Happy birthday to Charlotte Brontë! A member of the prolific Brontë family, Charlotte published many works during her short life, including Jane Eyre and Villette. She often published under the pseudonym Currer Bell in order to avoid contemporary stereotypes of female authors. Enjoy these wood engravings of Jane Eyre and her flawed hero Mr. Rochester.
The seductive nature of a happy ending can’t be disputed, and the two older Brontës provide it in spades. In Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff and Cathy are never united, but their children fall in love: Heathcliff’s behaviour is almost justified, as it has brought Linton and Cathy mark II together. Likewise in Jane Eyre, Mr Rochester falls in love with Plain Jane, attempts to commit bigamy, is thwarted, his wife luckily burns to death and they live happily ever after. Charlotte and Emily offered their fictional Branwells a form of redemption that in reality he failed to achieve.
Anne, the sister who spent the most time nursing Branwell, either refused or was unable to romanticise what happened to her brother. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall an abused wife, Helen Graham, runs away from her alcoholic husband, Arthur Huntingdon. She meets Gilbert Markham and falls in love with him but is unable to marry him. Anne’s depiction of Arthur Huntingdon’s decline drew heavily on Branwell’s death and still stands out today as an unflinching depiction of alcoholism.
By romanticising their alcoholic, violent brother, Charlotte and Emily Brontë were presenting an optimistic view of the byronic hero. Anne Brontë, however, refused to wear rose-tinted glasses. As a novelist she is more honest than Emily and more unflinching than Charlotte, but that doesn’t make for great romance or cosy TV adaptations. It’s easy to say that because Anne refused to give us a brooding hero, her books are less widely read. But I would suggest that she was in fact just too honest about the nature of violence and addiction.
To get a few things straight, I would like to add that their authors’ styles are completely different, and people often make dumb comments such as “ho women’s literature”,
”they all are the same, it’s for women, romance and shit lol” (you know what i’m talking about, stop the book shame due to sexist shit)
To Walk Invisible - The Brontë Sisters, this Christmas on BBC
Quotes from the cast on the drama:
“I wanted it to feel as authentic as it could.“ - Sally Wainright (writer, director)
“So much has made them into mythical creatures and the reality is far more interesting.“ - Chloe Pirrie (Emily Brontë)
"It’s a script for a period drama - but one that feels real. A lot of period dramas are visually incredible, but lack the element of realism that this has definitely got.” - Finn Atkins (Charlotte Brontë)
“Take away the Brontë name and it still has to be an exciting and relevant drama. Sally focuses on the tensions among the family - it’s quite dark and troubled.” - Jonathan Pryce (Patrick Brontë)
“To know more about Branwell is to know more about Anne’s work and where she may have got her inspiration
“ - Adam Nagaitis (Branwell Brontë)