Did you realize that the Brontë sisters (and their brother, Branwell) wrote fantasy stories about a group of imaginary countries called the Glass Town Federation back when they were kids? Neither did we. Branwell and Charlotte invented the kingdom of Angria, while the younger two, Emily and Anne, created a world called Gondal. The resulting sagas, hand-written in incredibly tiny script, featured a mix of fictional and real-life characters, like the Duke of Wellington.
“The Brontës are well known authors with no apparent association with science fiction but their tiny manuscript books, held at the British Library, are one of the first examples of fan fiction, using favoritism characters and settings in the same way as science fiction and fantasy fans now play in the detailed imaginary ‘universes’ of Star Trek or Harry Potter,” explains Andy Sawyer, guest curator of the British Library’s Out of this World: Science Fiction exhibition. “While the sense of fantasy is strong, there are teasing examples of what might be called the beginnings of science fiction.” Click through to see some of the literary artifacts currently on display.
Gondal Poems by Emily Brontë. Photo credit: British Library Board
The Foundling by Charlotte Brontë. Photo credit: British Library Board
The map by Branwell Brontë of Glass Town, Angria from his and Charlotte’s notebooks. Photo credit: British Library Board
[via I Heart Classics]