On this day 160 years ago, novelist Charlotte Brontë died aged 38. Brontë is best known today for her bildungsroman Jane Eyre, the first edition of which is pictured here. One of the first details that you might notice about the book is that the name Brontë does not appear on the title page (nor indeed anywhere else within). Instead, the novel is billed as “An Autobiography” which is “edited by Currer Bell.” Aware that female writers faced disproportionate criticism and prejudice, Charlotte and her literary sisters Anne and Emily adopted male pseudonyms corresponding to the first initials of their forenames. Charlotte thus became Currer, while Anne and Emily became Acton and Ellis. They submitted their manuscripts under these aliases to publisher after publisher, until finally each sister had one novel accepted for publication. Anne’s Agnes Grey and Emily’s Wuthering Heights were published in December 1847, while Jane Eyre premiered in mid-October of the same year.

Jane Eyre was immediately popular, attracting attention from ordinary readers and famous authors alike. Brontë’s literary advisor at the book’s publisher Smith, Elder, and Company sent a copy to author William Makepeace Thackeray, to whom the first edition is dedicated. Said Thackeray to the advisor, “I wish you had not sent me Jane Eyre. It interested me so much that I have lost (or won if you like) a whole day in reading it.” After the novels were published, great speculation arose about the sisters’ identities. Some thought that the author of Jane Eyre was Thackeray’s governess, while Thomas Cautley Newby, publisher of Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights, started a rumor that the three authors were actually one, writing under multiple pen-names. Neither Charlotte’s nor her sisters’ publishers knew the real identity of the Brontës. To quell the rumor that they were not separate authors, Charlotte and Anne traveled to London to meet Charlotte’s publisher George Smith, who was surprised to learn that they were “rather quaintly dressed little ladies, pale-faced and anxious looking.”

Like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which we highlighted two months ago, Jane Eyre is published in the triple-decker format. RBML’s copy was acquired by the University in 1909 and is bound in late 19th-century brown levant morocco, with gilt accents and marbled endpapers. SL

Bell, Currer (i.e. Charlotte Brontë). Jane Eyre: An Autobiography. (London : Smith, Elder, and Co., Cornhill, 1847)
823 B78j1847

anonymous asked:


redemption. beeps! you’re too kind, really! it means so much to me when people say that sjdsdfgdgd. i guess, if you’re asking for advice, i could try to dig somethin’ out. i just kind of vomit vaguely coherent sentences out 99% of the time lmao. uh. OK.

i’m heavily inspired by period novels! austen, the brontë sisters… i read them a lot. i think it comes through in my descriptions and characterizations of characters. i like soft, flowy, ethereal things. i like period heroines and their tall, brooding men. i love the minute details and little metaphors. i hope i have my own distinct style (that is constantly evolving), but i know it’s influenced by the books i’ve read. as for the rest of the time….

write for a character or topic you are passionate about. trust me. it’s so nice to see something you love blossom and grow! you want people to see how much care and thought you put into writing for your character. uwu

expand your vocabulary. read. read and devour books like the endless void that humans cannot comprehend. now, i’m not a fan of purple prose. i do use things like “digits” and “visage” every so often, but it’s not so complex where we get to the point where i am using 10 + words to describe someone blinking. you can have a nice, big vocabulary, but you are writing a story. when you build words like that to the point where i cant even visualize and have trouble paying attention to the reply, you’ve created a taxing maze. reading can also inspire you, as well! after i read valente’s deathless i was so very inspired by her writing and story.

stay motivated. kick anxiety in the ass: know that you are great and wonderful, and keep writing every day. uwu’’ i’ve been writing for a good… 8? years now. my earlier stuff was horrible. keep trying, and you improve and improve.

smooches you. i hope you have a lovely lovely day/evening and find 10 dollars on the street. or someone buys ur coffee/tea/smoothie. <3

"No sight so sad as that of a naughty child," he began, "especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?"

"They go to hell," was my ready and orthodox answer.

"And what is hell? Can you tell me that?"

"A pit full of fire."

"And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?"

"No, sir."

"What must you do to avoid it?"

I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come was objectionable: “I must keep in good health and not die.”

—  Charlotte Brönte.

Charlotte Brontë’s tiny poem - 1829

- The Brontë sisters often wrote their works in a minuscule handwriting on whatever scraps of paper they could find. A magnifying glass is often required to read the texts. This early poem from a 13-year-old Charlotte was scrawled on a three-inch square paper. Scholars believe the miniature handwriting was a way for the sisters to hide their work from prying eyes and due to the expense of paper at that time. Others suggest it’s the scale that the sisters’ beloved toy soldiers would have written in, since the playthings were an integral part of their childhood fantasy world that inspired their earliest works. -


Great little manuscript from Charlotte Bronte

A few years ago this super charming manuscript written by one of the Bronte sisters was auctioned off. Before the talented sisters became known for their now classical novels, they made little handwritten magazines with stories for their own pleasure. Miraculously, this one from 1830 survived. It contains three short stories by Charlotte Bronte (d. 1855), who is best known as the author of Jane Eyre. The manuscript measures only 61x35 mm (half a credit card), but its nineteen pages contain a combined 4000 words. Now that’s a lot of scribbling! The tiny pages contain the seeds of big scenes her later novels would be famous for. One of the stories, for example, alludes to Jane Eyre through a scene where someone locks up his enemy in the attic, after which he starts to imagine how the prisoner sets the place on fire by burning the curtains. All in all this little art project shows that small books matter too - as do, admittedly, non-medieval manuscripts, the usual focus of this Tumblr.

Pic: Sotheby’s, where this “Young Men’s Magazine nr. 2” sold (in 2011) for $1.07 million, after a bidding frenzy (read it here). More information in this article.

The Bronte Museum at the Haworth Parsonage, as seen from the graveyard

The back of the card says: “The old parsonage, which was the home of the Bronte family from 1820, is now a museum containing many relics of the famous sisters. It was buit in 1779 of the local gray stone, a typical late-Georgian house.”

The BBC reports that “30,000 people are believed to have been interred in Haworth churchyard. Today this may be a romantic place but, in the Bronte’s time, methods of burial here contributed to a death rate which was estimated to be over 40% higher than in neighboring villages. The village water supply passed through the graveyard.”

No wonder those girls were morbid. 

He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.
—  Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights