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The Brontës: A Life in Letters
The Brontës: A Life in Letters | Juliet Barker
4 posts | 1 read | 2 to read
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. 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 Brontës 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 Brontë's devotion to his children and passionate advocacy of liberal causes are equally well illustrated in what can only be a small selection from his voluminous correspondence. The Brontë letters are supplemented by extracts from other contemporary sources, which allow us to see the family as their friends and acquaintances saw them. A brief narrative text guides the reader through the letters and sets them in context. By allowing the Brontës to tell their own story, Juliet Barker has not only produced an innovative form of biography but also given us the unique privilege of participating intimately in the lives of one of the most famous and best-loved families of English literature.
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Happy International Women‘s Day!


Texreader ❤️ 2mo
merelybookish You too! Beautiful collection! 😍 2mo
Sarah83 You have the old Jane Austen editions 😍 2mo
See All 33 Comments
DGRachel Gorgeous! 2mo
saresmoore ♥️♥️♥️ 2mo
rubyslippersreads So many gorgeous books! I have the Brontë letters, but I still want Jane‘s. ? 2mo
Aimeesue @Sarah83 I was just thinking ‘Wow, she‘s got some newer Austen Folios,‘ because mine are the 1961-ish Folios. @LeahBergen ‘s are prettier than mine. 😂 (edited) 2mo
batsy What a collection 😍😍 2mo
Lcsmcat Beautiful editions! 2mo
ScientistSam Please! 2mo
tpixie Beautiful!!! ♥️🧡♥️ 2mo
LeahBergen @Sarah83 I do! I love the wood engraving illustrations by Joan Hassall in these editions so much. 😍 2mo
LeahBergen @rubyslippersreads I think it‘s a necessity for your Austen shelves. 😆 2mo
LeahBergen @Aimeesue Yours are the green bindings, aren‘t they? I believe they‘re identical inside to these late 1990s ones I have (that‘s when I started buying these 😆). I prefer these editions illustrated by Joan Hassall to the newer Folio ones. Shhh! 🤫 2mo
rohit-sawant Stunning editions! 💕 2mo
Sarah83 I received one book of this collection with the Jane Austen swap. It is so gorgeous. 😍 2mo
youneverarrived Beautiful 😍 2mo
Sarah83 @Aimeesue that's sometimes the problem. Folio publishes some books so often, you don't know which edition you should buy 😍😍😍😍 2mo
Aimeesue @LeahBergen Mine are a bluish green. The spines look greenish, I think, when they fade, but the covers are definitely blue. They do have the Hassell illustrations, though, which are gorgeous. Did they change the illustrations in the newer versions? Whatever for? 2mo
Melissa_J Lovely editions 🥰 2mo
LeahBergen @rohit-sawant Thanks! They‘re some of my faves. ❤️ 2mo
LeahBergen @youneverarrived Thank you! 😘 2mo
LeahBergen @Sarah83 Do you like these editions or do you prefer the illustrations in the new editions? 2mo
LeahBergen @Aimeesue Ah, yes! I think I‘ve only seen the faded spines before. They‘re so pretty! And yes, check out the Folio site to look inside the new editions. The illustrations are a tad mod and dreamy for my liking (let me know what you think 🤫). They also released an Austen set in 2006 that‘s a wee bit ... twee, maybe? 😆 And, hey .... I‘m usually a big lover of twee-ness. 😆 2mo
LeahBergen @Melissa_J 😘😘 2mo
Sarah83 I am not really certain. I love the old ones so much. I love drawings which seams like the painter used coal for it. 😍 But the new ones are also wonderful. Can I take both? Which do you prefer? 2mo
BiblioLitten Those beauties!! 😍😍😍 2mo
kspenmoll So lovely! 2mo
rubyslippersreads @LeahBergen I can always count on you to be my enabler. 😂 2mo
Reviewsbylola 😍😍😍😍😍 such shelf envy! 2mo
Lauraandherbooks What a beautiful collection 😍 2mo
LeahBergen @Lauraandherbooks Thank you! 😊 2mo
122 likes33 comments
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A dog and a quilt on a blustery day. Now if I can only get someone to light the fire…

LeahBergen I was just looking at my copy of this today. 😍 4mo
Aimeesue @LeahBergen I still get distracted by all the pretty when I try to read it. 😋 4mo
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I do love #bookmail

DGRachel Beautiful! 7mo
HotCocoaReads Oh, this is a gorgeous book! 7mo
Sarah83 Lovely edition 😍 7mo
28 likes3 comments
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Today‘s book mail ... two books I‘ve been coveting for ages. 👏🏻


Eyelit Omg so pretty! 🤤 11mo
Melissa_J Lovely 😊 11mo
saresmoore Oh. My. Goodness. 11mo
See All 35 Comments
CarolynM They are beautiful😍😍 11mo
BookaholicNatty Beautiful!!!😍😍❤️❤️ 11mo
JacqMac Gorgeous!😍 11mo
Mdargusch I love them! 💕 11mo
rubyslippersreads Gorgeous! I have the Bronte one, and now you‘re making me want the Austen letters. 😄 11mo
Lcsmcat Beautiful! 11mo
Centique I think I‘m in love 😍😍 11mo
batsy Just stunning 💕 11mo
erzascarletbookgasm OMGoodness. They‘re gorgeous! 11mo
emilyhaldi 💕💕💕 11mo
Tanisha_A 😍 11mo
BarbaraBB Stunning 😍 11mo
Kalalalatja I can‘t deal with how gorgeous they are 😍😍 11mo
Sarah83 Gorgeous 😍 but I really thought, you already have rhe Austen's letters ☺️ 11mo
LeahBergen @rubyslippersreads I think your Mom would want you to add it to the collection, right?? 😄 11mo
LeahBergen @Sarah83 Not the Folio edition. I have a smaller paperback edition of the illustrated letters. 🙂 11mo
Sarah83 So it was only the wrong edition I had on my mind. 😍 11mo
Aimeesue Oooooooooh! Lovely! 😍 11mo
rubyslippersreads @LeahBergen I‘m sure she would. 😄 11mo
Reviewsbylola They are beautiful! I especially love the Bronte! 11mo
Moray_Reads I have the Austen but I REEAALLY want the Brontë one 🤯😍 11mo
GypsyKat OMG these are stunningly beautiful!!!!! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍 11mo
Aimeesue I gotta stop looking at your Folio posts - I've just ordered the JA Letters. I'm gonna have to start building a library out back for all these books I'm buying because of Litsy. Instead of a backyard Man Cave, I will have a backyard Book Cave. Feasible, right? 11mo
LeahBergen @Aimeesue 😂😂 I have bought SO many books after seeing them on Litsy. It‘s disgusting. 11mo
LeahBergen @Reviewsbylola It‘s my fave of the two. 😍 11mo
LeahBergen @Moray_Reads I think you definitely need it. It‘s my favourite of the two! 11mo
LeahBergen @GypsyKat Oh, they are! I‘m loving them to an unhealthy degree. 😂😂 11mo
BiblioLitten Beautiful! Simply beautiful 😍💞😍 11mo
Aimeesue @LeahBergen I‘ve spent two hours culling books to make room for the Folios. I‘m being ruthless, because PRIORITIES!😂 11mo
DeborahSmall ❤️❤️❤️ 11mo
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