Tuesday, April 2, 2019
A to Z: Letters to Dead Writers: Charlotte Brontë
This month I'm writing one post for each letter of the alphabet, all on the theme of "Letters to Dead Writers." You can see my theme reveal post here and learn more about the blogging challenge here.
Today's writer is Charlotte Brontë.
Jane Eyre is one of the books of my heart. I loved her stubborn independence, her indomitable strength, and her fierce pride. When I read the book for the first time, probably in middle school, I was an immediate convert. The story gave me everything I loved in Gothic romance without a ninny as the heroine (a failing in too much of the genre). I've read it several times since, and I love it every time.
I didn't learn much about you yourself and your family until later. As a college student, I studied a bit of biographical detail, enough to become fascinated by your family. I still have in the back of my mind some kind of book around your brother Branwell, the one Brontë who never seemed to produce anything of worth . . .and also the only boy.
Your life and your work are like that: mysterious and interesting. No wonder Jean Rhys couldn't resist writing a backstory for poor Bertha, the quintissential madwoman in the attic in her Wide Sargasso Sea. I also loved Romancing Miss Brontë, Juliet Gael's imagining of your life. I wonder what you would think of having become such an object of interest. Would you have enjoyed Rhys's reinterpretation of your work? It's hard to know. You were a private person, but not a recluse. You enjoyed a few perks of celebrity, I think.
Whenever I imagine you, you are walking out on the moors that featured so strongly in your work and that of your sisters. Wind is whipping your hair across your face and bringing unexpected color into pale cheeks. You come back home looking as if you've been mussed by a lover, but it was your muse who left you rumpled. I only wish you'd lived long enough to write more books!
Your fan girl,