By Lyn Pykett (auth.)
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Extra info for Emily Brontë
Charlotte presumably had in mind the kind of women's poetry characterised by Cora Kaplan as being concerned with 'domestic pleasures, the comforts of religion, the beauty of sunsets and the effects - but not the causes - of the discontents that led them to write poetry in the first place'. 4 In contrast, Emily Bronte's poetry has been valued for its originality, intensity, power, sternness, plainness, and its lyric force. For example, T. Wemyss Reid, in 1877, found her verse 'strong, calm, sincere' (CH, 398), while Swinburne admired the 'plain-song note of Emily's clear, stern verse' (CH, 411-12).
Shades of the prison house It is not diffieult to see why a nineteenth-eentury woman so fiereely eoneerned with liberty should see prisons and tombs on every side. However, C. Day Lewis, writing in 1957, saw the matter differently. Why all the fuss? She wanted liberty. Well didn't she have it? A reasonably satisfaetory home-life, a most satisfaetory dream-life - why then all this beating of wings? What was this eage, invisible to us, whieh she feit herself to be eonfined in? (Bronte Society Transaetions, 67, 94) To which one ean only answer that it is perfeetly reasonable for a woman (or anyone) to desire more in life than a reasonably satisfaetory home-life.
There is hatred, remorse, grief - overwhelming night, and eternal misery'. The Blackwood's reviewer of Valperga quoted the above lines as an example of how women ought not to write. Such writing belonged to a certain school which is certainly a very modern as weH as a very mischievous one, and which ought never, of all things, to have numbered ladies among its disciples. (Blackwood's, March 1823) The independent pupil revealed in the French devoirs Emily Bronte wrote for M. Heger was c1early full of such unladylike tendencies, as was the creator of Heathc1iff, Catherine, and the first Hareton Earnshaw.