The Brontë Myth

 In Classics, Non-Fiction


I am writing my first book review on a book that I find to be so helpful in finding out more information about some of my favorite female classic writers- The Brontës. The Bronte Myth by Lucasta Miller offers helpful and intriguing advice to anyone interested in getting to know more about the Brontes. This work will help readers who love the Brontës understand some background information about such classic novels as Jane Eyre, Villette, and Wuthering Heights.

Charlotte, my favorite Brontë,  is portrayed, through The Bronte Myth, as a strong willed, passionate woman. She is often taking control of her sisters or having her characters take control of themselves. Miller’s work is very helpful for those looking for a unique perspective on Charlotte and Emily Bronte. There is very little written on Anne in her text, possibly because Anne’s works were heavily edited by Charlotte. The work itself, coming in at 300 pages, dedicates 200 pages to Charlotte and 100 to Emily. Based on the number of works Charlotte wrote compared to Emily and the responsibility Charlotte took on by editing and writing forwards for her sisters’ novels, it seems appropriate that Charlotte remain the focus for 2/3 of the book.

Miller’s writing style is easy to understand and her book is sectioned in such a way that it keeps all of her ideas neatly boxed within chapters so a scholar could pick up the book and read one chapter without having to read the whole work. Each chapter has its own thesis which further focuses each section.  The autobiographical information including letters, diary entries and excerpts from crucial reviews, set the Brontës in their own unique place and time. This creation of a Brontë world explain the struggles that the sisters had to endure in order to have their works initially published and then critiqued. Miller’s style portrays Charlotte as the most demanding, critical of the sisters while Emily is the most despondent. Charlotte appears to have her sisters under her thumb and Miller argues this is a critical reason readers and critics often portray Charlotte and her characters as having masculine characteristics.

All in all, this is one of the most interesting autobiographical works that I have read and is a MUST READ for those looking for an a unique perspective on these classic authors. However, be advised that this is NOT a beach read. It took a few days for me to go through but was so worth it!

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