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A Chainless Soul: A Life of Emily Brontë
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A Chainless Soul: A Life of Emily Brontë

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  149 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
The most gifted of her famous, troubled family, Emily Bronte has too often been portrayed in "storm-tossed, sentimental" biographies, according to Katherine Frank. Now Frank presents a startling new interpretation: pledged to self-denial and social isolation, Emily starved herself, contributing to her wild imagination. 16-page insert.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 28th 1992 by Ballantine Books
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I always feel a certain amount of voyeuristic guilt in reading biographies, particularly those of private people. Any woman whose last words were "If you will send for a doctor, I will see him now." clearly knew what she wanted out of life, and what Emily Bronte wanted was to be left alone.

In the Biographical Notice of Ellis And Acton Bell, Charlotte comments "My sister Emily was not a person of demonstrative character, nor one, on whose mind and feelings, even those nearest and dearest to her
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: emily-bronte
Excellent book! I can't believe that all that information could fit in 272 pages. I'm a big fan of Emily so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Katherine Frank presents her new insight into Emily-- a victim of anorexia nervosa and social isolation which, Frank believed, helped her write stories with a wild imagination. I don't know if I totally agree with that. I think that losing her brother was devastating to Emily, which would cause her to lose interest in her diet. I also believe that her Ch ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Another user's review had me concerned that the book would have a preoccupation with food issues and eating disorders, (which in terms of their relevance to the Bronte's I was skeptical of.) But I was pleasantly surprised this was not the case. This is a solid all-around biography. I really only had one criticism, and that is more that a personal interest was not satisfied. I was hoping that since she spent so much of the book discussing the Brussels episode that the author would delv ...more
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Having found myself on a "Bronte-kick", I turned to Katherine Frank's telling of Emily Bronte's life. Not nearly as academic as Edward Chitham's attempt, this book was much easier and more rounded. Mr. Chitham's account seemed painstakingly intent on pouring over every inch of Emily's poems, looking for clues but never really confident to fully exclaim a belief over the potential facets of her life.
Here, thanks to Ms. Franks, Emily is more accessible. Interestingly enough, the author does not sh
Nov 24, 2009 marked it as unavailable
I'm dubious, yet obsessed.
A lot of it just felt like fiction to me.
Katie Flaxbeard
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Emily Bronte is my favorite author, and I am fond of all the Brontes. A Chainless Soul was my secret passage into the Bronte's, centering on the especially elusive Emily. I loved every word, every second and have savored this book many times over. It is a classic and remains my favorite reference to the Bronte's of all time. Thank you Katherine Frank for your beautiful writing and for making me feel like I was there! I feel so intimately acquainted with all the Brontes from your lovely story
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brilliant! A must read for any Brontë fan. I was shocked by Emily’s extraordinary life and encourage anyone who has read ‘Wuthering Heights’ or her poetry to discover the author’s fascinating past. Frank produces an account that is easy to read and manages to fit an impressive amount of information into only 272 pages!
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, box-o-books
This book was captivating! I had a hard time putting it down. In addition to Emily's life, it also discusses her family at length. I highly recommend this to any Bronte fan.
Lukrezia Cosimo
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, england
This biography makes the Bronte family come alive and the events seem recent. It depressed me to see how restricted their existence was and how different it would be now, but enthralled me to observe how they compensated for these restrictions by using imagination from the Gondal and Angria books and poems to the works they are remembered for today.
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Awesome... Simply superb...
Loved the book so much, Emily Bronte lived a good life, though it may not seem that way to many...
i wish that one day, i will write as well as Emily Bronte...

Loved it..... writing style was good as well...
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, in depth biography of the entire Brontë family. At first I didn't like how selfish and spiteful the author made Emily out to be, but all in all the book was wonderful.
Jola Cora
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
So inspiring, yet again...
Lady Dixie
Frank makes a plausible yet impossible to prove claim that Emily Bronte's imagination was fueld by anorexia. Interesting reading.
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies, poetry
This non-fiction biography reads like a novel. Absolutely fascinating! Great read!
Jul 23, 2011 added it
Jun 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
As anyone who has read Wuthering Heights probably has guessed, Emily Bronte was an unusual woman, with a rather tortured inner life. This bio explains her strange life.
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
Insightful, but I haven't read any other biography on the Bronte's to judge it properly. Frank's writing gets a little tedious in places and vague in others.
Kate Krz
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very well written. Convincingly authentic, well researched - brought Emily and her family back to life for me!
Nov 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Intriguing. Not sure I buy all the interpertations of personality
or events.
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