When a man is tired of the London Book Fair, he is tired of life
It's that time of year again... ...
This week sees the curtain officially raised on Brontë 200 - an extended commemorative period celebrating the lives and work of three sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and their brother, Bramwell.
Yep, there was a brother. But 'The Brontë Siblings' just doesn't resonate as much as 'The Brontë Sisters', does it?
And, to be fair, Bramwell was far from prolific as an artist. He had some poetry published and painted some portraits - a picture of his sisters hangs in the National Portrait Gallery (goodness they look unamused!). He was, however, quite a character.
His life and early death were characterised by heavy drinking, drug use and affairs. He only just made it into his 30s, but packed a lot in.
Nevertheless, it is his sisters who made the family name. And it’s the anniversary of the birth of the eldest, Charlotte, on 21st April, 1816, that will mark the start of Brontë 200.
Her most famous work, Jane Eyre, was first published in 1847. It has long been recognised as a true classic (number 10 in the BBC's 'Big Read' survey in 2003), but was considered quite revolutionary at the time.
It not only deals in social mobility and women's independence, but also, in stylistic terms, it showcases a writer, a female writer, expressing personal feelings and opinions through the main character.
It is written, in fact, in the first person. To some extent, Brontë is Eyre and Eyre is Brontë.
Such a personal approach to fiction, re-appropriating episodes from your own life, 'writing what you know', is commonplace now, but in the mid-19th century was a significant development.
Also, the book's most famous line, 'Reader, I married him', seems all too quaint and lacy in modern times, but nearly 200 years ago the sentence structure itself was quite shocking. Jane is the protagonist. She married him. He didn't marry her, they didn't get married. No, she married him.
We'll revisit all the Brontë’s over the coming days, weeks and months, but to find out more right now, about their work and the events planned for Brontë 200, click here.