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Tag: Bronte sisters (1-3 of 3)

Charlotte Bronte's 1824 school report card: 'Knows nothing of grammar'

Here’s some hopeful news if you were ever told by your teachers that you’d never amount to anything: In grade school, Charlotte Brontë’s teachers at the Clergy Daughters School said she “[wrote] indifferently” and “[knew] nothing of grammar, geography, history, or accomplishments.” Slate dug up the reports, which were reprinted in the January 1900 issue of The Journal of Education: A Monthly Record and Review.

Patrick Brontë sent his four oldest daughters to the school after his wife died. Three of them—Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth—didn’t exactly get positive feedback there. Emily Brontë got the most praise (which is still faint): “Reads very prettily,” her report read. According to the report, Maria Brontë (who died of an illness shortly after leaving the school) “made some progress in reading French, but knows nothing of the language grammatically.” Elizabeth Brontë, who also died young of an illness, “Knows nothing of grammar, geography, history, or accomplishments.”

Of course, Charlotte and Emily Brontë became feminist icons and two of England’s most renowned novelists, and Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights are in the canon of British literature. Poor Anne Brontë, whose work is often overlooked in favor of her sisters’, didn’t even go to the same school.

Bronte sisters' two-inch books to display at Harvard library

Thanks to poet Amy Lowell, the Harvard Library has come across some very tiny, very valuable literary treasures from the Bronte family.

In the 1800s, Charlotte Bronte and her sisters lost their mother and their two eldest siblings. At the young ages of 9 and 10, Charlotte and her brother Branwell then started writing plays about the adventures of their toy soldiers set in a fictional world. Soon afterwards, Charlotte’s two youngest sisters, Emily and Anne, followed with stories of their own. The siblings called themselves “scribblemaniacs,” a name that followed them into early adulthood.

Most of the Bronte family’s childhood stories ended up in hand-sewn books that stood just two inches tall. And after a donation from Lowell, Harvard Magazine is reporting that Harvard’s Houghton Library has worked hard to preserve and protect the miniature pieces. The library is set to display nine of the approximately 20 books, one of which is the beginning of a novelette called “An interesting passage in the lives of some eminent personages of the present age,” written by Charlotte under the name “Lord Charles Wellesley.” Get a glimpse of the books themselves—so teeny!—at Harvard Mag.

The Brontë Sisters, now with Kung-Fu Grip!

“Book on, Brontës!” If you’re a fan of action figures, Victorian literature, or both, you should check out this kickass fake commercial for the Brontë Sisters Power Dolls, as the first siblings of literature fight their way past patriarchic literary norms with book-flinging action, just like they did in real life. These twisted sisters take a cannon to the Western canon!

Are there any other authors you think would make for good action figures? G.I. Poe, perhaps? Barbie and Ken Follett? He-Man Melville?

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