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1820 - 1849

The third, and oft forgotten sister, Anne Bronte, was the youngest of the three sisters and wrote under the name of Acton Bell. Tenant of Wildfell Hall deals with what Charlotte called "an airing of family laundry" and was quite upset with Anne for what she had written. It deals with alcoholism and was indicative of their problems with their brother, Branwell. Tenant was assumed to be written by the same hand that produced Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Though repeatedly being told that all three pieces were done by different authors, Charlotte and Anne took off for London to get the matter straightened out. They walked through a thunderstorm to the station, got to Leeds and arrived in London at their publishers Smith, Elder & Co. To their publisher's surprise, they were about to meet
Currer and Acton Bell in person and the identities of the Bronte sisters would finally be revealed to the world. Emily (Ellis Bell) remained in Haworth and
declined to go with her sisters.

In Charlotte's own words:
"Anne's character was milder and more subdued than her sister Emily; she wanted the power, the fire, the originality of her sister, but was well endowed with quiet virtues of her own. Long-suffering, self-denying, reflective, and intelligent, a constituional reserve and taciturnity placed and kept her in the shade, and covered her mind, and especially her feelings, with a sort of nun-like veil, which was rarely lifted. Neither Emily nor Anne was learned; they had no thought of filling their pitchers at the well-spring of their minds; they always wrote from the impulse of nature, the dictates of intuition, and from such stores of observation as their limited experience had enabled them to amass. I may sum up all by saying, that for strangers they were nothing, for superficial observers less than nothing; but for those who had known them all their lives in the intimacy of close relationship, they were genuinely good and truly great."
from Biographical Notice to Wuthering Heights

Other Work

Agnes Grey

Charlotte | Emily | Branwell | Family | England

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