Happy Birthday to Charlotte Brontë, Born on This Day in 1816

Happy Birthday to Charlotte Brontë, Born on This Day in 1816

Thursday, 21 April, 2022

You can probably rattle off enough facts about Charlotte Brontë to answer questions on Jeopardy! correctly: author of Jane Eyre, eldest of the three literary Brontë sisters, oft found wandering the moors of Yorkshire, perhaps the inspiration for a heroine who is ‘poor, obscure, plain, and little.’

You might even know that her birthday was 21 April 1816.

But did you know that Charlotte was just 4’8” tall? Or that she was so nearsighted, she held books just under her chin to read them? And yet, this quiet, tiny, intelligent woman became a giant of literature, scratching out four novels and more than 200 poems in her precise, angular handwriting — the most beloved of which is Jane Eyre.

Here are some of our favorite posts about this remarkable author to celebrate her and the gifts she gave us.

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Jane Eyre

 a hardcover copy of the novel jane eyre on a gray background
Photo courtesy of Hannah Smith/Unsplash.

Jane Eyre is a character for the ages: an orphan with no prospects — and no one to love her — who defiantly wends her own way through the world with determination, a strong moral compass, and her unerring belief in her inherent value. {more}

 

Walk the Cobbled Streets and Possibly Haunted Hallways of Brussels in Villette

victorian building in brussels belgium
Photo courtesy of Dimitri Iakymuk/Unsplash.

This is a challenging and odd Victorian novel by Charlotte Brontë. But if you invest in it a bit, it will pay you back in spades with atmosphere, vivid descriptions of Brussels, and an ending you’ll never forget. {more}

 

Victorian Seed Cake Inspired by Jane Eyre

 black and white photo of a victorian woman

Our heroine Jane Eyre is much put-upon, but during her first day at Lowood School, the harsh privations of the place are tempered by the kindness of a teacher named Miss Temple and her secret stash of seed-cake. {more}

 

The Search for Jane Eyre and Legendary Strudel in Prague

black and white photo of a statue in prague

On our first trip to Prague, we had a master plan for battling jetlag: Go on the hunt for the city’s best strudel. Along the way, we discovered a cache of vintage books at a dusty used book store. {more}

 

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The mark of a great artist is not only their output but the creativity they inspire in others. First, a poem:

Bulwark: To Jane Eyre — Veronica Ashenhurst

  • My walls, brick and plaster, stand pitiless.
  • So, I covet the far horizon, as did
  • Rochester’s wife, groaning in her windowless
  • Third-story room. But my infirm hips
  • And legs can’t take me anywhere, only
  • Muddling across the still hall, far from
  • That turquoise line of beckoning, where sky
  • And earth embrace. I’m scared the arctic tern
  • Caged in my ribs will break its wings over
  • A view it cannot see, while walls close in.
  • Still, here’s Jane Eyre, hardback. Heroine,
  • I search your thoughts and fire and self-respect.
  • I’ll read until the ceiling floats; we will
  • Mutiny against fate today, and soar.
 

Here are some of our favorite books inspired by Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë, and her sisters Anne and Emily.

Get Caught Up in Brontë-Mania with the Literary Thriller The Madwoman Upstairs

brick building with flower-filled window boxes
Photo courtesy of JJFarq/Shutterstock.

Literary mysteries abound in this smart, suspenseful love letter to literature set at Oxford University. Our heroine Samantha has known too much tragedy for her young age, and her life is about to be upended again. {more}

 

Befriend an Enigmatic Author and Uncover Buried Truths in The Thirteenth Tale

weathered wooden door with lion-head knockers
Photo courtesy of Bruce Hong/Unsplash.

On the upside, if you were to find yourself at Vida Winter’s isolated mansion, you’d get to spend a lot of time in the well-appointed library. On the downside, (deliciously) devastating secrets lurk within its walls. {more}

 

Spurn Convention and Solve a Mystery with the Brontë Sisters in The Vanished Bride

the moors in yorkshire england
Photo courtesy of James Elkington/Shutterstock.

Imagine a world where the Brontë sisters take a break from writing their groundbreaking novels and set out across the moors to solve a murder mystery. Then rejoice because author Bella Ellis has created that world. {more}

 

It’s Gothic Adventure on the Yorkshire Moors with the Brontës in The Diabolical Bones

the moors in yorkshire england
Photo courtesy of Daniel J. Rao/Shutterstock.

In this Gothic mystery novel set on the snowy moors of Yorkshire, the Brontë sisters take a break from writing poetry to poke their overly-curious noses into the dark history surrounding a hidden bundle of bones. {more}

 

Grab a Candelabra and Your Courage to Visit the Haunted Manor House of Mexican Gothic

view of a mexican village from a hilltop
Photo courtesy of FernandoAlcantara/Shutterstock.

Take an unsettling but stylish adventure to an isolated mansion in 1950s Mexico. Yes, the Doyle family is creepy, and the house is quite sinister, but our heroine Noemí is a charming and feisty companion. {more}

 

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Jane Eyre

by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre is a character for the ages: an orphan with no prospects — and no one to love her — who defiantly wends her own way through the world with determination, a strong moral compass, and her unerring belief in her inherent value. But before all of that… poor Jane! For our reading pleasure, she is routinely oppressed, thwarted, belittled, and tortured in Charlotte Brontë’s masterful bildungsroman. This novel has everything that makes reading fiction so enthralling: palpable atmosphere, dastardly secrets, relentlessly evil villains, true love and twisted romance, perilous escapes, dramatic weather, and tender moments of kindness and peace — plus Jane. Always Jane. An unforgettable heroine who, after almost 200 years, is still an exemplary role model for us all. {more}

This treasured classic (578 pages) was published in June of 2006 by Penguin. The book takes you to a manor house in Victorian England. Melissa read Jane Eyre and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.

Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.

Jane Eyre

 

Top image courtesy of Edward Haylan/Shutterstock.

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From classics 'Jane Eyre' and 'Northanger Abbey' to Agatha Christie and Tana French, the creaky halls and haunted histories of manor houses are the ideal backdrop for secrets, ghosts, betrayal, and romance.
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