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The Life of Charlotte Bronte


The Life of Charlotte Bronte


“One day you will notice me and be dazzled by my sun…” 

Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell first met in August 1850, after Jane Eyre and its mysterious author had intrigued Gaskell. 

Gaskell wrote: “She and I quarreled & differed about almost everything…but… I hope we shall ripen into friends.”

Elizabeth Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Brontë is a pioneering biography of one great Victorian woman novelist by another.

She wrote from a vivid accumulation of letters, interviews, and observation, establishing the details of Charlotte's life and recreating her background. Through an often difficult and demanding process, Gaskell created a vital sense of a life hidden from the world.

Published in 1857 to immediate popular acclaim, it remains the most significant study of the enigmatic author who gave us Jane Eyre. It recounts Charlotte Bronte's life from her isolated childhood, through her years as a writer who had 'foreseen the single life' for herself, to her marriage at thirty-eight and death less than a year later.

Gaskell’s loving and reverent portrait of her friend created an image of mythic proportions that has permeated the psyche of western culture and in so doing has ensured her own place among the pantheon of Victorian heroines.

ELIZABETH GASKELL, (1810 – 1865) was an English novelist and short story writer. Her fictions offered a meticulous portrait of Victorian society. Her first novel, Mary Barton, was published in 1848. Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Brontë, published in 1857, was the first biography about Brontë. Some of Gaskell's best known novels are Cranford, North and South, and Wives and Daughters.

“At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Bronte.”

—Virginia Woolf

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