Emily Jane Brontë

Emily Jane Brontë


A painting of Emily by her brother Branwell.

30 July 1818 – 19 December 1848

Born in Thornton, West Yorskhire. She was the younger sister of Charlotte Brontë and the fifth of six children. During their childhood, after the death of their mother, the three sisters and their brother Patrick Branwell Brontë created imaginary lands, which featured in stories they wrote. Little of Emily’s work from this period of her life have survived, except for a small number of poems. It was the discovery of Emily’s talent for poetry by her sister Charlotte that led her and her sisters to publish a collection of their poetry in the year 1846, called Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. To avoid prejudice against female writers, the Brontë sisters adopted different first names. All three retained the first letter of their first names: Charlotte became Currer Bell, Anne became Acton Bell and Emily became Ellis Bell.

It is said that Emily had quite an unusual character. She was not at all sociable and had a quiet nature. She prefered the company of animals that of people, which resulted in her travelling very little. A well-known story about her She had a very strong will. She was bitten by a rabid dog which resulted in her walking calmly into the kitchen and cauterizing the wound herself with a hot iron. Emily would rarely attend church as she had unconventional religious beliefs. She published under the androgynous pen name, Ellis Bell.

Emily was said to be graceful, the tallest of the Brontë children (her coffin measured five feet seven inches) yet she ate sparingly and would starve himself when unhappy or unable to get her own way. As her literary works suggest, she was highly intelligent, teaching herself German while working in the kitchen (her favourite place outside of the moors) and playing the piano well enough to teach it in Brussels. Her stubbornness lasted to the end where she refused to see a doctor or rest while she was dying of tuberculosis. Emily passed away at the age of 30.

Ellen Nussey, a long time friend of the family said this about Emily:

“Emily Brontë had by this time acquired a lithesome, graceful figure. She was the tallest person in the house, except her father. Her hair, which was naturally as beautiful as Charlotte’s, was in the same unbecoming tight curl and frizz, and there was the same want of complexion. She had very beautiful eyes – kind, kindling, liquid eyes; but she did not often look at you; she was too reserved. Their colour might be said to be dark grey, at other times dark blue, they varied so. She talked very little. She and Anne were like twins – inseparable companions, and in the very closest sympathy, which never had any interruption”.

Charlotte is quoted as saying this about Emily- “Stronger than a man, simpler than a child, her nature stood alone”.

Her only novel Wuthering Heights has become one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written and it stands testiment to her talent.


A short American documentary on Emily.


Emily I

Emily II

Poems I

Poems II

Emily wrote a large number of poems many which have still never been published others were destroyed. When Charlotte stumbled upon Emilys poetry she instantly felt that she had a gift and went on to help publish a book of the poetry along with herself and Anne. The three sisters had to have different names due to the bigotry of the time. The poems were released in a book the authors being, Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. The first initial of each of the sisters names was replaced by a mans name with the same intial.

A reading of one of Emilys greatest poems named “Remembrance”


Book: The World of the Brontës: Jane O Niell.






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