Posted by Lesley on July 31, 1998 at 01:24:21:
I posted this over on the library board but didn't get any responses so I thought we might discuss this over here.
I just finished the book, Family Secrets: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You by John Bradshaw.
He has interesting quote about the Brontes:
"...McGoldrick and Gerson present another incredible example of the impact of a dark secret related to an ungrieved death: the family of Charlotte and Emily Bronte, the sisters who wrote who wrote respectively the novels Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. There were six Bronte children, all born ina seven year period. The mother died after the birth of the youngest.
After the mother died, the house was frozen for the next thirty years- nothing was changed or painted. The children were raised in almost total isolation, not
being allowed to socialize or play with other children. Whenever any of the Bronte children tried to leave home, they suffered a variety of symptoms and returned before long. All died before the age of forty. The two youngest
daughters developed fatal illnesses the first time they left home and died within a short time of each other. Branwell, Emily and Anne died within nine months of each other, suggesting that they were so fused that it was impossible for them to live without each other. Only Charlotte was able to leave home for brief periods of time. She married at age thirty-eight but died nine months later- just after her childhood nurse died. She was the same age as her mother when she died. The strange secret in this family seems to have been the father's refusal to accept his wife's death. The children were never allowed to develop enough of a sense of separate selfhood to go out on their own."
Jane and Cassandra were very devoted, I know from reading several bios, but not like this! However, I would love to discuss what kind of secrets may have been in JA's family and people connected to her family. Valerie Grosvenor Meyer and Claire tomalin have recently published bios of JA with a definate psychological bent. I don't have a psychological background but I'm interested.
What effects did family secrets have had on JA and her family?
Things like: her epileptic and possibly retarded uncle and brother, Aunt Leigh-Perrot's kleptomania, her father's upbringing at the hand of an unloving uncle, her aunt Philadelphia practically selling herself into marriage with a man she didn't love and her daughter's possibly being fathered by Warren Hastings. And what about her father's pupil who became the Duke of Portsmouth- what a strange situation!
- Open secrets Caroline 16:14:06 8/01/98 (1)
- I agree with Cassandra Golda 14:28:02 8/03/98 (0)
- Family Secrets Earlene 03:28:44 8/01/98 (2)
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