This intriguing 'afterlife' explores one of the great legends of literary history, beginning with Charlotte Bronte's first attempts to mould her own and her sisters' public image and following the Brontes through their many reincarnations at the hands of their biographers (as well as playwrights, filmmakers, novelists, choreographers and the designers of souvenir teatowels). Whether in its vividly drawn portrait of the ambiguous friendship between Charlotte and her first biographer, Mrs Gaskell, in its treatment of the bizarre excesses of the Bronte cult, or in its account of how each generation has reworked the story to fit its own preoccupations, this book gives vigorous new life to our understanding of the novelists and their place in our culture. The Bronte Myth is a bold attempt to unravel what Henry James described as 'the most complete intellectual muddle ever achieved on a literary question by our wonderful public'. Witty, erudite, and refreshingly unsentimental, it reveals as much about the impossible art of biography as it does about the Brontes themselves.
Dr Lucasta Miller is the author of The Bronte Myth and a literary journalist whose work has appeared in a wide number of publications, especially the Guardian. She has been a visiting scholar at Wolfson College, Oxford and a visiting fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.