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The Life of Charlotte Bronte (Penguin Classics) Paperback – March 1, 1998
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From the Publisher
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 alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
ELIZABETH GASKELL was born in London in 1810. She married a minister, and her literary output was substantial and completely professional. Many of her works are available in Penguin Classics, including NORTH AND SOUTH, SYLVIA'S LOVERS, and WIVES AND DAUGHTERS. She died suddenly in 1865. ELISABETH JAY has taught and lectured at various universities in Great Britain and the USA, and is currently Head of Westminster College, Oxford. Her books include FAITH AND DOUBT IN VICTORIAN BRITAIN.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 Letters unpublished in this book prove Charlotte and her sisters loved their father dearly.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. Very little information is provided about Charlotte's courtship with Arthur Bell Nicholls. The majority of the biography consists of letters either written by Charlotte or to Charlotte. What better way to learn about an author than from her own words?
This biography not only describes Charlotte and her relationship with family and friends, but it also provides a wonderful portrayal of Haworth and the society that existed there before and after the Brontes arrived. Gaskell also describes Patrick Bronte's introduction to Charlotte's mother and many other descriptions of all Brontes from childhood to adulthood.
While many may call Charlotte Bronte a brilliant novelist, her life was anything but brilliant. Charlotte grew up without a mother and also lost two older siblings at a young age. Charlotte had to assume the role of woman of the house at an early age. The beloved author of Jane Eyre lived a life of isolation a very little joy. As the years went by, she watched each of her siblings die one by one. Mrs Gaskell provided many letters which make Charlotte's grief come to life to today's readers.
This biography is mostly a portrait of Charlotte the woman. There are few references to Charlotte the novelist. The introduction goes as far as to say that Mrs Gaskell did not particularly care for Charlotte's novels. The writing of this biography was not an easy task for Elizabeth Gaskell, who loved Charlotte so dearly. However, after her death, numerous articles appeared which urged the Brontes to write something to counter those who were attempting to tarnish the name of one who was so gentle and caring.