Bibliography of Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights (1847)
Emily Jane Brontë, Born in Yorkshire in 1818
Emily Jane Brontë was an English novelist and poet, best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, now considered an English literary classic. Wuthering Heights was published under her pen name Ellis Bell. Born in Thornton, Yorkshire, in 1818, Emily was the fifth of six children. Her two oldest sisters died in childhood, making her the second youngest of the four surviving Brontë siblings, between Charlotte Brontë and Anne Brontë. Their brother, Branwell Brontë, was born in 1817. Patrick Brontë, their father, was an Anglican clergyman. Maria Brontë, their mother, died of cancer when Emily was three years old. Her aunt, Elizabeth Branwell, then came to live with the family and cared for the children.
The Brontë siblings were known for their stories set in imaginary worlds. Glass Town, their original fictional land, was invented by the four siblings. However, Branwell and Charlotte Brontë were the dominant players. After 1831, Charlotte and Branwell branched out into Angria, an extension of Glass Town, while Emily and Anne invented their private world of Gondal.
Emily Brontë was educated at home, like her sisters. At seventeen, Emily began to attend the Roe Head Girls’ School, where Charlotte was a teacher, but she left after only six months because she was homesick. Emily became a teacher at Law Hill School in Halifax in September 1838, when she was twenty. In 1842, Emily and Charlotte went to Brussels to study at a boarding school. However, the illness and death of their aunt drove the siblings to return to Haworth.
Wuthering Heights and Collection of Poetry
In 1844, Emily began going through all her poems, recopying them neatly into two notebooks. One was labeled “Gondal Poems”; the other was unlabelled. In the autumn of 1845, Charlotte found the books and asked that Emily’s poems be published. At first, Emily was outraged at the invasion of her privacy, but once Anne revealed her own stories and poems to Charlotte, she agreed. As co-authors of Gondal stories, Anne and Emily had grown up sharing these stories and poems, while Charlotte was excluded.
In 1846, the three sisters published their poems in a one-volume anthology called Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Charlotte Brontë was Currer Bell, Emily Brontë was Ellis Bell, and Anne Brontë was Acton Bell.
Wuthering Heights was Emily Brontë’s only novel, published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. The novel centers around Heathcliff, a dark and brooding man who falls in love with Catherine Earnshaw, the daughter of his adoptive father. The novel explores the themes of love, revenge, and betrayal. The book was not well received by critics, but it later became popular and is now considered a classic of English literature.
Died of Tuberculosis in 1848
Emily Brontë’s health began to decline in 1848, and she died of tuberculosis on 19 December, 1848 at the age of 30. She was buried in the family plot at St. Michael and All Angels’ Church, Haworth.
Emily was the least well-known of the three Brontë sisters during their lifetimes, but her reputation has grown since her death. Several biographies of her have been published, and her work has been studied in universities and colleges worldwide.
The Brontë Parsonage in Haworth, West Yorkshire, is the former home of Emily Brontë and the Brontë family. The house is now a museum and is open to the public.