Charlotte Brontë

The 1847 book "Jane Eyre" was written by which Brontë sister?

And the answer: Charlotte Brontë.

Photo credit: public domain. 

First published in three volumes as Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, the novel listed Charlotte Brontë as its editor under the pseudonym Currer Bell. Other notable works by her include "Shirley: A Tale" and Villette.  

Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë were 19th-century English poets and novelists whose major works have since become classics of English literature. However, born in northern England in 1816 to Reverend Patrick Brontë, Charlotte was not a literary child. She suffered through unsanitary and harsh conditions at her boarding school, where two of her older sisters passed away from tuberculosis. With little interest for learning, and concern for the state of the school, her father withdrew his daughters and she returned home to Yorkshire.

When Reverend Brontë brought home a set of toy wooden soldiers, everything changed for young Charlotte. The soldiers became the focus of the children's imagination, and Charlotte began to create imaginative storylines for the Duke of Wellington and his two sons. Even at an early age, Charlotte's writing was clearly attuned to the social and political attitudes of Victorian England. At age 15, she was enrolled at a new institution, where she grew to the top of her class.

Upon returning home in 1832, Charlotte wrote thousands of lines of poetry. However, she was forced back into reality not much later when she was offered a teaching position at her old school. With no job prospects as a woman writer in the 19th century, Charlotte remained there for several years, unhappy. Finally, her sisters hatched a new idea: to publish a book of poetry under pseudonyms. It was this publication which gave Charlotte the confidence to begin work on her most notable novel, Jane Eyre. The novel went on to become the most successful of her career, and remains an essential work in the Western literary canon still today.

Learn more about the life and legacy of Charlotte Brontë here.

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