Happy Birthday, Emily Bronte!

Today is the 195th birthday of one of my favorite authors - the reclusive, moody, brilliant Emily Brontë. When I first discovered her as a high school sophomore, I found a kindred spirit. In fact, I started to doubt wether or not reincarnation couldn't be possible. Our personalities - our fierce privacy, our distaste for society, our love of animals and nature, and our contradictory vivaciousness - were so similar, that for the first time in my life I seriously thought she and I could have been one in the same. Now, that is probably untrue. Just some whimsy from a imaginative teen. But regardless, I continue to be a big fan, especially because we are regardless cut from the same cloth.

Here are some neat facts about Emily:

  • Emily almost never left her house. In fact, even though her father was the parish vicar, she wouldn't even leave the house on Sundays.
  • When her sisters Charlotte and Anne decided to publish their works (under the masculine pen names Currier, Ellis, and Acton Bell) Emily was the one who initially fought it. She did not want the world to see her private writings, even though of all of her siblings she might be the most talented. So we should be grateful for Charlotte and Anne.
  • Emily rescued animals. Besides her sisters, father, and brother, her pets were her closest friends. She had one pet dog in particular named Keeper. He was a mutt, but was fiercely loyal to Emily and loved her more than anything. It was said that Keeper once got into a fight with a pack of local dogs, as Keeper was wont to do. Emily would appear on the scene and would physically beat back the dogs to separate them. Once, when Keeper got into a scrap with a dog that had rabies she and was bitten, she calmly returned to her house, got a hot poker from the hearth, and castrated herself. Talk about a fierce Victorian bitch! Eventually, her aunt sent all of her pets away without telling Emily. Something she couldn't easily forgive.
  • Though Emily is famous for her only novel Wuthering Heights, she was an exceptional poet. Emily died at the age of 30. But Charlotte based her character Shirley, in the novel of the same name, on her younger sister. So if you're interested in getting a 3rd hand glimpse of what her character was like, add that to your reading list.

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