The definitive biography of an extraordinary novelist, by acclaimed literary biographer Claire Harman
'There was no possibility of taking a walk that day . . .' With these words Charlotte Brontë began Jane Eyre and changed English literature irrevocably.
Claire Harman's landmark biography provides a bold new view of one of Britain's best loved writers, uncovering an inner life that touched the furthest extremes of human emotion.
Harman shows us an intense and troubled young woman from an astonishingly creative family, whose early works were produced in total secrecy. Struggling against the conventional limitations of both life and literature, Charlotte created a new kind of heroine which both shocked and inspired her Victorian contemporaries. Love, loss, ambition and heartbreak: the anonymous author poured everything into her ground-breaking books, but lived it first.
'Harman [is] a master-storyteller in her own right. Her account of Bronte's life is a level-headed, highly readable and always intelligent. A delight from start to finish' Sunday Times
'Subtle, measured. Full of insight into Bronte's fiery intellect as well as the tragic intensity of her experience' Helen Dunmore, Observer
'Three rounds of applause... a superb retelling of Charlotte's story' Mark Bostridge, Spectator
This is a comprehensive biography to enjoy and admire. Harman writes well and she is a fine and sensitive critic
Finely judged and authoritative
Elegantly written, consistently perceptive...[Harman] succeeds in bringing Charlotte back to life in all her spiky vulnerability
Superb retelling of Charlotte's story (...) admirably concise
Harman... portrays Bronte's complexity and dark genius in elegant prose with deep human sympathy
Harman tells [Charlotte's] story with quick wit, a sharp sympathy, and a fire and fury of her own
Harman's sane, unshowy re-telling is exactly right for the bicentenary next April. It gathers up the best of what has been written before and deals tactfully and decisively with the sillier aspects of the Bronte mythology. The result is a retooled classic biographical narrative, shipshape and serviceable for the next 200 years
Full of pleasing and piquant detail, scraps of passing recollection assembled from the various lives and letters in which the Brontes featured and from which we might reconstruct their world
Elegant, sensitive, beautifully paced and moving. [Claire Harman] has... produced a work that is affirmative, edifying, inspiring and humane
Revelatory (...) adds freshness and texture to her account with original speculations. As someone who once wrote a book about the Brontës' afterlives, few people can have read as many biographies of them as I have. I thought I was Brontë-ed out, but reading this book-which will be equally accessible to someone coming to Charlotte for the first time-has drawn me back in