History of Emily's Life

"Emily Jane Bronte was born at Thornton in Yorkshire on 30 July 1818, the fifth of six children of Patrick and Maria Bronte (nee Branwell). Two years later, her father was appointed perpetual curate of Haworth, a small, isolated hill village surrounded by moors. Her mother died shortly after her third birthday and she and her sisters and brother were brought up by their aunt, Elizabeth Branwell. Apart from a few short periods, she remained in Haworth. Her only close friendships were those with her brother Branwell and her sisters Charlotte and Anne; only three perfunctory letters by her survive.

"From accounts by those who knew Emily Jane Bronte, there emerges a consistent portrait of a reserved, courageous woman with a commanding will and manner. In the biographical note to the 1850 edition of Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Bronte attributes to her sister 'a secret power and fire that might have informed the brain and kindled the veins of a hero', while Monsignor Heger, who taught her in Brussels, was impressed by her 'powerful reason' and 'strong, imperious will'.

"Emily Jane Bronte began writing poems at an early age and published twenty-one of them, together with poems by Anne and Charlotte, in 1846 in a slim volume titled Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. At an even earlier age, she collaborated with Charlotte, Branwell, and Anne on the 'plays' and tales that developed into the Glass Town saga. By 1834, Emily and Anne were thoroughly engaged in writing their own saga involving two imaginary islands in the north and south Pacific, Gondal and Gaaldine. No early prose narratives survive, but several poems by Emily and Anne refer to Gondal places and characters. Emily Jane Bronte is best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, published under her pseudonym of Ellis Bell in 1847, almost exactly a year before her death on 19 December 1848. She became ill after attending Branwell's funeral, and died of tuberculosis after an illness of about three months."

-from Emily Jane Bronte:
The Complete Poems
1992, Penguin Books

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