New Work by Charlotte Brontë — About the Imaginary Land She Conceived with Her Brother — Discovered in Her Mother’s Book


Charlotte Brontë outlived the rest of her siblings by six years, but she still died early enough to leave people marveling at her immense influence given that she perished at the age at which many current authors first start getting recognition — and curious at the question of what else she (not to mention Emily and Anne Brontë) would have produced if she’d had more time. Thus, as we’ve seen with current-day megastars like, say, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, and Jeff Buckley, every found and unpublished scrap seems a piece of a puzzle about an author who everyone still seeks to know more about. And apparently, over 1.5 centuries after her death, there’s still more out there to discover. The New York Times reports on two such newly found items from Charlotte Brontë — a poem and piece of prose that’ll soon come into the hands of the Brontë Society.

They were found in a book of Charlotte’s mother, Maria’s, that’s been in the possession of an American family since 1916 — and the Times notes that it’s uncertain whether the former owners knew it contained unseen and unpublished work by the author all along. The bit of prose was written when the author was 17; the poem’s date hasn’t been determined, but it’s assumed that it came from the same period.

Both pieces are about Angria, which was a paracosm Charlotte and her brother Branwell co-conceived. (Emily and Anne Brontë, meanwhile, co-conceived an imaginary land called Gondal.) Other “Angrian” texts — which “offer an ironic portrait of the intrigues, scandals, and passions of an aristocratic beau monde” — have already been published in the Penguin Classics book, Tales of Angria.

The prose piece sees Angrians interacting with people from real English cities, while the poem centers around a specific Angrian named Mary. The Brontë Society in Haworth will be paying approximately $300,000 to acquire the works.