Three weired Sisters

       Emily, Charlotte, and Anne Bronte were born in West Yorkshire. Charlotte was the oldest born on 21 April 1816, followed by Emily born on 30 July 1818 and Anne who was born 17 January 1820.

      After the death of their mother in 1821 and two siblings who died in childhood, they grew up in relative seclusion as preacher's daughters. They were mostly brought up by their aunt Elizabeth. They all attended different schools and were also taught at home. Highly imaginative romantics, the women wrote novels and poetry to stave off boredom. Because women were not allowed to publish in the 1850s, the three sisters wrote under the male pen names Ellis, Currer and Acton Bell.

     They published their first anthology of poetry under these names in May 1846. After a brief career as a governess and a teacher, Charlotte, the author of 'Jane Eyre', which was the best-selling novel in 1847, married and died of tuberculosis. She had been educated in Brussels from 1842 with her sister Emily but they had to return to England following the death of their aunt. She returned to be a teacher between 1843 and 1844. By 1845, all three sisters were back at home in Haworth to look after their brother Branwell who was addicted to drink and drugs.

      Educated in Brussels, Emily's only work is the towering romantic classic 'Wuthering Heights', which was published in 1848 but it did not sell well, despite becoming a popular novel in later years. Their brother Branwell died of tuberculosis in this year. Emily succumbed to the same disease on 19 December 1849. Anne was the author of 'Agnes Grey', which was released in 1847 and the autobiographical 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall', which sold well in 1848. She also died of tuberculosis on 28 May 1849. At this time, Charlotte was left alone with her father. She was a well-known writer by this point and visited London a couple of times. 'Shirley' was published in 1849 and 'Villette' in 1853. In 1854, she married her father's curate Arthur Nicholls and then died of tuberculosis in 1855.The three sisters published a joint volume of poetry before their untimely deaths.

     The publication of Jane Eyre was speedy even by today's standards. While contemporary novels can take up to three years from the agreement of publication to its release to the general public, Charlotte saw her first major work in print in just eight weeks. It was a major success and immediately raised suspicions about the author, especially following the publication of Wuthering Heights and Anne's Agnes Grey several months later. When gossip reached boiling point, it was Charlotte who went to her publisher to announce that the three writers were all women. Adaptations of the works of the Brontes remain very popular.

      There have been 25 versions of Jane Eyre since the 1980s, with Cary Fukunaga directing 2011's big screen adaptation of the same name, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. Their reputation is partly due to the unusualness of three siblings all successfully writing and publishing poetry and fiction, with poet Ted Hughes describing them as the "three weird sisters".

image image image image image image image image image image
Magazine beyond boundaries