We’ve just re-emerged from a long and pleseant immersion into the pages of Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life, a biography by Lyndall Gordon published in Italy last April by Fazi Editore.
This biography is something different from every other Charlotte Brontë’s biography we’ve read, and Lyndall Gordon tells us the story of this authoress in a brand new way. Whoever knows Charlotte Brontë, by reading her works or studying her life, does surely perceive that beyond those small features and that almost overstated composure, unusual vitality and strenght were hiding.
Mrs. Gordon’s Charlotte Brontë is not just the daughter of a Reverend in a small, isolated Yorkshire village, an orphan who lost her mother and witnessed the death of all her siblings, a girl who used writing as a way to escape her life. In these pages, we read about a young, clever woman, smart and bold enough to stand out and get what she wants, starting from what she doesn’t have at all. Hers is a hard path of course, she has to struggle against her own weaknesses, she has to face pain and fear but, no matter what, she fights with pride and determination as a real Yorkshire woman.
From the pages of this biography that strong woman comes out clearly- we already had a glimpse of her behind the features of the tormented Lucy Snowe, the determined Jane Eyre, and the other heroines from her works, who spoke of and for her, hiding her true nature behind the expedients of narrative fiction.
That’s why Mrs. Gordon analizes Charlotte’s works and characters in a new way, starting from the “passions”, which she describes as the main elements of Charlotte’s inner life, and of course of her genius.
Obviously, those who know and study Charlotte’s life are already aware her background, but this biography is really worth reading- as a matter of fact, Mrs. Gordon casts a new light upon Charlotte’s life and works, making clear some points that were nebulous elsewhere. And we, as readers, can see clearly under this light Charlotte’s “passionate” heart.