Emily Brontë was born in the village of Thornton in Yorkshire, England on July 30th, 1818. Her parents, Maria Branwell and Patrick Brontë had six children, of which she was the fifth. Only two years after she was born, and in the same year that her younger sister Anne was born, the family moved to Haworth. Her father found employment as a perpetual curate in the United Church of England and Ireland. In 1821, her mother passed away from cancer when Emily was only three years old.
The family was soon separated further when the three older sisters, Maria, Elizabeth and Charlotte, (the eventual writer of Jane Eyre), were sent to the Clergy Daughter’s School. Charlotte cited this institution, and the abuse that she and her siblings were exposed to on its grounds, as the inspiration for her novel. In the later months of 1824, after Emily had joined her sisters at the school, an epidemic of typhoid swept through the students. Brontë’s two oldest sisters, Elizabeth and Maria died soon after.
After her removal from the Clergy Daughter’s School, Emily and her remaining siblings spent most of their time at home at Haworth. Here she explored her passion for writing. She and her siblings were all quite literary and spent their free time creating stories based entirely in fiction. She was eventually sent to attend Roe Head Girl’s School, but her stay there was brief. Brontë longed to return home, and Anne took her place in the school.
In 1846, the three sisters, Anne, Charlotte and Emily published a book of poems titled, Poems of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, written under their sibling pen names. Charlotte would go on to write Jane Eyre, and Anne, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey.
The work for which Emily is best known is Wuthering Heights.While Wuthering Heights did not receive any kind of critical praise when it was published, it is now considered on of the greatest novels of all time. Additionally, Emily’s contributions to the volume, Poems of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, is seen to be the most substantial. Her poetic works have garnered more praise than those of her sisters.
Later Life and Death
Emily died in 1848 of tuberculosis, soon after the publication of Wuthering Heights, and her sister, Anne, would pass away of the same disease only one year later. Last was Charlotte, who died six years later of pneumonia.