Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

Emily Bronte: A Theory
By: Sarah Fermi

Thesis: Emily Bronte, in order to effectivley write Wuthering Heights and her other works must have had a relationship with a man. Though there are no records of such a relationship, looking in history and Emily Bronte's biographies points out a potential man.

  • Fermi suggests because Anne and Charlotte wrote in an autobiography nature, surely Emily also did so, especially for Wuthering Heights.
  • Many biographers have suggested that Bronte had a romantic affair
  • After doing research, one author's investigation is false. Said author thought the romantic interest in question belonged to the Heaton family. But no said person was even alive at the time of Bronte's change in writing.
  • Fermi came up with a theory to justify Bronte's writing according to her biography:
o        “1) When Charlotte goes away to Roe Head School in January 1831, Emily and Anne begin to create their own private world of Gondal, which they act out on the moors.

2) They enlist the help of a local boy to play with them.

3) This boy is working-class and therefore an unsuitable playmate, and the meetings are kept a secret from Mr Bronte and Aunt Branwell. A romance develops.

4) The secret is somehow discovered in the summer of 1835, and Emily is sent off to Roe Head School to break up the relationship between her and the young man. The collapse of Emily's health, requiring her return home, is partly due to her despair at this separation from the young man.

5) In the winter of 1836—37 the young man dies, leaving Emily deeply affected. Her poetry strongly suggests that she experienced a traumatic event at this time: all the poems of 1836 (the earliest that exist) are cheerful or thoughtful, or, in one case, exuberant. There are no poems in January, 1837, and in February she begins, almost obsessively, to write poetry about death, grief, and nightmare. (Fermi, 72)”

  • They young man’s name is Robert Clayton, who dies December 1834. Bronte writes a poem a few years after about how a death has affected her greatly
  • Bronte also uses a Gondal character in her poem, using the character Alexander Elbe’s initials as well as he initials RC which could refer to Robert. This poem is about the death of Alexander.
  • All evidence is circumstantial.


Fermi, Sara. "Emily Bronte: A Theory." Bronte Studies. Mar. 2005, Vol. 30 Issue 1, P71-74. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 Nov. 2009.