Charlotte Bronte

June 17, 2014 at 11:37 am

I love Charlotte’s work, just as I love all the Brontes. Not just for their writing, either. Their lives were fascinating, in all its tragedy. If you’ve never read about them I encourage you to do so. Their story is like a soap opera or one of Charles Dickens’ novels.

As for her writing, I remember well when I first read Jane Eyre. I can’t recall reading a book prior to it that had such an overwhelming effect on me. I couldn’t stop reading it, even after I’d finished it. I read it several times, then read it aloud to myself for fun. There was so much in it that was interesting, particularly when it came to Mr Rochester, who drove the story along. When I encountered passages that did not feature him, it was an obvious loss.

As for her other books, Shirley is a strange one. Charlotte, it seemed, did not take criticism of her books well (I can understand that) and as a result, tried to follow the advice of all the critics. I don’t think that was a good idea, and this seems to have caused Shirley’s disjointedness. Also, I don’t think it helped that she wrote this while her sisters were dying. That would have made it difficult to concentrate, I’m sure.

Villette was a frustrating read. Again, she seemed to meander, not sure who the male protagonist really was, but it still held my attention … until the end, when I threw the book across the room. Charlotte didn’t seem too bothered by people’s reaction at this point, so maybe she’d learned that the critics didn’t really matter.

Unlike some other people, I enjoyed The Professor more than Villette. It was the first book she tried to have published, but no one was interested in it until after she’d died. I’m glad we did receive it in the end, but I wish she could have written more. The longest living of all her siblings, she died at the ripe old age of thirty-eight. What a loss it was.

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