Juliet says: "Anyone who has ever seen the little books produced by the Brontës will know how difficult it is to read and make sense of the stories they contain: most are no larger than a credit card and all are crammed with tiny writing, sometimes running to thousands of words. Yet these manuscripts are absolutely key to understanding the Brontës because they contain the stories about the imaginary worlds of Glasstown, Angria and Gondal – the ‘apprenticeship in writing’ which would lead to Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I had transcribed all the manuscripts in order to write The Brontës so it was relatively easy for me to put together this volume of the early writings for Penguin: Heather Glen, who edited the second volume, had the more difficult task as she had to transcribe the later writings which are really novelettes in their own right. Together the two books provide an extraordinary insight into the fevered world of the young Brontës’s imagination".
What the cover says: The delightful characters and lively imaginary worlds created by Charlotte Brontë, together with her brother Branwell and her sisters, are an essential key to the understanding of her mature novels.
Charlotte herself referred to these childhood writings – stories, diary papers and poems – written between 1829 and 1835, as a ‘long apprenticeship in writing’. They include the Young Men’s Magazines, inspired by Branwell’s toy soldiers, as well as stories and novelettes featuring the high romance and stylistic flair that are an intrinsic part of Charlotte’s later work. The sheer exuberance of the Juvenilia, as Juliet Barker explores in her illuminating introduction, effectively dispels the myth of the Brontës’ unhappy childhood.
This edition contains a selection of the best of Charlotte’s early creative writing. Transcribed for the first time just as she wrote it on the manuscript page, it vividly conveys how caught up she was in the storytelling. Each text has a brief introduction explaining its context and there is a glossary of persons and places featured.