Celebrating Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë, author of classic novel Wuthering Heights was born on this day in 1818.

Emily Bronte

Portrait of Emily Brontë by her brother, Branwell. Public Domain image.

Emily was the third eldest of the four surviving Brontë siblings. Sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne were all writers. Their first volume of poems was published under the pseudonyms Currer Bell, Ellis Bell and Acton Bell. Their true identities remained a secret until after novels Jane Eyre by Charlotte, Agnes Grey by Anne and Wuthering Heights by Emily had been published, by which time speculation and rumour were rife.

Signatures of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell

Signatures of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Public Domain image.

Did you know? Sales of Wuthering Heights quadrupled in 2009 because of a reference made to it by lead character Bella in the hugely popular teen vampire series, Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer.

On Europeana, you can find Emily Jane Brontë’s entry in the local baptismal register. The register shows that she was baptised on August 20th 1818, daughter of the Reverend Patrick Brontë , Minister of Thornton, and Maria Brontë. Emily died of tuberculosis, on 19 December 1848 aged just 30. She was interred in the Church of St. Michael and All Angels family vault, Haworth, West Yorkshire.

Emily Bronte's baptismal record in Europeana

Emily Bronte, Baptismal Register, courtesy of Kirklees Image Archive.

Also on Europeana are: images of the Brontë’s home, Haworth Parsonage, which now houses the Brontë Museum; an atmospheric watercolour of Pondenkirk, thought to be the inspiration for Emily’s Penistone Crags; and texts relating to Wuthering Heights, including a French translation of the novel.

French translation of Wuthering Heights on Europeana

Un Amant, French translation of Wuthering Heights. Public domain text courtesy of the French National Library.

Top Withens, Haworth

A view of Top Withens, on Haworth Moor. Thought to be the model for Wuthering Heights. Image by Mark Anderson, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

Wuthering Heights is known as much for its descriptions of the wild, romantic and untamed scenery of the Yorkshire Moors as it is for its love story. To transport yourself to this symbolic and inspiring landscape, take a look at some images of Haworth, whilst listening to Dannilu’s Wuthering Heights track from Europeana, and have someone read out the following excerpts from Emily’s novel to you:

From Chapter 10 :

They sat together in a window whose lattice lay back against the wall, and displayed, beyond the garden trees, and the wild green park, the valley of Gimmerton, with a long line of mist winding nearly to its top (for very soon after you pass the chapel, as you may have noticed, the sough that runs from the marshes joins a beck which follows the bend of the glen). Wuthering Heights rose above this silvery vapour; but our old house was invisible; it rather dips down on the other side.

From Chapter 18:

The abrupt descent of Penistone Crags particularly attracted her notice; especially when the setting sun shone on it and the topmost heights, and the whole extent of landscape besides lay in shadow. I explained that they were bare masses of stone, with hardly enough earth in their clefts to nourish a stunted tree.

From Chapter 34:

I lingered round them [the gravestones], under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.


Now, if that’s got you in the mood for some more Brontë talk – maybe you’d like to share your favourite passage from one of their novels, or perhaps you’ve visited the Brontë Museum and have a story to share – then leave us a comment below!

3 thoughts on “Celebrating Emily Brontë

  1. Dear Beth, thanks very much for this post – which made me take a more intense look at this very interesting poet. And maybe I’ll make it to the Brontë Museum some day.

  2. Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m planning to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a
    difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and
    Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had
    to ask!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.