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Author: Helen MacEwanCondition: NewFormat: PaperbackPages: 260Publisher: Peter Owen PublishersYear: 2014ISBN: 9780720615883
A fascinating and thorough account of Charlotte and Emily Brontė's formative stay in Brussels during 1842-43 The Brontės' time in Belgium, five years before they became best-selling authors, is the least-known episode of their lives, but is a fascinating and important one. The book follows in the tracks of the sisters in Brussels, describing their life in the city: though the school where they came to study French has now disappeared, there is still a lot to be seen of the city the sisters knew; two of Charlotte's four novels (Villette and The Professor) are also based on her spell abroad, which was pivotal to her both as a writer and personally, since she fell in love with her teacher Constantin Heger. Charlotte's moving and harrowing letters to Heger—a respectable married man—are reproduced in full here and belie the common image of her as the motherly and strait-laced Brontė. Also including maps of the period, extracts from Villette reflecting real-life experiences in Brussels and translations of the sisters' little-known "Belgian essays," what emerges is a complete portrait of a slice of literary history—as well as a haunting evocation of a time and a place that came to haunt the Brontės themselves.