Marie's Reviews > The Life of Charlotte Bronte

The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell
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May 31, 11

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Most of us now know how wrong Gaskell got some things. That being said, if she had not recorded the life of "her dear friend", the Brontës as we know them would not have been propelled to the mythical heights which have fueled their popularity. Gaskell does a good job of weaving Charlotte's life into a fantastical story, but left out major elements -- things that would have been improper or embarrassing to publish, and totally skewed and falsified other things to add to the romance and intrigue of the story. However, she above all wanted to do her friend justice and defend her from the vicious rumors that were circling around the London literary society. Her portrayal of Charlotte was a highly romanticized one that was constructed as an explanation for the "coarse" things that the Brontës wrote about. The biography is very apologetic as Gaskell was trying to explain why sisters were the way they were. Despite all of this, the story is a very good read, and does provide insight into the lives of the family in a very poetical way. Read this and then pick up Juliet Barker's definitive biography "The Brontës" which also explains, in great detail, the strengths and flaws of this, the first, of the Brontë biographies.
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