Charlotte Bronte was born on 21st April 1816 at Thornton, West Riding of Yorkshire, England.
‘Since 1857, when Elizabeth Gaskell published her famous Life of Charlotte Bronte, hardly a year has gone by without some form of biographical material on the Brontes appearing—from articles in newspapers to full-length lives, from images on tea towels to plays, films, and novelizations,’ wrote Lucasta Miller in The BronteMyth, her 2001 history of Brontemania.
I read Jane Eyre when I was eleven. I reread it constantly that year and it is still on my bookshelf and read every year. I read Elizabeth Gaskell’s Life of Charlotte Bronte some years later having found it in a second hand book shop in Sydney. To me it was the definitive book on Charlotte Bronte’s life.
Yet now, after reading reviews of Charlotte Bronte written by Claire Harman for the 200th anniversary of Charlotte’s birth I might have to change my views when I read it. ‘It does not have new truths to impart but instead gathers up the best of what has been written before’ says a review in the Guardian on 31 October 2015.
I enjoy Victorian literature for it’s often gothic tropes and the gothic has informed part of the narratives in my own writing.
As a child I read about Scottish heroines locked up in castles, dark and gloomy and cold. Castles are more often thought of as being in Europe or the Middle East but I discovered one in the far north Queensland rainforest of Australia. This led me to writing Castle of Dreams. I’m sure the books I read in childhood have been absorbed by osmosis for when I visited the castle ruins at Paronella Park I also imagined a graveyard (perhaps similar to the graveyard at the parsonage) and a tower covered in rambling vines and I included both in my story.
The Bronte Parsonage
Storytelling has always been part of every culture since the beginning of time and I look forward to exploring the Dreamtime stories in our Australian Aboriginal culture. What a wealth of magic and mystery waiting for me to read about.
Chapter 38 Conclusion which includes one of the most famous lines in literature.
Reader, I married him. A quiet wedding we had: he and I, the
parson and clerk, were alone present. When we got back from church,
I went into the kitchen of the manor-house, where Mary was cooking
the dinner and John cleaning the knives, and I said –
‘Mary, I have been married to Mr. Rochester this morning.’ . . .
Charlotte Bronte died 31 March 1855 (aged 38)
Haworth, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Notable works: Jane Eyre, Villette.
Spouse Arthur Bell Nicholls (1854–1855; her death)
Have a wonderful week of writing, reading and magic.