I started poking around, trying to find out more about the Bronte family. Patrick and Maria Bronte had six children: Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Patrick Branwell (called Branwell), Emily, and Anne. But their lives were plagued by illness and early death. Their mother, Maria, died in 1821, at the age of 38, from cancer. Siblings Maria and Elizabeth died four years later, aged 11 and 10 respectively, of typhoid or tuberculosis, after being pulled out of a poorly run boarding school. Branwell died at age 31 from addiction to alcohol and laudanum (a form of opium). Charlotte, Emily, and Anne succumbed to tuberculosis at ages 38, 30, and 29.
Unfortunately, the Bronte's industrial home town of Haworth in England was polluted and unsanitary, leading to an average death age of only 24 years in the village.
The earliest publication by Charlotte, Emily, and Anne was a book of poetry. They wrote under the aliases Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. The book received little attention. But in 1847, Emily's WUTHERING HEIGHTS, Charlotte's JANE EYRE, and Anne's AGNES GREY were published.
Charlotte, Emily, and Anne incorporated their life experiences into their writings. In JANE EYRE, Charlotte created a harsh boarding school where her character Helen Burns, became ill and died, as Charlotte's older sisters had done. Also, Charlotte had a mad crush on a married teacher at a school she attended. This infatuation was reflected in Jane Eyre's feelings toward Mr. Rochester.
Emily loved to wander the beautiful moors that surrounded Haworth. She used the moors as the setting for her novel WUTHERING HEIGHTS.
Anne's AGNES GREY, was a somewhat autobiographical novel that was influenced by her years as a governess.
Their home in Haworth is one of the most visited literary sites. For more information, visit The Bronte Society website.