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The Letters of Charlotte Brontë

Volume III: 1852 - 1855

The Letters of Charlotte Brontë by Margaret Smith
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This final volume of Charlotte Brontë's letters covers the period from 1852, when she eventually completed Villette, to March 1855, when she died at the early age of 38. Published in January 1853, Villette reflects experiences and moods conveyed with sharp immediacy in the correspondence of the preceding years. In December 1852 one of her most dramatic letters described the crucial event in her private life: Arthur Nicholls's proposal ofmarriage, when, 'shaking from head to foot' he made her feel 'what it costs a man to declare affection where he doubts response.' Mr Brontë's furious opposition to the match was not overcome until 1854, the year of Charlotte's marriage on 29 June. In the all too few months before her death, she came to love and trust Nicholls,her 'dear boy' and her 'tenderest nurse' during her final illness.The letters in this volume include on the one hand Charlotte's brief curt note to George Smith on his engagement to Elizabeth Blakeway, and on the other a newly discovered letter describing with cheerful briskness Charlotte's purchase of her own wedding trousseau. Complete texts of letters previously published inaccurately or in part provide valuable insight into her other friendships. Those to Elizabeth Gaskell in particular have an important bearing on our interpretation and assessment of herLife of Charlotte, published early in 1857; and the inclusion of Harriet Martineau's angry comments on the Life ('Hallucination!' [Friendship] was never attained.') enhances our understanding of Charlotte's break with Martineau after her review of Villette. The redating of a letter has shown thatthe long estrangement between Charlotte and her oldest friend, Ellen Nussey, caused by Ellen's hostility to the idea of Charlotte's marriage with Nicholls, lasted without a break from July 1853 until late February 1854. The volume includes some of the touching notes from Charlotte's bereaved husband and father, written in response to condolences on her death. Mrs Gaskell's graphic account of her visit to Haworth in 1853 forms one of the appendices; others provide the texts of fragmentaryletters, identify known forgeries, and list addenda and corrigenda for volumes 1 and 2.
Clarendon Press; January 2004
437 pages; ISBN 9780191513282
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Title: The Letters of Charlotte Brontë
Author: Margaret Smith
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Telling the life story of Charlotte Brontë through her own letters - Yorkshire Evening Post
Sat, 16 Apr 2016 22:43:59 -0700
Yorkshire Evening PostTelling the life story of Charlotte Brontë through her own lettersYorkshire Evening PostHarman was ...