London, March 14 (Reuters): Charlotte Bronte, author of 19th century romance Jane Eyre, has just published a new book.
Stancliffe’s Hotel, a 34-page novella written by Bronte in 1838 and until now read only by a handful of scholars, was printed in full in the London Times newspaper today.
Scholars said there are more, largely unseen works still to be published from the eldest of the Bronte sisters, Britain’s most celebrated literary family.
“Stancliffe’s Hotel is very sardonic, very racy, very witty, not at all like Jane Eyre — it’s not a passionate story about love-lorn heroines,” Heather Glen, editor of the new edition of the novella, told BBC radio today. The original manuscript of Stancliffe’s Hotel, kept in the Bronte museum in northern England, is a series of vignettes that mock romantic sentiment and masculine vanity.
The stories are set in Angria, a mythical world created by the Bronte sisters when they were children, and the book is known as an “Angrian novelette”. “A mystique has built up around these writings that you can only understand them if you know all the convolutions of the childhood sagas,” said Glen, explaining why the novella — and several others — have never been published.
“But it isn’t true of these later Angrian manuscripts that they cannot be understood and enjoyed. I think they will change the way in which (Charlotte Bronte) is seen,” she said.
The novella, written in a fine hand on tiny pages each containing more than 1,000 words, was taken to Ireland after Bronte’s death in 1855 and then shipped to the US by an American collector.
The manuscript was eventually returned to the Parsonage Museum — the small Yorkshire rectory where the sisters were brought up — and has been occasionally displayed, but was considered of interest only to scholars. “There are other stories out there and a volume of five will be published later this year,” Glen said.
The Brontes — Charlotte, Emily and Anne — wrote gripping novels such as Wuthering Heights and Villette that are still some of the most popular books written in English.