Patrick Brontë, an Irish priest, and Maria Branwell Brontë, an Englishwoman[1†][4†]. Tragically, Emily’s mother passed away when she was only three years old[1†][4†], and her older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, also died shortly after[1†][4†].

After the death of their mother in 1821, the children were left very much to themselves in the bleak moorland rectory[1†]. The Brontë children were educated mostly at home, where they spent time writing and telling romantic tales for one another and inventing imaginative games played out at home or on the desolate moors[1†][5†].

When Emily was six years old, she joined the ‘Clergy Daughters’ School’ located at Cowan Bridge, where her elder sisters Elizabeth, Maria, and Charlotte were already enrolled[1†][3†]. However, her sisters Elizabeth and Maria fell ill and died, leading their father to bring Emily and Charlotte back home[1†][3†]. There, they were home-tutored by their father and their maternal aunt Elizabeth Branwell[1†][3†].

Despite the lack of formal education, the Brontë sisters were provided with numerous books to read, which included works by Shelley, Sir Walter Scott, and Byron[1†][3†]. The Brontë children created a world of their own in which they dwelled and carved fictional stories around it[1†][3†].

Career Development and Achievements

Emily Brontë began her career in literature by writing poems with her sisters, Charlotte and Anne[2†]. They published a book of poetry under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, with Emily’s poems being recognized as works of poetic genius[2†].

However, Emily Brontë is best known for her novel, “Wuthering Heights”, which she published under the pen name Ellis Bell[2†][1†][2†]. The novel, set on the Yorkshire moors, is a highly imaginative work of passion and hate[2†][1†]. Despite its stark description and flaming emotions, it was not immediately acclaimed. However, it was later appreciated by critics and readers alike, and is now considered a classic of English literature[2†][6†][3†].

“Wuthering Heights” is Emily Brontë’s only novel, but it has earned her immense fame[2†][3†]. It stands as a testament to her imaginative power and passionate intensity[2†][1†].

Despite her short career, Emily Brontë’s work has left an indelible mark on English literature[2†][1†][2†]. Her novel and her poetry continue to be celebrated for their originality and emotional depth[2†].

First Publication of Her Main Works

Emily Brontë, despite her short life, made a significant contribution to English literature with her novel and poetry. Her most notable work is her only novel, Wuthering Heights (1847), which is now considered a classic of English literature[1†][2†]. This highly imaginative work of passion and hate set on the Yorkshire moors has left an indelible mark on literature[1†][2†].

In addition to her novel, Emily also published a book of poetry with her sisters Charlotte and Anne titled Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell(1846) [1†][2†]. Her own poems in this collection have been regarded as works of poetic genius[1†][2†]. Some of her popular poems include:

These works, filled with imagination and emotional intensity, reflect the dramatic and often harsh life on the Yorkshire moors, where Emily spent most of her life[1†]. Despite having produced only one novel, Emily’s contribution to literature, particularly through Wuthering Heights and her poetry, is significant[1†][2†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Emily Brontë’s work, particularly her novel Wuthering Heights and her poetry, has been the subject of much analysis and evaluation[7†][8†]. Her novel, when first published in 1847, won some praise for its originality and power, but reviewers generally found its violence disturbing and its dominant character, Heathcliff, excessively brutal[7†][8†]. It did not offer the charm and optimism that many readers wanted to find in a work of fiction[7†][8†]. However, over time, Wuthering Heights has come to be appreciated for its elaborate narrative structure, intricate patterns of imagery, and powerful themes of the soul’s anguish and longing[7†][8†].

Among the three Brontë sisters, Emily Brontë’s poetry has been acknowledged as more skillful and moving[7†]. When her sister Charlotte accidentally discovered a notebook of Emily’s poems, she was impressed by their uncommon nature[7†][8†]. Emily’s poems, with their surplus of imagination, their instinctive music and irregular rightness of form, their sweeping impressiveness, effects of landscape, and scant allusions to dogma or perfidious man, are indeed not at all like the poetry women generally write[7†].

Emily Brontë’s work is characterized by its imaginative power and emotional intensity, reflecting the dramatic and often harsh life on the Yorkshire moors, where she spent most of her life[7†][8†]. Despite having produced only one novel, Emily’s contribution to literature, particularly through Wuthering Heights and her poetry, is significant[7†][8†].

Personal Life

Emily Brontë lived a private and reclusive life[4†][9†]. Despite her literary success, she did not pursue fame or fortune[4†]. She was deeply committed to her family and her home in Haworth[4†]. Emily loved nature and often spent time on the moors[4†].

Emily was the second youngest of six siblings, preceded by Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, and Branwell. In 1820, Emily’s younger sister Anne, the last Brontë child, was born[4†][2†]. 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[4†][2†]. The younger children were to be cared for by Elizabeth Branwell, their aunt and Maria’s sister[4†][2†].

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[4†][2†]. 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. Elizabeth died shortly after[4†][2†]. The four youngest Brontë children, all under ten years of age, had suffered the loss of the three eldest women in their immediate family[4†][2†].

Emily died at age 30 in 1848 after her brother Branwell succumbed to tuberculosis[4†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Emily Brontë’s life was tragically cut short at the age of 30, but her legacy has only grown over time[10†]. Despite having written only one novel, “Wuthering Heights”, she is considered one of the greatest writers among the Brontë sisters[10†][1†][2†]. Her work is characterized by its imaginative power, emotional intensity, and its setting on the Yorkshire moors, which reflects the environment in which she spent much of her life[10†][1†].

“Wuthering Heights” is now considered a classic of English literature and is still one of the top five best-selling classic novels in the English language[10†]. Emily’s novel is a highly imaginative work of passion and hate[10†][1†][2†]. It shocked the world when it was first published and has continued to inspire novels, poems, songs, essays, and films for years to come[10†][11†].

Emily Brontë was a misunderstood woman in a man’s world who experienced unimaginable hardship[10†][11†]. Yet, she understood what it meant to love and was able to express this understanding through her writing[10†][11†]. Her work continues to be celebrated for its depth of emotion and innovative narrative structure[10†][1†][2†].

Emily Brontë’s legacy is a testament to her unique talent and the enduring power of her words. Her work continues to captivate readers, demonstrating the timeless relevance of her themes and the universal resonance of her characters[10†][1†][2†][10†][11†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Britannica - Emily Bronte: British author [website] - link
  2. Wikipedia (English) - Emily Brontë [website] - link
  3. The Famous People - Emily Brontë Biography [website] - link
  4. Thievesofhistory - The Life Of Emily Bronte. A Truly Phenomenal Woman [website] - link
  5. Britannica - What was Emily Brontë’s childhood like? [website] - link
  6. Victorian Era - Emily Bronte and her Writing Style, Early Life and Biography [website] - link
  7. Literary Ladies Guide - Emily Brontë’s Poetry: A 19th-Century Analysis [website] - link
  8. eNotes - Emily Brontë Analysis [website] - link
  9. SparkNotes - Emily Brontë Biography, Works, and Quotes [website] - link
  10. little infinite - Life Lessons from Emily Brontë [website] - link
  11. Discover Britain Magazine - Emily Brontë: The most mysterious of the Brontë sisters [website] - link
  12. ThoughtCo - Biography of Emily Brontë, English Novelist [website] - link
Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 4.0; additional terms may apply.
Ondertexts® is a registered trademark of Ondertexts Foundation, a non-profit organization.