LIFE AS MYTH

Index

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JOURNAL

Index

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JOURNAL 2012

The seeds of wisdom

Leaning into the answer

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SUMMER 2012

Stories to live by

Index 2012

The power of the word

The king of illuminated manuscripts

The commissions of Jean, duc de Berry

Prejudice and the pen

The awakened soul

The color of her mind

Defending the pen from the sword

A story we lived by

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LIFEWORKS

About

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ARCHIVES

Index

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SUMMER 2012
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PREJUDICE AND THE PEN

. . . we veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell; the ambiguous choice being dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine . . . we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice.
Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), novelist, poet

Charlotte Brontë wrote under two pen names: initially as Lord Charles Albert Florian Wellesley, later as Currer Bell. She is also the only one of the three literary Brontë sisters who received recognition for her work in her lifetime. Her best known novel is Jane Eyre which contains much autobiographical material. For example, she used her personal experience of boarding school at Cowan Bridge in her depiction of Lowood School, the boarding facility which Jane Eyre attends. Charlotte also models Helen Burns, a young girl who dies of consumption at Lowood, after her sisters.

After the deaths of her siblings -- Anne, Emily and Branwell -- Charlotte centered her life around her father's care. Her portrayal of female passion and desire in her heroine Jane Eyre had made Charlotte and her novel subject to attack. By living life as the dutiful daughter of her parson father, she was able to know some measure of peace. Despite the cost of her notoriety, on occasion, her publisher managed to persuade her to visit London where she socialized with the city's literary elite.

She saw two more manuscripts published before her death: Shirley (1849) and Villette (1853). In June 1854, at the age of thirty-eight, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nichols, the vicar of Haworth. She was in the early stages of pregnancy the following spring when she contracted tuberculosis and died. She is the only literary Brontë to receive significant recognition in her lifetime.

 
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Frontispiece of book by Charlotte Brontë, signed with "Sincerely yours, Charlotte." Collection of the New York Public Library.

Conventionality is not morality.
Charlotte Brontë (1816 – 1855) novelist, poet

WORKS OF CHARLOTTE BRONTË
The Green Dwarf, A Tale of the Perfect Tense (1833)
Tales of Angria (1834)
Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (1846)
Jane Eyre (1847)
Shirley (1849)
Villette (1853)
The Professor (published posthumously 1857)
Emma (unfinished)

 

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