The Bronte Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects
The story of the Brontes is told through the things they wore, stitched, wrote on and inscribed at the parsonage in Haworth. From Charlotte's writing desk and the manuscripts it contained to the brass collar worn by Emily's dog, Keeper, each object opens a window onto the sisters' world, their fiction and the Victorian era. By unfolding the histories of the things they used, the chapters form a chronological biography of the family. A walking stick evokes Emily's solitary hikes on the moors and the stormy heath-itself a character in Wuthering Heights. Charlotte's bracelet containing Anne and Emily's intertwined hair gives voice to her grief over their deaths. These possessions pull us into their daily lives: the imaginary kingdoms of their childhood writing, their time as governesses and their stubborn efforts to make a mark on the world.
Deborah Lutz's books include Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism and Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture. The Thruston B. Morton Professor of English at the University of Louisville, she lives in Louisville, Kentucky, and Brooklyn, New York.