Charlotte Brontë on literary motivation and a governess's plight, at Bonhams

Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
12 Jun 2012
London, Knightsbridge

A three page letter from Charlotte Brontë shining light on her motivation as a novelist is to be auctioned at Bonhams Book, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs in London on 12 June. It is estimated at £10,000-15,000.

Writing to a Miss Holmes, who had sent her an – unidentified - book to read, Charlotte said, "I own I prefer the study of the human being – to that of the human being's requirements." She also comments on the life of a governess – her own former occupation and that of the heroine of her best known novel Jane Eyre – "I must feel a degree of interest in the details of a Governess-life. That life has on me the hold of actual experience; to all who live it – I cannot but incline with a certain sympathy; and any kind feeling they express for me – comes pleasantly and meets with grateful acceptance".

The recipient of the letter, Miss Holmes, lived for a while with the family of William Makepiece Thackery and greatly irritated the author of Vanity Fair with her constant attempts to covert him to Roman Catholicism.

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