The Bronte Myth examines the treatment of the sisters in other biographies, critical works and works of fiction in order to see what their public image has been over the years and to compare that image to the facts that are awailable. Lucasta Miller concludes that much of what has appeared in print is colored by the writers own preconceptions. The first biography of Charlotte for example was by Mrs. Elizabeth Gaskell. She felt that Charlotte needed to fit into the typical model of the 19th century woman, and so she created a portrait of a homebody and paid little attention to Charlotte's work. Twentieth Century feminists, on the other hand, tended to see Charlotte as a victim of the male dominated culture. Emily, as a result of Charlotte's own biographical notice was seen as a shy person who avoided contact with the wider society. Later it was even thought that she hadn't written her great novel, but that it was the work of her brother. Miller maintains that these as well as other images of the novelists were more myth than reality.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein