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Feb 07, 2017
| ISBN 9780345803412
Mar 01, 2016
| ISBN 9780307962096
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Feb 07, 2017 | ISBN 9780345803412
Mar 01, 2016 | ISBN 9780307962096
Charlotte Brontë famously lived her entire life in an isolated parsonage on a remote English moor with a demanding father and with siblings whose astonishing creativity was a closely held secret. The genius of Claire Harman’s biography is that it transcends these melancholy facts to reveal a woman for whom duty and piety gave way to quiet rebellion and fierce ambition. Drawing on letters unavailable to previous biographers, Harman depicts Charlotte’s inner life with absorbing intensity. Brontë’s blazingly intelligent female characters brimming with hidden passions transformed English literature, even as a heartrending series of personal losses followed the author’s literary success. Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart is a groundbreaking view of the beloved writer as a young woman ahead of her time.
On the two hundredth anniversary of her birth, a landmark biography transforms Charlotte Brontë from a tragic figure into a modern heroine. Charlotte Brontë famously lived her entire life in an isolated parsonage on a remote English moor with a demanding father and siblings whose astonishing childhood creativity was a closely held secret. The genius of Claire Harman’s biography is that it transcends these melancholy facts to reveal a woman for whom duty and piety gave way to quiet rebellion and fierce ambition.Drawing on letters unavailable to previous biographers, Harman depicts Charlotte’s inner life with absorbing, almost novelistic intensity. She seizes upon a moment in Charlotte’s adolescence that ignited her determination to reject poverty and obscurity: While working at a girls’ school in Brussels, Charlotte fell in love with her married professor, Constantin Heger, a man who treated her as “nothing special to him at all.” She channeled her torment into her first attempts at a novel and resolved to bring it to the world’s attention. Charlotte helped power her sisters’ work to publication, too. But Emily’s Wuthering Heights was eclipsed by Jane Eyre, which set London abuzz with speculation: Who was this fiery author demanding love and justice for her plain and insignificant heroine? Charlotte Brontë’s blazingly intelligent women brimming with hidden passions would transform English literature. And she savored her literary success even as a heartrending series of personal losses followed. Charlotte Brontë is a groundbreaking view of the beloved writer as a young woman ahead of her time. Shaped by Charlotte’s lifelong struggle to claim love and art for herself, Harman’s richly insightful biography offers readers many of the pleasures of Brontë’s own work.
CLAIRE HARMAN is the author of Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart; Sylvia Townsend Warner, for which she won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize; biographies of Fanny Burney and Robert Louis Stevenson; and Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World. She is a… More about Claire Harman
Seattle Times, Best Books of 2016Kirkus Reviews, Best Biographies of 2016“As intimate and nuanced an account of the writer’s life as we are likely to get.” —Los Angeles Times “An engrossing, almost novelistic tale. . . . Just as Jane Eyre happily survives multiple readings, so does the story of Charlotte Brontë—particularly when in the hands of a gifted teller.” —Seattle Times“A well-researched, wonderfully lucid . . . treatment of a most extraordinary woman. . . . Harman’s tart, understated wit and gift for quotation shine throughout. [Her biography is] perhaps the most engaging of all.” —Chicago Tribune“A masterly biography. . . . Harman leads readers on a precipitous journey through the writer’s interior landscape. . . . Harman’s psychologically astute portrait deftly bridges Charlotte’s world and her work.” —The New Yorker“Harman’s well-paced narrative and keen attention to the tentative and troubled way Charlotte adjusted to sudden fame make this latest version of a literary life all the more modern and captivating.” —San Francisco Chronicle“Excellent. . . . Harman writes with warmth and a fine understanding of Ms. Brontë’s literary significance. Above all, she is a storyteller, with a sense of pace and timing, relish for a good scene and a wry sense of humor.” —The Economist“[Harman] vividly portrays a life of loneliness, anguish, tragedy, and suppressed rage in serene and elegant prose with frequent flashes of ironic humor. . . . A delightfully engaging biography.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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