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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855) was the third child born to Patrick and Maria Bronte.  Her mother and 2 older sisters died while Charlotte was still young, leaving her the oldest of the remaining children, which included Anne, Emily, and Patrick Branwell.  Physically, Charlotte was very small, likely no taller than 4'10.  In 1831, she became a pupil of Miss Margaret Wooler, who would become a lifelong friend, at Roe Head School, about 20 miles from her home.  After leaving in June 1832, she returned in 1835, this time invited by Miss Wooler as a governess.  After two other governess positions, Charlotte traveled to Belgium with Emily to teach at M. Heger's Pensionnatt, a school for young girls.  Her experiences there laid the foundation for the novel Villette.

After a failed project by the sisters to open a school themselves, Charlotte collected the poems of the sisters and published them Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell in 1846.  The same year Charlotte's The Professor was written but rejected by publishers until after her death.  The following year Charlottle wrote Jane Eyre, dedicating the second edition to Thackeray.  Villette, written in 1853, was the first novel she wrote known as the entity behind the pseudonym Currer Bell.  Having lost her siblings with a one year period from 1848-49, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls in 1854, though likely not in love with him, but she died in 1855 during her pregnancy from consumption.

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