These letters give an insight into the life of a writer whose novels continue to be bestsellers. They reveal much about Charlotte Bronte's personal life, her family relationships, and the society in which she lived. Many of her early letters are written with vigour, vivacity, and an engaging aptitude for self-mockery. In contrast, her letters to her 'master', the Belgian schoolteacher Constantin Heger, reveal her intense, obsessive longing for some response from him. Other letters are deeply moving, when Charlotte endures the agony of her brother's and sisters' untimely deaths.
We learn also of the progress of her writing, including the astonishing success of Jane Eyre, and of her contacts with her publishers, including the young George Smith; and we recognize in her letters the life-experiences which are transmuted into the art of her novels. Contemporary society is brilliantly described in her letters from London, when she writes of her encounters with famous writers and with critics of her novels.
We hear too of her visits to art galleries, operas, and the Great Exhibition of at the Crystal Palace. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 7. Friend Reviews.
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I had mixed feelings throughout reading this: Sadness, guilt, anger, empathy. I felt so guilty invading the privacy of her letters. They were never meant to be seen by anyone, apart from to whom they were originally written, and i I had mixed feelings throughout reading this: Sadness, guilt, anger, empathy. He says you must give him a plain pledge to that effect — or he will read every line I write and elect himself censor of our correspondence.
She writes from the heart, with true and honest feeling.
Reading these letters has made me appreciate her narratives even more if possible — and although her life was sadly cut short - her legacy will live on forever. Apr 19, Hannah Smith rated it it was amazing. Charlotte's gorgeous, harrowing, and at times hilarious letters offer immense insight into her life, works, and innermost thoughts. I'll definitely be returning to this book, and keeping it close by as a companion.
Oct 24, Rachel Sutcliffe rated it it was amazing.
Selected Letters of Charlotte Brontë
The only improvement could be selecting more letters. Mar 08, Jenny rated it really liked it. This is a really interesting collection of letters. It was interesting to learn about the process of getting the sisters' works published and the pseudonyms, but I especially enjoyed the letters from Charlotte to her friend Ellen concerning her thoughts on the role of women, her relationship with Arthur and the declining health of her family members.
For Bronte fans, it's definitely worth reading. Oct 26, Dominique rated it liked it Shelves: dissertation , literary-fiction , reviewed. It's very odd to be writing anything about this, because in many ways, I feel completely unjustified passing any kind of judgement upon it at all.
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It sounds silly, because they're letters, so of course they're personal, but there are really some intensely private pieces collected in here that I honestly felt very uncomfortable reading. I felt like I was intruding and poking my nose into something I shouldn't be seeing and that I was violating someone else's privacy. And privacy where it really m It's very odd to be writing anything about this, because in many ways, I feel completely unjustified passing any kind of judgement upon it at all.
And privacy where it really mattered , as well.
As a sidenote, this correspondence is really illuminating in historical terms; they're written in an incredibly different style from the kind of epistles we see included in Victorian novels. Depending on who they're addressed to, Charlotte's style can be variously colloquial, disjointed, earnest, affectionate and informal. It's kind of amazing to think, wow, these are real letters that were sent and composed and received. A part of me feels uncomfortable with the fact that these letters are so easy to get hold of? They're of invaluable use to scholars and researchers and undergrads like me writing dissertations because they're the closest and most accurate insight we have into the lives of the reclusive Bronte's, but I also feel like there are some letters that really oughn't to be looked at in any academic capacity whatsoever.
For instance, here is a passage that genuinely made me tear up, about Charlotte's inability to look at the landscape around her in the same way after Anne and Emily's death: I am free to walk on the moors — but when I go out there alone — everything reminds me of others when when others were with me and then the moors seem a wilderness, featureless, solitary, saddening — My sister Emily had a particular love of them, and there is not a knoll of heather, nor a branch of fern, not a young bilberry leaf not a fluttering lark or a linnet but reminds me of her.
In the hill-country silence their poetry comes by lines and stanzas to my mind: once I loved it — now I dare not read it. It's just heartbreaking to read. And I suppose, for me, it ties in too uncomfortably with this abounding fascination of the personal biographies of the Bronte's -- this sense that you can trace their lives so faithfully in their books -- that people have tried to uncover and unturn every tiny trivial detail of their day-to-day lives. Not even the handkerchief that Anne held to her mouth to cover her coughs, stained with her blood as she died from TB, is exempt from the public's prying eyes in the parsonage museum.
I suppose I just feel like we should give them the respect they're due and let them rest in peace. Especially because it seems that the more we discover about their lives the more tragic they seem, the closer that narrative superimposed over their novels; the more people are inclined to pity them, seeing their lives as confined, miserable, unfulfilled, wasted, or seeing their books as mere exercises wish-fulfillment coughcharlottecough.
We really need to discourage this narrative that so effectively reduces their work down to diluted reflections or fantasies of themselves, rather than works of real literary merit, and even pure creative genius. Sep 28, Charlene rated it it was amazing Shelves: own. This was a great overview of Charlotte's life through her letters. I loved that there were footnotes after each letter instead of having to turn to the back and those footnotes were very helpful.
Reading this book gave me a new insight into what Charlotte might have been like, and has made me think about her novels in a new light. Especially in how so many of her characters are based on people she knew. View 2 comments. Mar 28, Sarah rated it really liked it. The desire to start letter writing is overwhelming!
It was great reading about the novels I was less familiar with as well as the trials and tribulations the Bronte sisters faced in getting published. An emotional read, it will be interesting to re read Jane Eyre with the added insight into the author and the tragedies that befell the Bronte family. Fixed thanks to the lovely Elizabeth!
View 1 comment. G57 Z48 I always love my favorite authors even more than the books they write.