B is for Bronte

Today it's B for Bronte and I pick Charlotte Bronte (of Jane Eyre) over her sister Emily (of Wuthering Heights). Plenty of comparisons have been made between the sisters and I side with Charlotte simply because I prefer Jane's level headedness to Catherine's waywardness.

If Austen's works lacked emotion here was an author who could most certainly not be blamed for that. Jane Eyre is proof enough. Whether it was Rochester passionately in love, enough to hide away his first wife or Jane herself who hears his impassioned cries across the miles - oh yes passion there's a plenty.

Her life in her books

Charlotte drew heavily from her life while writing. At 8 she and three of her sisters were sent to the Clergy Daughter's School in Lancashire. She hated it there. Two of her sisters died there of Tuberculosis. This school makes an appearance in Jane Eyre as the Lowood School. Her experiences as a governess became Jane's too.

Charlotte, Emily and Anne..

.. made for quite a literary threesome. After Charlotte and Emily were brought back from the school, the girls read at home. They created an imaginary world and wrote about people who lived in that world. The three were all accomplished writers and poetesses as well. They even financed and published a book of poems together under the names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell - keeping the same initials as their real names.
Charlotte wrote Jane Eyre under the same pen name, Currer Bell. The book was an instant success. She wrote three other novels - Shirley, Villette and The Professor - and some poetry, however none was as popular as Jane Eyre.

Her heroine was a plain Jane

Charlotte felt very strongly, that it wasn't right for the heroine to always be beautiful. Her sisters insisted it was impossible to make a heroine interesting if she wasn't beautiful, Charlotte vowed to prove them wrong. Said she, "I will prove to you that you are wrong; I will show you a heroine as plain as small as myself, who shall be as interesting as any of yours." And so Jane was made plain (and named 'Jane'!) yet how enchanting was she! Like Austen's heroines she too was no weakling demanding to be judged for who she was rather than where she came from.

On Austen

Charlotte was critical of Jane Austen's Works saying they lacked 'heart'. She mentions as much in one of her letters in 1850, "The passions are perfectly unknown to her," says she.

So pick your favourite now.. Charlotte, Emily or good old Austen - Jane, Catharine or Lizzy - Rochester, Heathcliff or Darcy?

Tomorrow dear readers, for the letter C, I jump forward in time and pick a contemporary Indian author. Guesses, anyone?

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, 2014

Also linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Labels: , , , ,