The Brontë Cabinet

The Brontë Cabinet

Three Lives in Nine Objects

Book - 2015
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WW Norton
An intimate portrait of the lives and writings of theBrontë sisters, drawn from the objects they possessed.
In this unique and lovingly detailed biography of a literary family that has enthralled readers for nearly two centuries, Victorian literature scholar Deborah Lutz illuminates the complex and fascinating lives of the Brontës through the things they wore, stitched, wrote on, and inscribed. By unfolding the histories of the meaningful objects in their family home in Haworth, Lutz immerses readers in a nuanced re-creation of the sisters' daily lives while moving us chronologically forward through the major biographical events: the death of their mother and two sisters, the imaginary kingdoms of their childhood writing, their time as governesses, and their determined efforts to make a mark on the literary world.From the miniature books they made as children to the blackthorn walking sticks they carried on solitary hikes on the moors, each personal possession opens a window onto the sisters' world, their beloved fiction, and the Victorian era. A description of the brass collar worn by Emily’s bull mastiff, Keeper, leads to a series of entertaining anecdotes about the influence of the family’s dogs on their writing and about the relationship of Victorians to their pets in general. The sisters' portable writing desks prove to have played a crucial role in their writing lives: it was Charlotte's snooping in Emily’s desk that led to the sisters' first publication in print, followed later by the publication of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.Charlotte's letters provide insight into her relationships, both innocent and illicit, including her relationship with the older professor to whom she wrote passionately. And the bracelet Charlotte had made of Anne and Emily's intertwined hair bears witness to her profound grief after their deaths.Lutz captivatingly shows the Brontës anew by bringing us deep inside the physical world in which they lived and from which their writings took inspiration.

Baker & Taylor
Various possessions of the Brontèe sisters help illustrate their world, including Charlotte's writing desk, Emily's dog's collar, and Charlotte's bracelet.

Book News
Lutz animates the Brontës’ material possessions, thereby reanimating the Brontës themselves in her loving biography of the family. While worries about the authenticity of many of their belongings plagued museums and scholars from the start, even a reproduction can still spark the imagination--Branwell’s walking stick, Charlotte’s portable desk, a lock of their mother’s hair. No stranger to tragedy--the family lost two girls to tuberculosis, the mother to cancer, Branwell to a broken heart and alcohol--the survivors soldiered on assuaging their grief through their fiction, by all signs a genetic gift. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Various possessions of the Brontë sisters help paint a picture of their world and their daily lives, including Charlotte's writing desk, which contained manuscripts and Emily's dog's collar, and Charlotte's bracelet, which contained the intertwined hairs of her departed sisters.

Publisher: New York :, W. W. Norton & Company,, [2015]
Edition: First edition
Description: xxv, 310 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780393240085
Branch Call Number: 823.09 Bro


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