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The Life of Charlotte Brontë (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – June 20, 2002


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Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Angus Easson is a Research Professor of English, University of Salford.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192838059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192838056
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.3 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,618,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
Mrs. Gaskell portrays her friend Charlotte as a warm and generous person and this book is a must for any Bronte lover.
Nicola Madders (mg153788@st.mail.staffs.ac.uk
The main thought I took away from this book is that what today we consider melodrama was a very close imitation of real life back in the Bronte's day.
juneroses
The fact that Mrs Gaskell was an excellent novelist is indisputable, however, this work proves she was also talented biographer.
Elizabeth Crowley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By C. N. Seong on March 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
A very nicely written biography by Mrs. Gaskell about the life of her friend Charlotte Bronte, although most of the content was made up of letters written either by or to Charlotte Bronte rather than Mrs. Gaskell's own writings. Still this is a very concise book containing mostly everything that an ordinary reader, or well, a beginner of the Bronte novels, should know about this famous family. Nonetheless at some point of the book, I do find Mrs. Gaskell a bit too subjective, especially when it comes to the depiction of Charlotte's brother Branwell Bronte and his downfall. But consider the fact that this book was written only within one and a half year, with Mrs. Gaskell herself alone traveling all the way from Manchester to Haworth, and then to Brussel, doing all the necessary researches and interviews on her own, I must say that this is just an awesome piece of work!! And just as what Patrick Bronte himself had said about this biography, 'It is every way worthy of what one Great Woman, should have written of Another...it ought to stand, and will stand in the first rank, of Biographies, till the end of time'.
One more word though. From a more scholarly point of view, however, I think so far the 'best' biography on the Brontes should be Juliet Barker's 'The Brontes'. If, after reading this biography written by Mrs. Gaskell, you still want to know more about the Brontes, then I will say: go and buy this other book by Juliet Barker and you definitely will never regret it!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Madders (mg153788@st.mail.staffs.ac.uk on April 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book, written shortly after Charlotte's death by request of her father, shows the passionate and creative side to Charlotte's nature that her contemporary society were not aware of. You feel like you are actually watching her life pass by as Mrs. Gaskell describes every minute detail concerning the Bronte parsonage and the nearby surroundings. It is a happy story, particularly when the Haworth house learnt the news of their publications, and in general it tells of a very contented household. Their is a degree of poigency, however, as the reader follows Charlotte through the loss of her beloved siblings one by one. When after their deathes she eventually finds happiness, it is very shortlived as her untimely demise occurs shortly after her union with Athur Bell Nicholls. Mrs. Gaskell portrays her friend Charlotte as a warm and generous person and this book is a must for any Bronte lover.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Christian Clark on June 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Such sad lives were led by the the Bronte's, loneliness, loss, despair, all were experienced and fed into the imaginations on charlotte, emily and anne. This book is a brilliant book by E C Gaskell (who i normally dont really like), it is basically a collection of letters by charlotte and a great narrative, when speaking of the deaths of emily, anne and charlotte, i actually felt tears in my eyes!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Crowley on June 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most people associate the name Elizabeth Gaskell with the novel North and South. The fact that Mrs Gaskell was an excellent novelist is indisputable, however, this work proves she was also talented biographer. Vanity Fair's Thackerary wrote of Gaskell's biography "In the whole of English literature there is no book that can compare in wide-spread interest with "Life of Charlotte Bronte" by Mrs Gaskell." The book is certainly worthy of the praise, however, it is not without flaws.

Gaskell's biography was the first biography to be written on Bronte with the consent of her father, Patrick Bronte. Although Mr Bronte consented to the biography due to the fact that Mrs Gaskell was a close friend of his daughter. Mr Bronte and Charlotte's husband decided it would be better for the public to read about Charlotte from someone who held Charlotte in such high esteem. However, the book was not without controversy.

Gaskell somewhat embellished Mr Bronte's stern character and his treatment of his daughters and wife. Letters unpublished in this book prove Charlotte and her sisters loved their father dearly. Mr Bronte was quite astonished to read his cold demeanor towards his children.

The strongest controversy came from other people, such as Lady Scott who threatened legal action due to Gaskell's mention of her affair with Charlotte's brother, Branwell. (The affair proved to be a total fabrication by the Bronte sisters.) William Carus, who founded the Clergy Daughters School at Cowan Bridge also expressed displeasure with the details of the school.

Regardless of the controversy, the biography gives an excellent portrait of Charlotte the woman. If you are looking for information on the Heger affair in Brussels, look elsewhere. Mr Heger's name is nonexistant in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By juneroses on January 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Bronte family comes to life! The main thought I took away from this book is that what today we consider melodrama was a very close imitation of real life back in the Bronte's day. Remember Jane hearing Rochester's voice calling to her over many miles when he found himself in desperate straits? Even that detail was a circumstance from Charlotte's own life, though in her case we may never know whose voice she heard calling to her....
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Steven Cain on March 22, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While the definitive overall Brontes biography is Juliet Barker's 'The Brontes', and the various Bronte-related works of Edward Chitham are invaluable in their own right, this still stands as an important contribution to understanding the Brontes, and Charlotte above all.

Despite its flaws, and I agree with other reviewers, that this is a rather dark picture of events, Elizabeth wrote a detailed and very sympathetic account of Charlotte's life and her relationship to her family. Her inclusion of letter content, epecially in relation to Ellen Nussey, was somewhat self-edited, and the lack of references to the romantic friendship that so clearly existed between the two women, was probably Elizabeth's attempt to protect them.

For anyone who is interested in the truth of their passionate relationship, I highly recommend Elaine Miller's detailed essay 'Through All Changes and Through All Chances' from the book Not A Passing Phase, compiled by the Lesbian History Group. The letter excerpts that Elaine includes clearly indicate that Charlotte and Ellen not only loved each other, but that they jointly expressed a long-term desire to live together 'until Death'.

When Ellen Nussey wanted to publish her own 'The Story of the Brontes' which would have included many excerpts from the hundreds of letters that Charlotte had sent her, Arthur Nicholls blocked permission, as he owned copyright to the contents of the letters, even though Ellen owned the letters themselves. Nicholls - Charlotte's husband of only nine months - also destroyed all of the literally hundreds of letters from Ellen to Charlotte, and even tried to insist that Ellen destroy all of Charlotte's letters to her, during Charlotte's lifetime.
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