The Brontes: A Life in Letters
Juliet Barker

The Brontes: A Life in Letters

The Bronte story has been written many times but rarely as compellingly as by the Brontes themselves. Juliet Barker has used her unrivalled knowledge of the family to select extracts from their letters and manuscripts, many of which are appearing in print for the first time, to present the authentic voices of the three novelist sisters as well as their brother and father.

The letters detail the siblings' self-absorbed childhood, high-lighted by wild, imaginative games; the years of struggling to earn a living in uncongenial occupations before Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall took the literary world by storm;the terrible marring of that success as, one by one, Branwell, Emily, and Anne died tragically young and Charlotte's marriage to her father's curate. The letters are supplemented by extracts from other contemporary sources, and a brief narrative text guides the reader through the letters and sets them in context.

Book Details:

  • Author: Juliet Barker
  • Published Year: 1997
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Penguin
    • US: Overlook
    • Sweden: Bonniers

Juliet Barker

Juliet Barker was educated at Bradford Girls' Grammar School and St Anne's College, Oxford, where she obtained a doctorate in medieval history. From 1983 to 1989 she was the curator and librarian of the Bronte Parsonage Museum. Her books include The Brontes, which won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award and was short-listed for both the AT&T Non-Fiction Prize and the Marsh Biography Award, The Brontes: A Life in Letters, Wordsworth: A Life, Wordsworth: A Life in Letters.She is a frequent contributor to newspapers and appears regularly on radio and television. In 1999 she was one o...
More about Juliet Barker

Book Reviews

  • "Thrilling and engrossing . . . This book is alive with voices, affectionate, witty, sorrowful, fantastical, spiritual, mischievous and full of grief"
    Jane Dunn, The Observer
  • "By her careful excerpting and excellent narrative insertions, Juliet Barker reprises the extraordinary achievement of her The Brontes . . . It is not easy to hold all the voices together . . . but Barker combines them magnificently, getting closer than anyone to the sound of everyday life at Haworth"
    Kathryn Hughes, The Daily Telegraph
  • "Letters like these allow the reader a fleeting intimacy with another’s life . . . Juliet Barker has laid her brilliant selection before the reader in chronological order, explaining any significant gaps in her story and introducing new friends and acquaintances . . . a deft and revealing book’"
    The Guardian
  • "A gripping documentary chronicle of this extraordinary brilliant and insular family"
    The New York Times Book Review
  • "a memorable saga of courage"
    The New Yorker