Considering my birthday was on the 22nd of September, I’d like to apologise for not having this up sooner. Life got in the way: university, reading, and getting treated for my newly diagnosed pernicious anaemia. Not only this, but one of my books arrived really late, so I couldn’t get this up any sooner.
If you haven’t already gathered by now, I’m extremely interested in the Brontë family, more so the three literary sisters. I wanted to spend my birthday money collecting the books that I don’t already have in my collection – I am still yet to buy some biographies on Anne and Emily, but I now own everything written by the family. Although I haven’t read these new books in their entirety, I have read snippets before, so with that knowledge I would definitely recommend them to you.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get into this haul.
Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell:
I’m not so well acquainted with Charlotte and Anne’s poetry as I am with Emily’s, and I thought it was about time I rectified this. After searching endlessly for, and desperately failing to find, a separate collection of Charlotte and Anne’s verse, I ended up buying the original collection of the three sisters.
Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell was first published in 1846, and contains a selection of poetry detailing a wide variety of topics, including: death, life, time, nature, and so on. Unfortunately, at the time the collection didn’t do so well; they only sold two copies in the first year. However the reviews that they did receive praised the sisters highly for their talent, specifically Anne and Emily’s.
I’m really excited to start exploring their poetry – I want to see how their writing differs from prose to verse. If you would also like to purchase this book, you can do so here.
Tales of Glass Town, Angria and Gondal:
Much like their poetry, the Brontë juvenilia is something that I have neglected to read. It’s about time this changed, so I purchased two editions of their earlier writing. The first is the Oxford World Classic’s Tales of Glass Town, Angria and Gondal which is a selection of writing by Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne.
From an early age, the siblings created complex and imaginative fantasy worlds, whose history and geography they elaborated in a variety of writing/genres. Inspired by a set of toy soldiers Branwell received, the siblings invented characters based on their heroes (such as the Duke of Wellington, Byron and Scott, to name but a few) to watch over these colonies. These stories are centred on feuds, alliances, love affairs, as well as social and political intrigue of the day.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing where the Brontë’s started with writing, and to analyse how much they progressed when it came to their published work. It’s interesting to know that they were so young when composing these stories, thus showing how smart and aware they were.
You can buy this collection of writing here.
Tales of Angria:
The other juvenilia I bought was the Penguin Classics edition of Tales of Angria. This is a collection of Charlotte’s last novelettes concerning Angria. They’re told from the perspective of Charles Townshend, the fictional son of the Duke of Wellington, and they offer “an ironic portrait of the intrigues, scandals and passions of an aristocratic beau monde“.
I picked up this edition mainly for the introduction written by Heather Glen. I wanted a in-depth discussion and analysis of the tales to help my understanding of them, which I felt would have been best provided by Glen. I’m looking forward to reading the stories that dominated Charlotte’s life for so long – I specifically want to see how she ended them.
To purchase this, click here.
The Complete Poems by Emily Brontë:
Earlier this year, I read the Penguin LBC of Emily’s ‘The Night is Darkening Round Me”. I loved it so much I wanted to read the entirety of Emily’s verse. There is something so enchanting and mystical about Emily’s poetry that holds me hostage every time I read it. She writes about such interesting and morbid topics in such a whimsical way, so I knew I had to add this to my collection.
I picked up the Penguin Classics edition of her poetry, titled The Complete Poems, for the insightful introduction by Janet Gezari. In this, she details the dating and authenticity of the poems, as well as discussing the way in which the Gondal poems could relate to the lost narratives of the fantasy worlds. Poetry was Emily’s escape from the mundanity of life, so I’m looking forward to reading this release.
To purchase this, click here.
To Walk Invisible:
After a hectic first semester at university, To Walk Invisible took me away from the pressures of second year and into the lives of the Brontë sisters. On the 29th December, I nestled down on the couch with a brew and the roaring fire to watch 120 minutes of my favourite writers. I loved every second of it, so I just had to get my own copy.
The film’s focus is centred on when literary ambition drove the Brontë sisters to make a living for themselves. From childhood, the siblings escaped into fantasy worlds to occupy their time, never once dreaming of publication. However, with the uncertainty of their father’s health, the sisters needed to find their own means of money. After finding Emily’s poetry, Charlotte convinced her sisters to publish a collection of verse together.
To Walk Invisible captures the hardships the sisters faced with writing and publishing, as well as the hardships of family life – focusing poignantly on Branwell’s spiral into Opium and alcohol addiction. I thought Sally Wainwright’s depiction of the Brontë’s life was very moving. I found that she didn’t rely too heavily on the “Brontë myth”, and instead truly captured the essence of the family.
I’d definitely recommend this film – you can purchase it here.
These are all the Brontë-related things I picked up for my birthday. As you can tell, I’m rather interested in the family and I’m happy to have this platform to share that interest with you. I hope you pick one of these up, or maybe something else by the family. I have no doubt you’ll enjoy whatever you choose. If you do, please let me know what you think!
I also just wanted to mention that I’ve accumulated a rather large pile of books over the past two weeks, so I’ll have another 2 hauls to come. There’s just too many to fit into one post – you’d probably get bored to death.
But until then,
Thanks for reading, Lauren Xx