A Year in Books/Day 159: Emily Brontë

  • Title: The British Writers’ Lives Emily Brontë
  • Author: Robert Barnard
  • Year Published: 2000 (The British Library)
  • Year Purchased: 2012
  • Source: The Book Loft, Columbus, Ohio
  • About: I’m no Brontë virgin. There are many biographies of the famous literary family. I’ve read a lot of them, cut from various cloths. This entry in The British Library Writers’ Lives series is different from any of the others I’ve read. Focusing on middle daughter Emily (she of Wuthering Heights), it completes the feat of being a wonderful introduction to first-timers while bringing something new to the party for veterans. It is steady and insightful without ever resorting to the wild-child mystic trope that has followed Emily’s ghost around for decades. This biography is packed with original photographs, drawings, manuscripts, artwork and letters, which lend it a vivid immediacy that longer works often lack. It is a quick, quick read that you will want to return to time and again.
  • Motivation: I bought this volume to continue my love affair with dead writers and classic literature.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 38: “There is a touch of cracker-barrel philosopher about this, as if Emily is only happy dealing with strong personal emotion when she can don a Gondal mask as a partial cover for her feelings. Confessional poetry was never to be her forte.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10

4 thoughts on “A Year in Books/Day 159: Emily Brontë

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