The Brontës lived in Yorkshire. Patrick Brontë, an Anglican priest of Irish, was a poet and a writer; his wife Maria Branwell, a lively and educated woman, died at 38 of stomach cancer. They had six children: Maria (1814) and Elizabeth (1815) died both from tuberculosis in 1825 after suffering hunger, cold, and privation at Cowan Bridge School; Charlotte (1816), Emily (1818), and Anne (1820) survived their sisters together with their brother Patrick Branwell (1817).
They lived isolated from the other people, spending their time inventing fantastic stories in imaginary worlds.
Emily and Anne invented a kingdom called Gondal, Charlotte and her brother Branwell one called Angria. The inhabitants of these lands are characters of epic cycles.
Branwell was intelligent, interested literature, a driving force in the construction of the imaginary worlds. He left home to look for fortune as an artist in London, but soon became an alcohol and laudanum addict. He wrote Juvenilia, with his sister Charlotte, Glass Town and Angria, poems, pieces of prose and verse under the pseudonym of Northangerland,; Real Rest and an unfinished novel, And the Weary are at Rest. He died from tuberculosis in 1848 after several years of decline.
Meanwhile, in 1842, Emily and Charlotte spent eight months in Brussels to get a proficiency in French. They became teachers. Charlotte remained there until 1944 while Anne and Emily tried to open their own school. As their project proved a total failure, the sisters started publishing poetry and stories. In 1846 they published a volume of poems under the title of Poems, by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, pseudonyms, respectively, of Charlotte, Emily and Anne.
In 1945 Emily published her only novel Wuthering Heights, started in 1845 and in the same year appeared Anne’s work, Agnes Grey.
Only two years later, Charlotte and Ann visited their publishers inLondon, and revealed their true identities
In 1848 Emily died at the age of thirty. Anne’s health began to decline rapidly; she tried to improve her health going to the coast but she was forced to go back home where she died in 1849.
In 1849 Charlotte visited London and began to move in literary circles, making the acquaintance, for example, of Thackeray and Mrs Gaskell. In 1854 she married Rev. A. B. Nicholls, curate of Haworth, against her father’s will, but she died the following year while expecting a child. In 1857 Mrs. Gaskell’s Life of Charlotte Brontë was published. Her novels are based on her own experiences: The Professor: A Tale (1857), published posthumously, about a young man, his maturation, loves, and career as a Professor at a girls’ school; .Jane Eyre (1847), still written under the pseudonym of Currer Bell, a first example of feminist novel; Shirley set in Yorkshire, during the industrial depression and the Luddite riots (1811–1812), a defence of women’s right for more socially useful occupations and the Gothic Villette (1853), about a poor friendless girl who becomes a headmistress.
The Brontës were a family composed of three sisters, Charlotte (1816), Emily (1818), and Anne (1820), and their brother, Branwell. They published some poems together under masculine pseudonyms, according to a customs of their period. The three sisters and their brother were very close and they developed their childhood imaginations through the collaborative writing of increasingly complex stories. The confrontation with the deaths first of their mother then of their two older sisters marked them profoundly and influenced their writing. Their fame was due as much to their own tragic destinies as to their precociousness. Since their early deaths, and then the death of their father in 1861, they were subject to a following that did not cease to grow. Their home, the parsonage at Haworth in Yorkshire, now the Brontë Parsonage Museum has become a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Charlotte Bronte is famous for his masterpiece Jane Eyre (1847) first published as Jane Eyre: An Autobiography under the pseudonym Currer Bell. The novel was an immediate critical and popular success. William Makepeace Thackeray praised the book and Charlotte Brontë dedicated him the novel’s second edition, illustrated by F. H. Townsend.