Charlotee Bronte to William Wordsworth “Thanks A Lot”

in Historic Articles by Authors

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So from time to time we love finding things like this. It’s a little piece of history, and it makes us chuckle to think that context is everything. We think writers should know history, and I think it makes us feel closer to long dead famous writers who might have experienced a little adversity too. This is a letter from Charlotee Bronte to William Wordsworth. She seems to be thanking him while telling him to ignore “my handwriting, or the ladylike touches in my style and imagery.” Awkward! Also, we added the greetings for fun.

Dear Mr. Wordsworth,

… Authors are generally very tenacious of their productions, but I am not so much attached to this but that I can give it up without much distress. No doubt, if I had gone on, I should have made quite a Richardsonian concern of it…. I had materials in my head for half-a-dozen volumes…. Of course, it is with considerable regret I relinquish any scheme so charming as the one I have sketched. It is very edifying and profitable to create a world out of your own brains, and people it with inhabitants, who are so many Melchisedecs, and have no father nor mother but your own imagination…. I am sorry I did not exist fifty or sixty years ago, when the Ladies’ Magazine was flourishing like a green bay tree. In that case, I make no doubt, my aspirations after literary fame would have met with due encouragement, and I should have had the pleasure of introducing Messrs. Percy and West into the very best society, and recording all their sayings and doings in double-columned close-printed pages…. I recollect, when I was a child, getting hold of some antiquated volumes, and reading them by stealth with the most exquisite pleasure. You give a correct description of the patient Grisels of those days. My aunt was one of them; and to this day she thinks the tales of the Ladies’ Magazine infinitely superior to any trash of modern literature. So do I; for I read them in childhood, and childhood has a very strong faculty of admiration, but a very weak one of criticism…. I am pleased that you cannot quite decide whether I am an attorney’s clerk or a novel-reading dressmaker. I will not help you at all in the discovery; and as to my handwriting, or the ladylike touches in my style and imagery, you must not draw any conclusion from that—I may employ an amanuensis. Seriously, sir, I am very much obliged to you for your kind and candid letter. I almost wonder you took the trouble to read and notice the novelette of an anonymous scribe, who had not even the manners to tell you whether he was a man or a woman, or whether his ‘C.T.’ meant Charles Timms or Charlotte Tomkins.

Much Love,

Charlotee Bronte

Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal...check our About Us page for more. Also here is info on our On Classic Articles

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