The Lives and Afterlives of Emily Brontë

Jacqueline Banerjee at the TLS:

Emily Brontë was born on July 30, 1818, in the village of Thornton, West Yorkshire, far from the mainstream of literary life. She died of tuberculosis at Haworth Parsonage, not six miles away, at the age of thirty. Her work had startled the critics with the force of its passion, but, over the years, shock was to settle into widespread admi­ration. In 1948, in a note added to the first chapter of The Great Tradition, F. R. Leavis described the author as the genius of her family, and her only novel, Wuthering Heights, as “astonishing”. When he added that it was a “kind of sport”, he was implying not its triviality, but its uniqueness. Forty years later, John Sutherland could introduce it in his Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction as the “twentieth century’s favourite nineteenth-century novel”. Emily’s poetry, which she published with great reluctance, has also continued to rise in the public estimation. The opening line of one of her poems, “No coward soul is mine”, can now be found emblazoned on mugs and key rings. It is even popular as a tattoo.

more here.