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Emily Bronte

Emily Brontë (1818-48). Best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, and a collection of surviving poems, she remains one of the most intensely original and passionate voices in English literature. Emily Brontë was born in Thornton, Yorkshire, in 1818 and moved to Haworth when her father was made perpetual curate there. The following year her mother, Maria Branwell, died, leaving five daughters and a son who were looked after by their mother’s sister Elizabeth.
Emily’s two eldest sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died in childhood, following a stay at Cowan Bridge School, the model for Lowood in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. To amuse themselves the Brontë children created fantasy worlds based on reading from a wide range of sources. Emily and Anne created Gondal, an imaginary kingdom for which they wrote annals and journals, which unfortunately have not survived. Emily briefly attended the school at Cowan Bridge, but was wretched and homesick for Haworth and the Yorkshire moors, and returned home after only three months. She became a governess in Halifax but planned with Charlotte to set up a school at Haworth, and together they went to the Pensionnate Heger in Brussels to increase their qualifications. Emily returned home on the death of her aunt in 1842 and remained there for the rest of her life.
Her poems were discovered by Charlotte in 1846 and published in a joint volume entitled Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. It included the pieces on which her reputation as a fine poet now rests: ‘To Imagination’, ‘Plead for Me’ and ‘Last Lines’. Emily Brontë died from tuberculosis in 1848, only a few months after the death of her brother, Branwell.

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