by Juliet Barker - £16.99 Little, Brown Book Group (Abacus) (2010)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780349122427 | ISBN 10: 0349122423
The story of the tragic Bronte family is familiar to everyone: we all know about the half-mad, repressive father, the drunken, drug-addicted wastrel of a brother, wild romantic Emily, unrequited Anne and 'poor Charlotte'. Or do we? These stereotypes of the popular imagination are precisely that - imaginary - created by amateur biographers from Mrs Gaskell onwards who were primarily novelists, and were attracted by the tale of an apparently doomed family of genius.
Juliet Barker's landmark book was the first definitive history of the Brontes. It demolishes myths, yet provides startling new information that is just as compelling - but true. Based on first-hand research among all the Bronte manuscripts, many so tiny they can only be read by magnifying glass, and among contemporary historical documents never before used by Bronte biographers, this book is both scholarly and compulsively readable. The Brontes is a revolutionary picture of the world's favourite literary family.
(Price & availability last checked: January 2019)