The Bronte Sisters: Selected Poems

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Overview

Although the Brontës have long fascinated readers of fiction and biography, their poetry was all too little known until this pioneering selection by Stevie Davies, the novelist and critic. Charlotte (1816-1855) is certainly a competent poet, and Anne (1820-1849) developed a distinctive voice, while Emily (1818-1848) is one of the great women poets in English.

Read together with their novels, the poems movingly elucidate the ideas around which the narratives revolve. And they ...

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The Bronte Sisters: Selected Poems

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Overview

Although the Brontës have long fascinated readers of fiction and biography, their poetry was all too little known until this pioneering selection by Stevie Davies, the novelist and critic. Charlotte (1816-1855) is certainly a competent poet, and Anne (1820-1849) developed a distinctive voice, while Emily (1818-1848) is one of the great women poets in English.

Read together with their novels, the poems movingly elucidate the ideas around which the narratives revolve. And they surprise us out of our conventional notions of the sisters' personalities: Emily's rebelliousness, for example, is counterbalanced here by great tenderness.

This selection of over seventy poems gives an idea of the variety of thought and feeling within each author's work, and of the way in which the poems of these three remarkable writers parallel and reflect each other.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780856351310
  • Publisher: Carcanet Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 1/28/1990
  • Pages: 123

Meet the Author

Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë once wrote, "It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it." Though she led a quiet life (and died young), Brontë indeed created action in her sweeping, passionate novels, such as the gothic drama Jane Eyre.

Biography

Charlotte Brontë was born on April 21, 1816, in Thornton, Yorkshire, in the north of England, the third child of the Reverend Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell Brontë. In 1820 the family moved to neighboring Haworth, where Reverend Brontë was offered a lifetime curacy. The following year Mrs. Brontë died of cancer, and her sister, Elizabeth Branwell, moved in to help raise the six children. The four eldest sisters -- Charlotte, Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth -- attended Cowan Bridge School, until Maria and Elizabeth contracted what was probably tuberculosis and died within months of each other, at which point Charlotte and Emily returned home. The four remaining siblings -- Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne -- played on the Yorkshire moors and dreamed up fanciful, fabled worlds, creating a constant stream of tales, such as the Young Men plays (1826) and Our Fellows (1827).

Reverend Brontë kept his children abreast of current events; among these were the 1829 parliamentary debates centering on the Catholic Question, in which the Duke of Wellington was a leading voice. Charlotte's awareness of politics filtered into her fictional creations, as in the siblings' saga The Islanders (1827), about an imaginary world peopled with the Brontë children's real-life heroes, in which Wellington plays a central role as Charlotte's chosen character.

Throughout her childhood, Charlotte had access to the circulating library at the nearby town of Keighley. She knew the Bible and read the works of Shakespeare, George Gordon, Lord Byron, and Sir Walter Scott, and she particularly admired William Wordsworth and Robert Southey. In 1831 and 1832, Charlotte attended Miss Wooler's school at Roe Head, and she returned there as a teacher from 1835 to 1838. After working for a couple of years as a governess, Charlotte, with her sister Emily, traveled to Brussels to study, with the goal of opening their own school, but this dream did not materialize once she returned to Haworth in 1844.

In 1846 the sisters published their collected poems under the pen names Currer (Charlotte), Ellis (Emily), and Acton (Anne) Bell. That same year Charlotte finished her first novel, The Professor, but it was not accepted for publication.

However, she began work on Jane Eyre, which was published in 1847 and met with instant success. Though some critics saw impropriety in the core of the story -- the relationship between a middle-aged man and the young, naive governess who works for him -- most reviewers praised the novel, helping to ensure its popularity. One of Charlotte's literary heroes, William Makepeace Thackeray, wrote her a letter to express his enjoyment of the novel and to praise her writing style, as did the influential literary critic G. H. Lewes.

Following the deaths of Branwell and Emily Brontë in 1848 and Anne in 1849, Charlotte made trips to London, where she began to move in literary circles that included such luminaries as Thackeray, whom she met for the first time in 1849; his daughter described Brontë as "a tiny, delicate, serious, little lady." In 1850 she met the noted British writer Elizabeth Gaskell, with whom she formed a lasting friendship and who, at the request of Reverend Brontë, later became her biographer. Charlotte's novel Villette was published in 1853.

In 1854 Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, a curate at Haworth who worked with her father. Less than a year later, however, she fell seriously ill, perhaps with tuberculosis, and she died on March 31, 1855. At the time of her death, Charlotte Brontë was a celebrated author. The 1857 publication of her first novel, The Professor, and of Gaskell's biography of her life only heightened her renown.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Jane Eyre.

Good To Know

Sadly, Brontë died during her first pregnancy. While her death certificate lists the cause of death as "phthisis" (tuberculosis), there is a school of thought that believes she may have died from excessive vomiting caused by morning sickness.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      April 21, 1816
    2. Place of Birth:
      Thornton, Yorkshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      March 31, 1855
    2. Place of Death:
      Haworth, West Yorkshire, England
    1. Education:
      Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire; Miss Wooler's School at Roe Head

Table of Contents

Introduction
Lines Addressed to 'The Tower of All Nations' 31
Written upon the Occasion of the Dinner Given to the Literati of the Glasstown 31
Home-Sickness 32
from Retrospection 33
The Wounded Stag 35
'Turn not now for comfort here' 36
'He could not sleep! - the couch of war' 36
The Teacher's Monologue 37
Diving 40
Gods of the Old Mythology 41
Parting 43
Preference 44
Morning 46
Master and Pupil 47
Reason 52
'He saw my heart's woe, discovered my soul's anguish' 53
On the Death of Emily Jane Bronte 55
On the Death of Anne Bronte 55
'High waving heather, 'neath stormy blasts bending' 59
'All day I've toiled, but not with pain' 59
'I am the only being whose doom' 60
'Only some spires of bright green grass' 61
'Now trust a heart that trusts in you' 61
A. G. A. ('Sleep brings no joy to me') 62
'I'll come when thou art saddest' 63
'I'm happiest when most away' 63
Song ('King Julius left the south country') 64
'And now the house-dog stretched once more' 64
'Shed no tears o'er that tomb' 66
A. A. A. ('Sleep not, dream not; this bright day') 67
Song ('O between distress and pleasure') 68
'There was a time when my cheek burned' 69
'"Well, some may hate, and some may scorn"' 69
'It is too late to call thee now' 70
'Riches I hold in light esteem' 71
'Shall Earth no more inspire thee' 71
'Aye, there it is! It wakes to-night' 72
How Clear She Shines! 73
'In the earth, the earth, thou shalt be laid' 74
A. G. A. to A. S. ('This summer wind, with thee and me') 75
'Come, walk with me' 76
To Imagination 77
'O thy bright eyes must answer now' 78
The Philosopher's Conclusion 80
R. Alcona to J. Brenzaida ('Cold in the earth, and the deep snow piled above thee!') 82
'Death, that struck when I was most confiding' 83
'Ah! why, because the dazzling sun' 84
'How beautiful the Earth is still' 86
from Julian M. and A. G. Rochelle 87
'No coward soul in mine' 88
'Why ask to know what date, what clime?' 89
Stanzas ('Often rebuked, yet always back returning') 90
A Voice from the Dungeon 95
The North Wind 96
Verses to a Child 98
Retirement 100
Despondency 100
To Cowper 101
A Word to the 'Elect' 103
Past Days 105
A Reminiscence 106
A Prayer 106
Night 107
Dreams 107
If This be All 108
Song ('We know where deepest lies the snow') 109
Song ('Come to the banquet; triumph in your songs!') 110
Oh, They Have Robbed Me of the Hope 111
Domestic Peace 112
Severed and Gone 113
Farewell to Thee! But Not Farewell 115
Last Lines 116
Notes 119
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    Smarty

    All my fans that would like to know who I am I am Ryla.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2014

    Dear This Book sucks

    What did you expect its poems written in ealier times. Before you were born!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2013

    This booksucks

    This book SUCKS! It is not even funny

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