UK: Abacus, 4 November 2010: ISBN: 0-978-0-349-12242-7
US: Published as The Brontës: Wild Genius on the Moors: The Story of a Literary Family by Pegasus: ISBN 978-1-60598-365-3
Juliet says: "“For many, many years I’ve been trying to persuade my publishers to allow me to revise and update The Brontës. I got nowhere with my original publishers, Orion, but at long last I’ve been able to get the reversion of the rights and I’m delighted that Little, Brown are now publishing the new edition – the second – just sixteen years after the first!
Though it’s been frustrating for me to have been unable to correct the errors, the one good thing about the delay is that it means that I have been able to incorporate new material which simply wasn’t available when I wrote the book. (How I wish I’d had Margaret Smith’s immaculate edition of Charlotte’s letters and Victor Neufeldt’s wonderful edition of Branwell’s juvenilia when I was struggling to locate, date and transcribe the manuscripts!)
So what’s new? Well, surprisingly, nothing that radically alters any of my initial interpretations but some fascinating new insights: Charlotte exhibiting two of her drawings at the Northern Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts exhibition in Leeds in 1834; proof that Branwell never attempted to get into the Royal Academy, putting paid to the myth of his supposedly being forced to return home in disgrace; an account of staying at the Parsonage with Charlotte and her father in 1853 by Charles Longley, then bishop of Ripon, but a future archbishop of Canterbury; Charlotte’s touching description of being compelled by her friends to wear white for her wedding – but insisting on the cheapest fabrics for her dress and veil. And much more – but you’ll have to buy the book to find out!”
What the cover says: We all think we know the story of the tragic Brontë family: the drunken, drug-addicted wastrel of a brother; wild romantic Emily; unrequited Anne; and ‘poor’ Charlotte.
Juliet Barker’s landmark book demolishes these myths, yet provides startling new information that is just as compelling – but true. Based on first-hand research among all the Brontë manuscripts, this book is both scholarly and compulsively readable. The Brontës is a revolutionary picture of the world’s favourite literary family.
Links: Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth & Brontë Society: www.bronte.org.uk