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Passions in PoetryCharlotte Bronte
1816 - 1855

Charlotte was the third child of Patrick Bronte, curate of Haworth in Yorkshire. Her mother died when Charlotte was very young, leaving six children to be brought up by their aunt, who moved in with them. Charlotte and three of her sisters were sent away to a Clergy Daughters' School, where conditions were so bad that two of her sisters died and Charlotte's own health never recovered. The remaining children were educated at home, reading widely and creating imaginary worlds about which they wrote.

Charlotte spent another short period at a different school, to which she returned to teach before becoming a governess to support the family and her brother Branwell's artistic career. In 1842 she and Emily went away to Brussels and Charlotte stayed on for a year on her own. She fell in love with a married teacher, M Heger, but he discouraged her letters to him. She eventually married her father's Irish curate, Arthur Bell Nichols, in 1854.

Charlotte wrote under the pseudonym Currer Bell and the success of Jane Eyre prompted great interest in her identity and in those of her sisters Emily and Anne, who wrote under the names of Ellis and Acton Bell. Her novels are recognisably autobiographical, telling the tales of strong and honourable women who become teachers or governesses.

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