The Brontës, a Reading List

I recently fell in love (or fell in love all over again) with Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I also love making reading lists. So what is a better way of keeping myself occupied than combining the two? I decided to add the other Brontë sisters to my list as well, but I do admit that I have mainly focused on Charlotte Brontë.

Original Work:
Shirley – Charlotte Brontë
Vilette – Charlotte Brontë
The Professor – Charlotte Brontë
Agnes Grey – Anne Brontë
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë: reread?
Tales of Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal: Selected Early Writings – The Brontës

Related Fiction (even if only a title reference):
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
Thornycroft Hall – Emma Jane Worboise
Miss Miles: A Tale of Yorkshire Life 60 Years Ago – Mary Taylor
Nine Coaches Waiting – Mary Stewart
The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde
The Brontës Went to Woolworths – Rachel Ferguson
Teas with Mr. Rochester – Frences Towers

Contemporary/YA:
Jane Airhead – Kay Woodward
Becoming Jane Eyre – Sheila Kohler
Romancing Miss Brontë – Juliet Gael
Wuthering Bites – Sarah Gray
Jane – April Lindner

Non-Fiction:
The Life of Charlotte Brontë – Elizabeth Gaskell
Selected Letters – Charlotte Brontë
Brontë in Love – Sarah Freeman
The Taste of Sorrow – Jude Morgan (fictional biography)
The Three Brontës/The Three Sisters – May Sinclair

Note 1: I want to acknowledge the very useful and informative Brontë Blog for providing links to lots of works on the Brontës.
Note 2: This list is by no means complete. As you can see on the Brontë Blog, there is an endless amount of texts on the Brontës, this is just a very small selection of books that I think I would like to read.
Note 3: Please feel free to give me any more suggestions as to what you think I should read!

27 thoughts on “The Brontës, a Reading List

  1. The Book Whisperer

    Charlotte Bronte is my girl crush! This may make you jealous, Iris, but I live about 45 minutes from Haworth (where the Brontes grew up) and I go there quite often as I just love the little village and the parsonage where they lived etc (and of course, there are lots of bookshops there!)

    If you haven’t read Villette yet, READ IT! I loved that book and it sealed my love affair with all things Charlotte Bronte (although Jane Eyre will always be my favourite).

    Reply
  2. Ellie

    Hi Iris!
    An older YA book referencing the Brontes that I enjoyed was ‘The Bronte Girls’ by Garry Kilworth. I also have ‘The Bronte Myth’ by Lucasta Miller which is a modern biography and a look at how their work has endured.
    Happy reading!

    Reply
  3. Sandy

    I’m pretty inexperienced here, only having read Wuthering Heights. But high HIGH on my list of TBRs is the Jude Morgan book, that Nymeth recently reviewed. After having read Morgan’s “Passion” about the romantic poets, I’m sold. I’m thinking that after I read it, I will want to read everything Bronte!!!

    Reply
  4. amymckie

    I’ve only read one book, I believe Jane Eyre long long ago and I wasn’t a fan, so I have no suggests for you. The list looks like it will keep you busy for some time though!

    Reply
    1. Selvam, Sivagangai

      Watch the 2006 BBC TV adaption of Jane Eyre, starring Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. This is a good place start with Jane Eyre for the present generation. Give it a try. You may even love reading the book after watching this particular adaptation. This was true for me.

      Reply
  5. Amanda

    Have you read du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn, which is supposed to be like a retelling of Wuthering Heights? I didn’t like it as much as Rebecca, but then again, I didn’t really like WH either…what a great list Iris! That Jude Morgan book you included is one I definitely want to read after Ana’s review the other day, and I’ve got Shirley coming up in the next couple weeks. :)

    Reply
  6. chasing bawa

    I’m not sure whether you’re going to like this, but I thought it was an interesting diversion although I wasn’t convinced by it at all: The Crimes of Charlotte Bronte by James Tully.

    Reply
  7. cbjames

    You already have an impressive reading list, but I will second The Bronte Myth. It’s more a biography of their reputation thatn of the Brontes themselves, but it’s fascinating reading– high level stuff but accessible to ordinary readers.

    And you must visit Haworth Parsonage. I went to it many years ago. It is out of the way, but well worth the trip. The Bronte home and the church where Rev. Bronte worked are preserved and are both a bit isolated from the now charming small town. I was there on a rainy, overcast day. It felt like stepping back in time.

    Reply
  8. Alex

    I’m going to read the biography “The Brontes” by Juliet Barker with my Classics bookclub (part of the Brontes Brussels Group). It’s huge but suppose to be very good. We’ve also read The Taste of Sorrow and …er… it wasn’t a favorite. The Life of Charlotte Bronte was one of this year’s best.

    One that I can recommend: The Bronte Myth by Lucasta Miller.

    Reply
  9. Elizabeth

    I will definitely need to check out your list of related reading and non-fiction. I’m already hoping to read most, though not all, of the original work next year and I can’t wait! And I’m glad for Amanda’s note about du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn as I have that on my list too and I’ll wait until after reading Wuthering Heights.

    Reply
  10. Carolyn

    I’m thrilled you have Tea With Mr. Rochester on your list, even if there’s only the one short story in the collection that forms the reference, it’s a delightful short story (about a young girl who likes to make up stories in her head and the older teacher she imagines as being like Mr. Rochester and then the day she ends up at tea with him) and a wonderful collection. I’ve read it twice already this year and have started again!

    I only have Shirley and The Professor left and then I’ll have read all the Bronte novels.

    Reply
  11. Jillian

    That’s awesome! I’m reading many of the novels, as well as Gaskell’s boography of Charlotte. Have fun with this. :-)

    Reply
  12. Susan in TX

    Another modern “retelling” of Jane Eyre is Jillian Dare by Melanie Jeschke. It gives a nod to Collins as one of the characters in the book was also in the musical version of The Woman in White. :)

    Reply
  13. Eva

    For nonfiction, one of the essays in My Mother’s Wedding Dress is all about the Brontes, especially Charlotte. I loved it, and I don’t have a particular attraction to them!

    For fiction, Fall On Your Knees has quite a few Bronte references, and it definitely has the same kind of “feel” to it. And Hound of the Baskervilles is also set on the moors, although I admit that’s a bit more of a stretch. hehe

    Reply
  14. Becky

    What a great list! I don’t have any to add to it, but I’ve marked it so I can look up a few of these. I just love that you’ve narrowed in on the Bronte’s and are so willing to share the passion for now. It’s fun to hear and learn more!

    Reply
  15. Katherine Cox

    It’s been such awhile since I’ve read the Bronte’s. Haven’t read any of Emily’s works –from what I hear of them they seem a bit too wild for my taste but I think I’d like her poetry; must read it.
    I love Anne Bronte (especially Agnes Grey) and Charlotte’s Jane Eyre (of course). Shirley has been on my list for a long while too. Thank you for reminding me, Iris. :)

    Reply
  16. bookssnob

    Iris I wrote my university dissertation on the Brontes so I can recommend a lot of non fiction to round out your reading. The Juliet Barker biography is excellent, and so is Lucasta Miller’s The Bronte Myth; if you want to understand how the Brontes became popular, where the various myths about them originated, and how they have been differently percieved by varying contemporary readers over the past 150 years, it’s a must read.

    Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography is horribly inaccurate but a fascinating insight into how Charlotte and her sisters were painted in the 19th century.

    The Madwoman in the Attic by Gilbert and Gubar has excellent essays on all of the Bronte novels and is a fantastic book of essays on feminist readings of Victorian literature in general as well.

    Reply
  17. Christina

    Interesting list! I’m really enjoying your Bronte posts. :) Of the works on your list, I would definitely recommend Nine Coaches Waiting and both the Anne Bronte books. Poor Anne gets so overlooked, but I really like her two novels! I haven’t read the Jude Morgan book, but I have read other novels of his and really enjoyed them. I would also recommend The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, which is a great gothic novel that makes several allusions to Jane Eyre.

    Reply
  18. Christina

    OH, and The Eyre Affair is great! Very funny, bizarre, and charming. If you enjoy it, you should continue the series with Lost in a Good Book, which riffs on Wuthering Heights quite a bit!

    Reply
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