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Ellen Nussey & Emily Brontë

BC MS 19c Brontë/B4/2
Francis O'Gorman, Professor of Victorian Literature at the University of Leeds, introduces the Brontë family manuscripts, part of the original Brotherton Collection.
BC MS 19c Brontë/F1
Maria Brontë manuscript.
BC MS 19c Brontë/C2
Description of Charlotte Bronte material in Bronte Family Manuscripts.
BC MS 19c Brontë/C3/a
Description of letters from Charlotte Brontë & Elizabeth Gaskell describing each other.
A B Nicholls letters to Ellen Nussey
Description of A B Nicholls letter to Ellen Nussey following Charlotte Brontë's death.
BC MS 19c Brontë/B13
Description of Branwell Bronte manuscripts in the Brotherton Collection, part 1
BC MS 19c Brontë/B1/2
Introduction to Branwell Bronte's early manuscripts.
BC MS 19c Brontë/B4/2
Description of Branwell Brontë artwork in Brontë family manuscripts collection
BC MS 19c Brontë/B4/10
Description of Branwell Bronte's sketch '‘Our Lady of Grief’.
BC MS 19c Brontë/C14
Ellen Nussey's description of Emily Brontë.

Defending the Brontës after their death was a task that fell largely to Charlotte's life-long friend Ellen Nussey, many of whose letters to inquirers and Brontë authors are included in the collection.

Perhaps of most interest in the Nussey material is the biographical note on Emily Brontë, whose character and private history have tantalized biographers since her death in 1848.

Nussey remarks that "so very little is known of Emily Brontë that every little detail awakens an interest."

She offers what little she can:

Her extreme reserve seemed impenetrable, yet she was intensely loveable[.] She invited confidence in her moral power. Few people have the gift of looking and smiling, as she could look and smile - one of her rare expressive looks was something to remember through life, there was such a depth of soul and feeling, and yet shyness of revealing herself, a strength of self-containment seen in no other - She was in the strictest sense a law unto herself, and a heroine in keeping to her law -  She, and gentle Anne, were often seen twined together as united statues, of power and humility - they were to be seen with their arms lacing each other in their younger days whenever their occupation permitted their union.

In the paucity of material, it is a valuable account and concludes with a long, affectionate description of Emily's fondness for her dogs.

Image © University of Leeds