Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Brilliant Brontës: Non-Fiction

Anne Bronte (1820-1849), Emily Bronte (Thornton, 1818 - Haworth, 1848) and Charlotte Bronte (Thornton, 1816 - Haworth, 1855), English writers, Oil on canvas by Patrick Branwell Bronte (1817-1848), ca 1834. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 19 Dec 2015.

The Brontë family, despite the brevity of their lives, their limited output as writers, and their cramped, confined lifestyle, have inspired many books to be written about them, at least one running up to over 800 pages. In addition to books specifically about the siblings, the dedicated Brontë fan can also read about Emily's relationship with her dog Keeper in Shaggy Muses: The Dogs Who Inspired Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Emily Brontë, a book which discusses the ways in which dogs can be "a constant support for...creative life;" about the sisters' decision to use pen names in Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms; enjoy a conversation between the author A. S. Byatt and psychoanalyst Ignês Sodré about Charlotte Brontë's Villette in Imagining Characters: Conversations About Women Writers - Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Willa Cather, Iris Murdoch, and Toni Morrison, a lively discussion that touches on the lies we tell ourselves, enabling, fashion, the importance of needlework, and beyond; those looking for book recommendations can check out Daphne Merkin's essay "Moping on the Moors" in her collection The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Brontes, and the Importance of Handbags - both a rumination on the Brontës and on the books written about them; and, from the book The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons From Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder, be inspired by literary heroine Jane Eyre in an essay entitled "Steadfastness."

For those looking for meatier tomes, the library catalog has a decent sampling of full-on Brontë biographies, too! Elizabeth Gaskell's biography of Charlotte is purported to be the source of much of the traditional Brontë family mythos; Juliet Barker's family biography is the aforementioned 830-pager, and well worth the read; we also very much enjoyed Lucasta Miller's book. As devoted members of Team Anne, we are still waiting for a standalone biography of our favorite Brontë, but for the moment, her inclusion in family biographies will have to do.

Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman

Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life by Lyndall Gordon

The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects by Deborah Lutz

Reading the Brontë Body: Disease, Desire, and the Constraints of Culture by Beth Torgerson [eBook]

A Brontë Family Chronology by Edward Chitham [eBook]

The Brontë Myth by Lucasta Miller 

Brontë by Glyn Hughes 

The Brontës by Juliet Barker 

The Brontës: Branwell, Anne, Emily, Charlotte by Bettina L. Knapp 

A Chainless Soul: A Life of Emily Brontë by Katherine Frank 

The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell [eBook]

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