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21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855
Charlotte Brontë was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood and whose novels became classics of English literature.
Charlotte Brontë was born on 21 April 1816 in Thornton. She enlisted in school at Roe Head in January 1831, aged 14 years. She left the year after to teach her sisters, Emily and Anne, at home, returning in 1835 as a governess. In 1839, she undertook the role of governess for the Sidgwick family, but left after a few months to return to Haworth, where the sisters opened a school, but failed to attract pupils. Instead, they turned to writing and they each first published in 1846 under the pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.
“Jane Eyre”, “Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell”, “Shirley: A Tale”, “The Professor”, “Villette”
"Jane Eyre" was published in 1847. Its success was the fiery conviction with which it presented a thinking, feeling woman, craving love but able to renounce it at the call of impassioned self-respect and moral conviction. The book’s narrator and main character, Jane Eyre, is an orphan and is governess to the ward of Mr. Rochester, the Byronic and enigmatic employer with whom she falls in love.
The four novels of Charlotte Brontë are regarded as masterpieces of English literature. The characters she created are powerful, heartfelt, fiery and clever – and their stories are compelling, exciting and profoundly original. Brontë also wrote beautiful and poetic descriptions of nature, deeply explored human experiences, and developed her own strong ideas on religion. Through her novels Charlotte Brontë firmly challenged and criticised the conditions surrounding women, marriage, social class and employment in the 1800s.
She became pregnant shortly after her marriage in June 1854 but died on 31 March 1855, almost certainly from hyperemesis gravidarum, a complication of pregnancy. Charlotte Brontë had a great cultural impact on society. Her combination of romance and satiric realism had been the mode of nearly all the women novelists for a century. Her novel Jane Eyre gave new truthfulness to Victorian fiction.
“I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
“The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.”
“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”
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