Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855), an English novelist of the 19th century, was a contemporary of Dickens and Thackeray.
She was the daughter of a poor curate. Her mother died when Charlotte was four years old, leaving 5 daughters and a son. Four of the daughters were sent to a charity school of which Charlotte gave her recollections in the novel "Jane Eyre". It was an unfortunate step which hastened the death of Charlotte's two elder sisters. Then in 1831-32 Charlotte stayed at another board in school from which she returned with a teacher's license. She became later a governess and in 1842 went with her sister Emily to study the French language at a school in Brussels, where she was employed as a teacher of English. She came back home with a volume of verse, mostly lyrical and philosophical. It appeared under the title of "Poems by Currer, Allis and Acton Bell" (the pen-names of Charlotte, Emily and Ann Bronte). The poems are remarkable for the nobility of feeling and style. All the sisters lived in a world created by their own imagination. 'The Professor", Charlotte's first novel, was refused by several publishers and it appeared only in 1857 after her death. Her second novel "Jane Eyre" was published in 1847 and was a great success. But fresh sorrows descended on the writer. In 1848 her brother and two sisters died one after another and she alone of the six children survived. In spite of her grief she went on writing and produced two more novels. Her last work "Emma" was published after her death. Charlotte married in 1854 but a year later she died of tuberculosis at the age of 39. The novel "Jane Eyre" is a social novel. The writer exposes the vices of cruel, hypocritic bourgeois- aristocratic society, besides Charlotte Bronte raises the problems of education. The pictures of life at a charity school are among the best realistic descriptions in English literature. She also demands that women should possess equal rights with men in family life. The novel is partly autobiographical; the author describes the green years of her life.

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