Charlotte Brontë (born 21 April 1816)
Today is the birthday of novelist Charlotte Brontë, best known for her 1847 Jane Eyre, published under a male pseudonym, Currer Bell.
|An 1854 photograph of Charlotte Brontë|
About the difficulties women faced when publishing their work, and the decision of Charlotte and her three sisters to use male pseudonyms, Brontë wrote,
Averse to personal publicity, we veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, the ambiguous choice being dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women because—without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called "feminine"—we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice; we had noticed how critics sometimes use for their chastisement the weapon of personality, and for their reward, a flattery, which is not true praise.
Before her death in 1855, Brontë published two additional novels, Shirley (1849) and Villette (1853); The Professor, which had been written before Jane Eyre, was published posthumously (1857).
A volume of poetry, Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, was published in 1846.
There are more resources available than I could possibly list here, so I'll just include a link to the Bronte Parsonage Museum, a good place to start. Well, I suppose the best place to start is with the novels themselves--there are many editions, print and electronic. Sit down today and read!