Following the success of Jane Eyre, in 1848 Charlotte began work on the manuscript of her second novel, Shirley. The manuscript was only partially completed when the Bront� household suffered a tragic turn of events, experiencing the deaths of three family members within eight months. In September 1848 Charlotte's only brother, Branwell, died of chronic bronchitis and marasmus exacerbated by heavy drinking, although Charlotte believed his death was due to tuberculosis. Branwell was a suspected "opium eater", a laudanum addict. Emily became seriously ill shortly after Branwell's funeral, and died of pulmonary tuberculosis in December 1848. Anne died of the same disease in May 1849. Charlotte was unable to write at this time.
After Anne's death Charlotte resumed writing as a way of dealing with her grief, and Shirley was published in October 1849. Shirley deals with the themes of industrial unrest and the role of women in society. Unlike Jane Eyre, which is written from the first-person perspective of the main character,
About the Author
(1816-1855) British writer. Charlotte Bront� was one of the famous Bronte sisters, and she wrote "Jane Eyre." She once wrote: "We were wholly dependent upon ourselves and each other, on books and study, for the enjoyment and occupations of life."
Date of Birth:April 21, 1816
Date of Death:March 31, 1855
Place of Birth:Thornton, Yorkshire, England
Place of Death:Haworth, West Yorkshire, England
Education:Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire; Miss Wooler's School at Roe Head