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  • Published: 29 October 2015
  • ISBN: 9780241963685
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 464

Charlotte Brontë

A Life

The definitive biography of a beloved British novelist published on her 200th anniversary

Raised motherless on remote Yorkshire moors, watching five beloved siblings sicken and die, haunted by unrequited love: Charlotte Brontë's life has all the drama and tragedy of the great Gothic novels it inspired.

Charlotte was a literary visionary, a feminist trailblazer and the driving force behind the whole Brontë family. She pushed Emily to publish Wuthering Heights and took charge of their precarious finances when her feckless brother turned to opium. In Jane Eyre she introduced the world to a brand new kind of heroine, modelled on herself: quiet but fiercely intelligent, burning with passion and potential.

This is the definitive biography of one of Britain's best loved writers.

  • Published: 29 October 2015
  • ISBN: 9780241963685
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 464

About the author

Claire Harman

Claire Harman is the award-winning biographer of Sylvia Townsend Warner, Fanny Burney, Robert Louis Stevenson and Charlotte Bronte, as well as the bestselling Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World and the Victorian crime investigation Murder by the Book. She is also a prizewinning poet and short story writer. She lives in Oxford.

Also by Claire Harman

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Praise for Charlotte Brontë

This is a comprehensive biography to enjoy and admire. Harman writes well and she is a fine and sensitive critic

The Times

Finely judged and authoritative

Sunday Times Book of the Week

Elegantly written, consistently perceptive...[Harman] succeeds in bringing Charlotte back to life in all her spiky vulnerability

Daily Mail Book of the Week

Superb retelling of Charlotte's story (...) admirably concise

The Spectator

Harman... portrays Bronte's complexity and dark genius in elegant prose with deep human sympathy

The Lady

Harman tells [Charlotte's] story with quick wit, a sharp sympathy, and a fire and fury of her own

Evening Standard

Harman's sane, unshowy re-telling is exactly right for the bicentenary next April. It gathers up the best of what has been written before and deals tactfully and decisively with the sillier aspects of the Bronte mythology. The result is a retooled classic biographical narrative, shipshape and serviceable for the next 200 years

The Guardian

Full of pleasing and piquant detail, scraps of passing recollection assembled from the various lives and letters in which the Brontes featured and from which we might reconstruct their world

Financial Times

Elegant, sensitive, beautifully paced and moving. [Claire Harman] has... produced a work that is affirmative, edifying, inspiring and humane

Sunday Express

Revelatory (...) adds freshness and texture to her account with original speculations. As someone who once wrote a book about the Brontës' afterlives, few people can have read as many biographies of them as I have. I thought I was Brontë-ed out, but reading this book-which will be equally accessible to someone coming to Charlotte for the first time-has drawn me back in

Lucasta Miller, The Independent

Three rounds of applause...for Claire Harman's superb retelling of Charlotte's story

Mark Bostridge, The Spectator

[An] excellent new bicentennial biography....Ms. Harman writes with warmth and a fine understanding of Ms. Brontë's literary significance. Above all, she is a storyteller, with a sense of pace and timing, relish for a good scene and a wry sense of humour


A vigorous new biography (...) Harman does a splendid job

Mail on Sunday

An immensely readable biography

Woman and Home

A substantial biography (...) that lets the disparate pieces speak for themselves

Daily Telegraph

Harman renders her daring novels fresh, interweaving what shocked critics then with what surprises us still

Sunday Telegraph

Prepare to suffer similar time-loss at the hands of Harman, Brontë's most recent biographer and a master storyteller in her own right. Level-headed, highly readable and always intelligent, Harman's account of Brontë's life and work is a delight from start to finish

Sunday Times

A subtle, measured biography, full of insight into Bronte's fiery intellect as well as the tragic intensity of her experience

Helen Dunmore, Observer

Harman brings a fresh eye to many of the same papers studied by Gaskell to compile her Charlotte Brontë: A Life. The Gothic atmosphere and heart-breaking details remain, but Harman achieves a great feat by making the story seem new again

Marcus Field, Independent