Brontė, Emily

BORN 30 Jun 1818, Thornton, West Yorkshire - DIED 19 Dec 1848, Haworth, West Yorkshire
BIRTH NAME Brontė, Emily Jane
CAUSE OF DEATH tuberculosis
GRAVE LOCATION Haworth, West Yorkshire: St. Michael and All Angels' Church

Emily Brontė was the fifth child of Patrick Brontė, who became perpetual curate of Haworth, Yorkshire in 1820. Her mother died in 1821 and her aunt Elisabeth moved in with the family. Her sisters Maria and Elisabeth died early, but with her other sisters Charlotte and Anne and her brother Branwell she created fantasy worlds and drafted stories. When she was seventeen, she attended the Roe Head Girls' School where Charlotte was a teacher. But homesickness soon made her leave the school.

In September 1838 she became a teacher at the Law Hill School in Halifax but the long working days were too hard for her and she returned home in April 1839. From then on, she dealt with household duties, although she had learned herself German and played the piano.

In 1842, with the idea of starting their own school she and Charlotte attended the Héger Pensionnat in Brussels to improve their language skills. After their aunt Elisabeth died the girls returned home. They tried to set up a school at home, but it failed because no pupils came.

Emily was, like her sister Charlotte, a very shy and reserved person. She seemed to love nature and animals better than people. In 1845 Charlotte discovered Emily's notebooks with poems and was immediately convinced that they should be published. The sisters bundled their poems and paid themselves for publishing them as "Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell", Ellis being Emily. Her poems were praised by The Athenaeum, but the sisters were told that only two copies had been sold during the first months after publication.

The sisters all decided to write a novel as well and in December 1847 Emily's "Wuthering Heights" was published. It told the story of two generations of two families, the Earnshaws and the Lintons in a dramatic and passionate way. Reviewers found it hard to judge this wild and strange novel. Some considered it amoral, but many were impressed by its power and its passion. It was often thought that Ellis Bell was a man, until Emily's real name was revealed in 1850.

But by that time, she was dead. Her alcoholic brother Branwell died in September 1848, and she caught a cold during his funeral. Soon it became clear that she suffered from tuberculosis, but she did not want any medicine and allowed 'no poisoning doctor' near her. After her condition worsened, she still refused medicine. On 19 December 1848 she died on the sofa at home in Haworth. She was interred in the St. Michael and All Angels' Church next to the parsonage.

"Wuthering Heights" achieved its famous only after her death and eventually became a classic in British Literature. It seems she was working on a second novel at the time of her death, but no material has survived.

Related persons
• is brother/sister of Brontė, Anne
• is brother/sister of Brontė, Charlotte


Memorial plaque for the Brontė sisters in Westminster Abbey, London.
Picture by Androom (27 Mar 1996)


The Brontė Family vault at the St. Michael and All Angels' Church, Haworth.
Picture by Androom (17 Aug 2015)


Memorial tablet for Emily Brontė and Charlotte Brontė at the St. Michael and All Angels' Church, Haworth.
Picture by Androom (17 Aug 2015)


The parsonage near The St. Michael and All Angels' Church, Haworth is now a Brontė museum.
Picture by Androom (17 Aug 2015)


The room at the parsonage in Haworth, West Yorkshire where the Brontė sisters created their stories.
Picture by Androom (11 Jun 2022)


Emily Brontƫ - Wikipedia

Broodthaers, Marcel

Published: 04 Sep 2015
Last update: 05 Jun 2024