The Life of Charlotte Bronte
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Written at the request of Charlotte Bronte's father and quoting generously from her prolific correspondence, The Life of Charlotte Bronte — now with new editorial apparatus — has long been recognized as a milestone in biographical writing. The marriage of biographer and subject has rarely been so fortuitous: The two women were friends, and like Gaskell's fictional heroines, Bronte lived a life of extreme self-denial, coping with sickness and death and surviving through the strength of her religious faith and moral integrity. Shaped by a novelist's imagination, Gaskell's admiring portrait of Bronte, as well as her descriptions of the people and the events that caused Bronte pain or suffering — including the unhappy school experiences Bronte herself drew upon in Jane Eyre — stirred controversy when the biography was first published in 1857. This text honors and preserves Gaskell's intention to re-create Bronte's “wild, sad, life, and the beautiful character that grew out of it”.
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