Emily Jane Brontë is known best for writing her only novel Wuthering Heights, although she wrote poems frequently with her sisters, she pushed extensively for her book to be recognized by the public eye. She was the sister of Charlotte and Anne Brontë, who were famous authors as well.
Emily Brontë was welcomed into the world on July 30, 1818 in Thornton, Yorkshire, England. She lived quite a quiet life there alongside her parents, Reverend Patrick Brontë and his wife, Maria Branwell Brontë, brother Branwell Brontë; and two sisters, Charlotte and Anne. The family moved to Haworth in April 1821. Only a few months later, Brontë’s mother passed of cancer; her death came nearly nine months after the birth of her sister, Anne. Her mother’s sister, Elizabeth Branwell, came to live with the family to help care for the children. At the age of 6, Emily was sent to the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge with Charlotte and two of her older sisters, Elizabeth and Maria.
Both Elizabeth and Maria fell seriously ill at school and returned home, where they died of tuberculosis in 1825. Brontë’s father removed both Emily and Charlotte from the school as well, scared to lose his other two daughters. At home in Haworth, Emily enjoyed her quiet life.
She found joy by reading extensively and soon began to make up stories with her siblings. The surviving Brontë sisters, including her brother Branwell, had strong imaginations. They created tales inspired by toy soldiers given to Branwell by their father.
In 1835, shy Emily tried leaving home for school. She went with Charlotte to Miss Wooler’s school where Charlotte worked as a teacher. She only stayed a few months before heading back home to Haworth. After coming back home to a poor family, Brontë tried to find work in order to help provide. She became a teacher at the Law Hill School in September 1837, but ended up leaving her position the following March.
Brontë and her sister Charlotte traveled to Brussels in 1842 to study, but their Aunt Elizabeth passed and forced them to return home. Some of Emily’s earliest known works involve a fictional world called Gondal, which she created with her sister Anne. She wrote both prose and poems about this imaginary place and its inhabitants.
Emily also wrote other poems as well. Her sister Charlotte discovered some of Emily’s poems and sought to publish them along with her own work and some by Anne. The three sisters used male pen names for their collection, such as Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. As “Ellis Bell,” Emily wrote Wuthering Heights (1847), her only published novel which garnered wide critical and commercial acclaim. Her first publishment in 1846, Emily’s book only sold a few copies and garnered little attention. She decided to try and republish her work, this time under the name Ellis Bell.
Brontë published her defining work, Wuthering Heights, in December 1847. At first, reviewers did not know what to make of Wuthering Heights. After her more successful publishment, the sisters spent ample time together and found enjoyment in writing simple poetry, which they continued to published under their artificial names. It was only after Emily Brontë’s death that the book developed its reputation as a literary masterwork.
After living an exciting 30 years, Emily Brontë passed of tuberculosis on December 19, 1848, in Haworth, Yorkshire, England, nearly two months after her brother, Branwell, succumbed to the same disease, followed by her sister Anne, who died of tuberculosis the following May.