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The Belgian Essays: A Critical Edition

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The Belgian Essays: A Critical Edition

by Charlotte Bronte, Ms. Sue Lonoff (Editor), Emily Bronte

About this title: Venturing out of Yorkshire for the first time in their lives, the Bronte sisters Charlotte and Emily traveled to Brussels in 1842, and Charlotte returned for another visit in 1843. The journeys proved to be pivotal in both their writing careers. Under the tutelage of their brilliant teacher Constantin Heger, the young authors penned the twenty-eight essays (devoirs) collected for the first time in this volume. Each essay, presented in its original French, is accompanied by an English translation and commentary to establish historical and literary context. Where M. Heger made comments, they are reproduced in full. Nine of the essays have never been published before. Sue Lonoff offers a mine of information on the Brontes and their Brussels experience, exploring why the months in Belgium meant so much to the sisters and how their writing exercises affected their developing prose styles. In an introduction and extensive annotations, Lonoff investigates the Brontes' interests, imaginations, stylistic concerns, and methods of work at this key point in their writing careers. So important was the Brussels experience for Charlotte, Lonoff contends, that she might never have become a major novelist had she missed it. Lonoff's commentary also illuminates the strong reactions each of the sisters had to their mentor and the impact on their lives of their relations with him. For scholars of the Victorian period, women's studies, and English literature, and for general readers interested in the Brontes and women's education of the time, this book is compelling reading.

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