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The Bronte Sisters
Charlotte Brontë was born in April 1816, the third of six children of Patrick and Maria Bronte. The major event of her young life was the death of her mother in 1821. In 1824, Charlotte and her two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, were sent to the newly-opened Cowan Bridge Clergy Daughters' School.
Conditions there were bad even by the standards of the time, and it was not long before both Maria and Elizabeth became ill enough to be sent home, where they both died of consumption in the spring of 1825. Patrick brought Charlotte and her younger sister Emily, who had recently joined them at the school, back home as soon as the other girls became ill, but Charlotte in particular never forgot what the school had been like.
The surviving kids all became each others' best friends. They created the kingdom of Gondal and wrote all kinds of epic stories and poems set in that realm. Charlotte and Branwell were in charge of Angria proper, while Emily and Anne (the youngest) ran the neighboring kingdom of Gondal.
Charlotte's next adventure was going to school in Brussels with Emily in 1842. Charlotte's time there was brief, less than two years, but it led to her eventual writing of Villette which she began in 1852.
Back home, Charlotte lapsed into severe hypochondria, actually thinking she was going blind. In 1846 the three sisters published a book of Poems, and though sales were very slow, the reviews were good and spurred on further literary endeavours. In August of 1846 Charlotte began work on Jane Eyre. Though it was published in 1847, Charlotte didn't tell her father about it until the next year, when the novel's success was plain.
This success was followed up by tragedy, however. In September 1848, Branwell died, probably due to his extrememly heavy drinking; this was closely followed by Emily's death from consumption in December 1848, and Anne's death of the same disease in May 1849. Bereft, Charlotte and her father clung to each other for support. Charlotte's grief is plain in the last third of her novel Shirley, which she'd been working on when all the death started.
Her father's curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, proposed to Charlotte in December, and Patrick was absolutely furious, forbidding the marriage and saying some rather awful things about Arthur. This was the one thing that could possibly have got Charlotte to seriously consider marrying him, which she did, in June of 1854.
Marriage seemed good for Charlotte, though her best friend from school, Ellen Nussey, was extremely jealous of Arthur suddenly taking up all of Charlotte's attention. No one got to monopolize Charlotte's attention for very long: she died on 31 March 1855, of what was listed on the death certificate as "exhaustion".
Charlotte Bronte urodzi³a siê w kwietniu 1816 roku jako trzecia z szeœciorga dzieci. Na jej m³odym ¿yciu zawa¿y³a œmieræ matki 1821 r. W 1824 roku Charlotte i jej dwie starsze siostry, Maria i Elizabeth, zosta³y wys³ane do nowo otwartej szko³y dla córek duchownych Cowan Bridge.
Warunki jakie tam panowa³y by³y z³e nawet jak na tamte czasy. Wkrótce Maria i Elizabeth zachorowa³y i zosta³y odes³ane do domu, gdzie zmar³y na suchoty wiosn¹ 1825 roku. Patrick zabra³ Charlotte i jej m³odsz¹ siostrê Emily ze szko³y jak tylko pozosta³e dziewczêta zaczê³y chorowaæ. Jednak Charlotte nigdy nie zapomnia³a czasów szkolnych.
Dzieci, które przetrwa³y zosta³y najlepszymi przyjació³mi. Stworzy³y Królestwo "Gondal" i napisa³y o nim niezliczon¹ iloœæ utworów - zarówno proz¹ jak i wierszem. Charlotte i Branwell w³ada³y Angri¹, a Emily i Anne (najm³odsza) rz¹dzi³y Królestwem "Gondal".
W 1842 roku Charlotte i Emily zaczê³y now¹ przygodê - naukê w szkole w Brukseli. Charlotte spêdzi³a tam niespe³na dwa lata, ale dziêki temu powsta³a Villette, któr¹ Charlotte zaczê³a pisaæ w 1852 roku.
Po powrocie do domu Charlotte popad³a w powa¿n¹ hipochondriê. Wydawa³o jej siê, ¿e œlepnie. W 1846 roku trzy siostry opublikowa³y tomik 'Poezje' i chocia¿ sprzedawa³ siê on powoli, recenzje by³y przychylne i zachêci³y do dalszych prób literackich. W sierpniu 1846 roku Charlotte zaczê³a pisaæ 'Jane Eyre'. Chocia¿ powieœæ zosta³a opublikowana w 1847 roku, Charlotte powiedzia³a o tym ojcu dopiero rok póŸniej, kiedy sukces ksi¹¿ki by³ oczywisty.
Niestety, za sukcesem przysz³a tragedia. We wrzeœniu 1848 roku zmar³ Branwell, prawdopodobnie z powodu nadu¿ywania alkoholu. Wkrótce potem, w grudniu, zmar³a na suchoty Emily, a Anne z tego samego powodu w maju 1849 roku. Bereft, Charlotte i ojciec wspierali siê nawzajem w nieszczêœciu. Smutek Charlotte przebija wyraŸnie w trzeciej czêœci jej powieœci pt. 'Shirley', nad któr¹ rozpoczê³a pracê zanim jej bliscy zaczêli umieraæ.
Arthur Bell Nichols, który praktykowa³ na proboszcza u ojca Charlotte, oœwiadczy³ siê jej w grudniu. Patrick, wpad³ w sza³, zabroni³ ma³¿eñstwa i opowiada³ okropne rzeczy o Arthurze. To prawdopodobnie sk³oni³o Charlotte do rozwa¿enia propozycji ma³¿eñstwa. W czerwcu 1854 roku odby³o siê wesele.
Ma³¿eñstwo przys³u¿y³o siê Charlotte, chocia¿ jej najlepsza przyjació³ka ze szko³y, Ellen Nussey, sta³a siê chorobliwie zazdrosna o to, ¿e m¹¿ skupia ca³¹ uwagê Charlotte. Jednak nikt nie zmonopolizowa³ uwagi Charlotte na d³ugo: umar³a 31 marca 1855, z powodu, jak widnieje na œwiadectwie zgonu, wyczerpania.
'Conventionality is not morality.'
'A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.'
'Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs.'
'Look twice before you leap.'
'There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.'
'If we would build on a sure foundation in friendship, we must love friends for their sake rather than for our own.'
Emily Jane Brontë was born in July 1818, the fifth child of Patrick and Maria Brontë. Maria died when Emily was only three, but, like her sister Charlotte, Emily was later prone to creating motherless characters. She got along best with Anne, the youngest, and they created the world of Gondal together. At 17, Emily went to the Roe Head School (her first experience with school since a very brief stint at the infamous Clergy Daughters' School) where Charlotte was then teaching. Emily managed to stay only three months before her nerves became too frazzled and she had to go home. She simply couldn't stand not being able to write and think about Gondal as much as she wanted to.
Emily found a teaching job at Law Hill School in September 1838. The hours were grueling: 6 AM to 11 PM, with half an hour's break, and though Emily managed to do all right in her first term, her health broke under the stress and she returned home around April 1839. She never again attempted to find any kind of a job.
In 1842, Charlotte dragged Emily to a school in Brussels. Emily did well (her teachers were especially impressed with her clear, smooth writing style) but made no friends, as was typical for her. She went back home as soon as she possibly could.
Emily had been writing poetry all this time, mostly on Gondal, and in the autumn of 1845, Charlotte found these poems and read them. She then approached her sister and urged her to publish the works. Emily was furious, and Anne interceded, giving her own Gondal poems to Charlotte to help make peace.
In 1846, about the time Charlotte finished The Professor, Emily finished Wuthering Heights. It was almost universally condemned as being far too shocking for anyone to read. It was this which kept most people thinking of the authors of these books as men, believing that no woman could write such things, even when rumours that they were women started circulating.
Branwell died in September 1848, and Charlotte succumbed to her usual psychosomatic illnesses, not realizing that Emily was in fact truly ill. By October, the decline in Emily's health was obvious, though she frustrated the entire family by her refusal to answer any questions or take any advice about her health. Though it was clear she had consumption, she grew angry at even the suggestion of doctors or medicine. On 19 December 1848 she finally collapsed, saying, "If you will send for a doctor, I will see him now." She died early that afternoon, aged thirty.
Charlotte called her sister a "baby god," and always mourned the loss of what Emily might have written had she lived.
Emily Jane Bronte urodzi³a siê w lipcu 1818 roku, jako pi¹te dziecko Patricka i Marii Bronte. Maria umar³a gdy Emily mia³a trzy latka. W póŸniejszych latach, jak jej siostra Charlotte, Emily mia³a sk³onnoœci do tworzenia postaci, wychowuj¹cych siê bez matki. Razem z najm³odsz¹ siostr¹, Anne, z któr¹ uk³ada³o jej siê najlepiej, stworzy³y Królestwo Gondal. W wieku 17 lat Emily zaczê³a uczêszczaæ do szko³y 'Roe Head School' (jej pierwsze doœwiadczenie szkolne od czasu krótkiego okresu w nies³awnej Clergy Daughters' School), gdzie nastêpnie uczy³a Charlotte. Emily wytrzyma³a tam tylko trzy miesi¹ce, po których wróci³a do domu ze zszarpanymi nerwami. Nie potrafi³a po prostu znieœæ tego, ¿e nie mog³a pisaæ i myœleæ o Gondalu tyle ile by chcia³a.
We wrzeœniu 1838 roku znalaz³a pracê nauczycielki w Law Hill School. Godziny, w których pracowa³a by³y wyczerpuj¹ce: od 6 rano do 11 wieczorem, z pó³godzinn¹ przerw¹. Chocia¿ Emily dawa³a sobie radê w pierwszym semestrze, os³abiona stresem podupad³a na zdrowiu i wróci³a do domu w kwietniu1839 roku. Nigdy potem nie próbowa³a znaleŸæ jakiejkolwiek pracy.
W 1842 roku Charlotte zaci¹gnê³a Emily do szko³y w Brukseli. Sz³o jej tam dobrze (nauczyciele byli pod wra¿eniem jej czystego, g³adkiego stylu pisania), ale nie zdoby³a sobie ¿adnych przyjació³, co by³o dla niej typowe. Wróci³a do domu jak tylko mog³a najszybciej.
Przez ca³y ten czas Emily pisa³a wiersze, g³ównie o Gondalu, a¿ jesieni¹ 1845 roku znalaz³a je i przeczyta³a Charlotte. Zaczê³a ona usilnie namawiaæ Emily do ich opublikowania. Emily by³a wœciek³a, a¿ Anne musia³a interweniowaæ, daj¹c Charlotte swoje wiersze o Gondalu.
W 1846 roku, mniej wiêcej w czasie, kiedy Charlotte skoñczy³a pisaæ "Profesora', Emily ukoñczy³a 'Wichrowe Wzgórza'. Ksi¹¿ki zosta³y powszechnie potêpiona, jako zbyt szokuj¹ce. Uwa¿ano, ¿e zosta³y napisane przez mê¿czyzn. Ludzie nie wierzyli, ¿e mog³y napisaæ je kobiety, mimo, ¿e zaczê³y kr¹¿yæ plotki na ten temat.
Kiedy Branwell umar³ we wrzeœniu 1848 roku, Charlotte uleg³a swojej zwyk³ej psychosomatycznej chorobie, nie zauwa¿aj¹c, ¿e Emily by³a chora naprawdê. W paŸdzierniku jej choroba sta³a siê widoczna dla wszystkich, ale Emily doprowadza³a do rozpaczy ca³¹ rodzinê, nie odpowiadaj¹c na pytania i nie przyjmuj¹c ¿adnych rad. Chocia¿ by³o oczywiste, ¿e umiera³a na suchoty, na wzmiankê o lekarzu czy lekarstwie wpada³a w z³oœæ. Jej zdrowie gwa³townie siê pogorszy³o 19 grudnia 1848 roku. Wtedy to powiedzia³a: "Jeœli poœlecie po doktora, mogê siê z nim teraz zobaczyæ." Umar³a wczeœnie po po³udniu, w wieku 30 lat.
Charlotte nazywa³a siostrê "dzieciêciem bo¿ym" i zawsze ¿a³owa³a tego, co Emily mog³aby jeszcze napisaæ.
An example of her poetry:
The bluebell is the sweetest flower That waves in summer air: Its blossoms have the mightiest power To soothe my spirit's care. there is a spell in purple heath Too wildly, sadly dear; The violet has a fragrant breath, but fragrance will not clear. The trees are bare, the sun is cold, And seldom, seldom seen; The heavens have lost their zone of gold, And earth her robe of green. And ice upon the glancing stream Has cast its sombre shade; And distant hills and valleys seem In frozen mist arrayed. The bluebell cannot charm me now, the heath has lost its bloom; The violets in the glen below, they yield no sweet perfume. But, though I mourn the sweet bluebell, 'Tis better far away; I know how fast my tears would swell To see it smile today. For, oh! when chill the sunbeams fall Adown that dreary sky, And gild yon dank and darkened wall With transient brilliancy; How do I weep, how do I pine For the time of flowers to come, And turn me from that fading shine, To mourn the fields of home!
'Having levelled my palace, don't erect a hovel and complacently admire your own charity in giving me that for a home'
'I see heaven's glories shine and faith shines equal...'
'I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself '
'If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.'
'Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.'
Anne was born in January 1820, youngest child of Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell Brontë. Her mother died when she was only a year old, and when the two oldest siblings died of consumption in 1825, Anne was really too young to remember. She went away to school and trained as a governess. Her health was not terribly good, but she perservered. In May of 1840, she went as governess to the home of the Reverend Edmund Robinson, where she would work for some years.
In 1843, her brother Branwell went with Anne to the Robinsons' to act as tutor to the older boys of the family. When Branwell was dismissed in disgrace about two years later, Anne resigned her post, feeling that was the only proper thing to do. Though she was apparently glad to leave the post, she was depressed over the uncertainty of her future. The publication of the sisters' Poems in May 1846 was quite a bright spot for her, even though they didn't sell very well. Still, this publication encouraged all of them to write novels for publication, Anne's contribution being Agnes Grey. This novel, like Emily's Wuthering Heights, was published right after Jane Eyre in hopes of cashing in on that novel's success. Anne was at least optimistic enough to write a second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
When Branwell died in September of 1848, it was Anne who took over many of the necessary arrangements, as Charlotte had taken ill. When Emily died of consumption three months later, Charlotte was the pillar of strength, as Anne herself was beginning to feel the first symptoms of her own fatal illness. The only thing that cheered her was the quiet but noticeable success of her poems in various literary magazines. Using a legacy from Anne's recently-desceased godmother, Charlotte took her to the seaside (which she loved) in hopes of a cure. She died of consumtion at Scarborough on 28 May 1849; her last words being, "Take courage, Charlotte, take courage."
Anne urodzi³a siê w styczniu 1820 roku jako najm³odsze dziecko Patricka Bronte i Marii Branwell Bronte. Matka Anne umar³a gdy dziecko mia³o tylko rok. By³a równie¿ za ma³a by pamiêtaæ swoje dwie starsze siostry, które umar³y na suchoty w 1825 roku. W szkole Anne uczy³a siê na guwernantkê. Jej zdrowie nie by³o najlepsze, ale zdo³a³a wytrwaæ. W maju 1840 roku zaczê³a pracê guwernantki w domu wielebnego Edmunda Robinsona, gdzie spêdzi³a kilka lat.
W 1843 roku, jej brat Branwell zacz¹³ pracê w tym samym domu jako wychowawca starszych ch³opców. Kiedy skompromitowanego zwolniono z pracy dwa lata póŸniej, Anne zrezygnowa³a z posady, uwa¿aj¹c to za jedyne w³aœciwe posuniêcie. Jednak niepewnoœæ co do przysz³oœci spowodowa³a u niej depresjê. Publikacja "Wierszy" w maju 1846 roku, mimo, ¿e nie sprzedawa³y siê one najlepiej, rozwia³a trochê smutne myœli Anne. Zachêci³o to siostry do pisania powieœci; wk³adem Anne by³a 'Agnes Grey'. Powieœæ ta zosta³ opublikowana, tak jak 'Wichrowe Wzgórza' Emily, zaraz po 'Jane Eyre', w nadziei, ¿e zyska na jej powodzeniu. Anne by³a wystarczaj¹co szczêœliwa, by napisaæ nastêpn¹ powieœæ pt. "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall".
Kiedy Barnwell umar³ we wrzeœniu 1848 roku, Anne musia³a zaj¹æ siê przygotowaniami do pogrzebu, poniewa¿ Charlotte zachorowa³a. Kiedy trzy miesi¹ce póŸniej umar³a Emily, Charlotte by³a podpor¹ dla wszystkich, jako ¿e Anne zaczê³a odczuwaæ pierwsze objawy choroby. Jedyn¹ dla niej pociech¹ by³ ma³e lecz zauwa¿alne sukcesy poetyckie w ró¿nych magazynach literackich. Spadek po niedawno zmar³ej matce chrzestnej Anne, pozwoli³ Charlotte zabraæ j¹ nad morze (które tak bardzo kocha³a). Mia³a nadziejê, ¿e to j¹ wyleczy. Jednak Anne zmar³a na suchoty w Scarborough 28 maja 1849 roku; jej ostatnie s³owa brzmia³y: "Odwagi, Charlotte, odwagi".
'But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.,