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Emily's GhostTo a stranger - to a non-Brontëite, that is - the amount of Brontë-related biofiction we are seeing of late and which we will continue to see in the coming months might seem repetitive, impossible and altogether redundant. To a Brontëite, particularly if he or she already knows from reading different biographies, it seems diverse, varied and a new opportunity to immerse himself or herself in the always intriguing and addictive world of the Brontës. Thus, a treat.
By Denise Giardina
First published 27 July, 2009.
Hardback by W.W.Norton, 384pp
The author of Wuthering Heights still remains, what she has ever been, the sphynx of literature.(2) Although Emily, in her afterlife, has had a string of lovers already: the hilarious Louis Parensell (Virginia Moore's misreading of Love's Farewell in The Life and Eager Death of Emily Brontë), Robert Clayton (Sarah Fermi's weaver's son in Emily's Journal), an invented farmhand (minutely described by Jacques Débû-Bridel in Le Secret d'Emily Brontë) one of the wealthy Heaton boys (Lyndall Gordon's candidate in her biography of Charlotte Brontë), Arthur Bell Nicholls (James Tully's very own crime), a non-practising lesbian (according to Stevie Davies 'intuition' in Emily Brontë: Heretic), her own brother Branwell (in Cheryldee Huddleston's 2006 theatre piece Children of an Idol Moon), her own father, who caused her to give birth to his child (Isobel English's suggestion in her play Meeting Point), one Harry Deville (in Emily Heaton's White Windows), etc.
"She should have been a man - a great navigator," said M. Héger in speaking of her. "Her powerful reason would have deduced new spheres of discovery from the knowledge of the old; and her strong, imperious will would never have been daunted by opposition or difficulty; never have given, way but with life.(5) The Charleston Gazette, July 25, 2009.