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The Bronte story has been written many times but rarely as compellingly as by the Brontes themselves. In this selection of letters and autobiographical fragments we hear the authentic voices of the three novelist sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, their brother, Branwell, and their father, the Reverend Patrick Bronte. We share in their progress over the years: the exuberant childhood, absorbed in wild, imaginative games; the years of struggling to earn a living in uncongenial occupations before Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall took the literary world by storm; the terrible marring of that success as, one by one, Branwell, Emily and Anne died tragically young; the final years as Charlotte, battling against grief, loneliness and ill health, emerged from anonymity to take her place in London literary society and, finally, found an all too brief happiness in marriage to her father's curate., Juliet Barker, author of the highly acclaimed biography The Brontes has used her unrivalled knowledge of the family to select extracts from letters and manuscripts, many of which are appearing here in print for the first time. Charlotte was a letter-writer of supreme ability, ranging from facetious notes and homely gossip to carefully composed pages of literary criticism and, most movingly of all, elegiac tributes to her beloved brother and sisters. Emily and Anne remain tantalizingly evasive., Very few of their letters are extant. Emily's are mere businesslike notes, though these have been supplemented by her more revealing diary papers; Anne's letters are equally frustrating, but only because their quality makes us regret their paucity.Branwell emerges as distinctly as Charlotte from his letters. Whether trying to impress William Wordsworth with his literary abilities, showing off to his artistic friends or finally coming to terms with a life of failed ambition, his character is laid bare on every page., The Reverend Patrick Bronte's devotion to his c
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The Brontes: A Life in Letters is exhilarating because it is a portrait of six extraordinary people in their
own words . . . Barker's interpolations are not numerous but pithy and to the point
The Brontë story has been written many times but rarely as compellingly as by the Brontës themselves. In this selection of letters and autobiographical fragments we hear the authentic voices of the three novelist sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, their brother, Branwell, and their father, the Reverend Patrick Brontë.
Juliet Barker, author of the magisterial biography The Brontës, uses her unrivalled knowledge of the Brontë family to create an absorbing and entertaining book that is as original, compelling and bold as the Brontës themselves.
'A gripping documentary chronicle of this extraordinary brilliant and insular family' New York Times Book Review
'Juliet Barker's knowledge of the family is unrivalled and she has already written a magnificent composite biography . . . Here, with an equal degree of sensitivity and with the addition of a wealth of previously unpublished material, she sets the family before us in their own words'
Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times
'By her careful excerpting and excellent narrative insertions, Juliet Barker reprises the extraordinary success of her The Brontës . . . It is not easy to hold all the voices together . . . but Barker combines them magnificently, getting closer than anyone to the sound of everyday life at Haworth'
Kathryn Hughes, Daily Telegraph
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