Some months ago we posted about a radio drama that was aired on BBC-Radio 4: Cold in the Earth and Fifteen Wild Decembers. The play was based on a theory by Sarah Fermi: in short that Emily Brontë might have been seeing one Robert Clayton, a Haworth weaver's son before the year 1837, when he died.
Now the theory has become a book published by Pegasus & Elliot MacKenzie Publishers that appears this month:
Emily's Journal by Sarah FermiBackground information:
Why did Emily Brontë write Wuthering Heights? Was it purely the product of her juvenile imagination? Or did she experience a profound and tragic relationship in her adolescent years which coloured the rest of her life and was the emotional source for both her one novel and her heartfelt poetry?
Written as if in her own words, Emily's Journal explores in minute detail the possibility that Wuthering Heights was not entirely 'invented'; it gives the reader a new and exhilarating glimpse into the social circumstances which kept a young woman from the man she loved. Few biographies of Emily Brontë have reached so far into her mind – interrogating census records, parish registers, and wills – and marrying the evidence with the contents of her works. The result is truly remarkable.
"Sarah Fermi's extraordinarily detailed knowledge of the social history of Haworth in the early nineteenth century means that this compelling book is not just another story about the tragic Brontë family. She really does convince us that something like what she describes could have happened, and gives us an intriguing glimpse of what the Brontë family dynamics might actually have been."
Dr Heather Glen, reader in English, Cambridge University, author of Charlotte Brontë, the Imagination in History, and editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Brontës.
About the author:
Sarah Fermi has been interested in the Brontë family for almost as long as she can remember. Perhaps being one of three sisters may have been the starting point, but her serious interest was prompted by reading a biography of Emily Brontë by Edward Chitham. Inspired by his pertinent (and unanswered) questions about Emily, Sarah has devoted nearly fifteen years to examining the many previously unexplored personal connections of the Brontë sisters.
The controversial theory on which this book is based was taken up by BBC Radio 4, and the play 'Cold in the Earth, and Fifteen Wild Decembers', by Sally Wainwright, was the result. It was broadcast in March, 2006, as the Saturday Afternoon Play.
- Fermi, Sarah, Emily Brontë: A Theory, Brontë Studies, Vol 30, March 2005, p. 71
- Interview on Radio 4 with Sarah Fermi and Juliet Baker (March 9, 2006)
- BrontëBlog post on the radio play
- Brontë Parsonage Blog post on the radio play
- Brontë Parsonage Blog post on the book