An important and moving letter written by Charlotte Brontë has returned to Haworth and will go on display for the very first time at the BrontëParsonageMuseum.
The letter is dated 18 October 1848 and was written in the brief interval between the death of her brother Branwell on 24 September, and that of her sister Emily on 19 December. This was one of the darkest periods of Charlotte Brontë’s life, and work on her second novel, Shirley, had faltered. ‘My book – alas! is laid aside’, she writes, adding, ‘…both head and hand seem to have lost their cunning; imagination is pale, stagnant, mute – this incapacity chagrins me; sometimes I have a feeling of cankering care on the subject – but I combat it as well as I can – it does no good.’
The black-bordered letter was written to William Smith Williams, the sympathetic reader at her publishers. It was part of the James L. Copley Library, based in California, and was purchased by the Brontë Society at Sotheby’s in New York earlier this year.
‘The letters written to William Smith Williams are amongst the most significant of all Charlotte’s correspondence. This particular letter has remained in a private collection in America for many years and it is wonderful to be able to make it available for the first time.’ - Ann Dinsdale, Collections Manager
The letter will go on display at the museum this week until the end of the year.