Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

April 27, 2006


Filed under: Books,Branwell Bronte,Paraliterature,Reviews — by bronteana @ 9:58 pm

Another Review of Branwell

We're heard from the publisher, professional critics, and myself. Now, here is a review from another blogger, and 'Jane Eyre girl.'

There are two types of girls in the Western world: Jane Eyre girls and Elizabeth Bennett girls. Although most love both of the 19th-century's most famous fictional heroines, the majority will confess, if pressed, that deep down their loyalties lie with either one or the other.Although I, too, fell in love with Colin Firth's portrayal of Mr. Darcy and will accept no substitutes, when it comes right down to it, I'm a Jane Eyre girl all the way.


When I was given the opportunity to read Douglas A. Martin's Branwell, the fictionalized biography of Charlotte Brontë's underachieving brother, I tore into it, hoping desperately for glimpses of his genius older sister and revelling in each mention of her work on Jane Eyre.My tendency to crane my neck past Branwell in order to long after Charlotte was, according to the novel, exactly what was wrong with Branwell to begin with.


Those looking for the keen determination and righteous anger of Charlotte won't find it in Branwell. The bare bones of Branwell's life, gleaned from scraps of writing and newspaper articles aren't brought into focus. Instead, the entire novel adopts the regressive tone of Brontë himself, a man so personally regressive he painted himself out of the family portrait. The permeating voice is listless and dispassionate, as if Branwell himself is telling the story from the bottom of a fingerful of laudanaum. There is no dialogue between characters, and even the questions are all phrased as statements, as if the narrator did not care if he was heard or not.


  1. I’ve seen these action figures!…well, not the Bronte set, but you can buy Charles Dickens and Leonardo da Vinci in the bookstore at my college. I have to admit, I was tempted to purchase them. I had a fleeting vision of a shelf in my room devoted to action figures of the world’s most brilliant minds. It would be like old times when my brothers and I played with Ninja Turtles and GI Joes…only this time we would look more sophisticated! 😉

    Comment by griffin_c84 — April 28, 2006 @ 12:50 am |Reply

  2. Shoot! I meant for the above to go with the Bronte-saurus article. Oh well. I hope this is my last clumsy moment for the day. I’ve definitely filled my quota!

    Comment by griffin_c84 — April 28, 2006 @ 12:55 am |Reply

  3. Aw, I thought you meant the Bronte ones 😉 I am not really sure if I would want to see them- they might be too scary! On the thread, I was just discussing action figures for the characters. That doesn’t horrify me so much!

    Comment by Brontëana — April 28, 2006 @ 1:13 am |Reply

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