Charlotte Brontë was born on this day

Charlotte Brontë was born 199 years ago today at Thornton, West Riding of Yorkshire. The third child of a clergyman and elder sister of Emily and Ann Brontë, Charlotte was employed as a teacher and governess before achieving literary success with the publication of Jane Eyre.

To celebrate her birthday, here are five interesting particulars about Charlotte Brontë’s life and writings:

9780199535590 1. The oppressive Lowood school of Jane Eyre was based on the harsh conditions of Brontë’s own early education at the Cowan Bridge boarding school. Her two elder sisters, Maria and Elizabeth both fell ill while attending the school and died shortly after.


97801995366582. Education played an important role in Charlotte Brontë’s life. Brontë studied and taught both locally and abroad, and even attempted to open a school with her sisters (but was unsuccessful). Brontë’s experiences teaching at a Belgium boarding school would later provide inspiration for her novel Villette.

3. Brontë and her sisters originally published their works under the pseudonym of ‘Bell’ as Acton (Ann), Ellis (Emily) and Currer (Charlotte). Ann and Charlotte would later have to prove their separate identities, after their publisher believed that Jane Eyre and Tenant of Wildfell Hall were written by a singular author.

4. The writing and publication of Shirley was a period of grief and suffering for Brontë with the deaths of her sisters Emily (1848) and Ann (1849) and brother Branwell, leaving Charlotte as the only surviving Brontë child. Shirley is Brontë’s only published novel not written in a first-person narrative.

5. Following the success of Jane Eyre, Brontë spent time in London and began moving in literary circles, where she became acquainted with authors Elizabeth Gaskell, William Thackeray and Harriet Martineau. Gaskell would later go on to write Charlotte’s biography The Life of Charlotte Brontë.

Want to know more about Charlotte Bronte?

9780199554768Oxford World’s Classics
The Life of Charlotte Bronte


9780199576968Oxford World’s Classics
Selected Letters


Written by Stephanie Swain, Higher Education – Product and Marketing Specialist

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