Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Classics Challenge: Emily Brontë

"Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves." ~Emily Brontë

The second author in our year-long Classics Challenge is another unmarried writer, Ms. Emily Jane Brontë. I was excited to delve into the background of this famous woman. First because we share the same name. And second because her older sister, Charlotte, and younger sister, Anne, are other classic authoresses. Literary love ran in the family!

Despite their love for fiction, the Brontë family suffered their share of sorrow. At the age of three, Emily lost her mother to cancer. In a few years her older sisters, Elizabeth and Maria, would die of tuberculosis. Charlotte, Branwell (brother), Emily, and Anne were the only surviving Brontë children.

Although tragedy burdened Emily in her early life, she enjoyed her life on the moors of Hathworth. She loved imagining stories with her siblings. Her fictional world of "Gondal," which she created with Anne Brontë, was a key setting in many of her early stories.

As "Ellis Bell," Emily wrote and published her only novel Wuthering Heights.  Readers weren't sure what to make of Wuthering Heights and it wasn't until Emily's death in 1848 (of tuberculosis), that the novel obtained literary acclaim.

Emily Brontë lived to be 30 years old.

Writerly Things to Learn from Emily Brontë

1. It's okay to be shy. Emily tried going to a school where her sister Charlotte taught, but returned home after only a few months. She was a definite homebody.

2. Stretching and sharing your imagination makes it stronger. Emily spent her childhood imagining with her siblings. No doubt it helped her grow into a wonderful writer!

3. Dabbling is fun. Emily didn't just write novels. She created poetry and short stories as well. Don't confine yourself to a box.

4. Not everyone will get you. Critics didn't know what to think of Emily's Wuthering Heights. Even today people read too much into the plot. Write what you love, regardless of what "critics" claim.

Now onto Wuthering Heights! You're welcome to join in. The more, the merrier.

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