13-Year-Old Charlotte Brontë & Her Brother Wrote Teeny Tiny Adventure Books, Measuring 1 x 2 Inches


So you con­sid­er your­self a read­er of the Bron­tës? Of course you’ve read Wuther­ing Heights, Jane Eyre, and The Ten­ant of Wild­fell Hall. (Find these clas­sics in our col­lec­tion of Free eBooks and Free Audio Books.) You’ve prob­a­bly even got on to the likes of The Green Dwarf and Agnes Grey. Sure­ly you know details from the lives of Char­lotte, Emi­ly, and Anne. But have you read such less­er-known entries in the Bron­të canon as Scenes on a Great BridgeThe Poet­aster: A Dra­ma in Two Vol­umes, or An Inter­est­ing Pas­sage in the Lives of Some Emi­nent Per­son­ages of the Present Age? Do you know of Bron­të broth­er Bran­well, the ill-fat­ed tutor, clerk, and artist, and have you seen his own lit­er­ary out­put? Now you can, as Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty’s Houghton Library has put online nine very ear­ly works from Char­lotte and Bran­well Bron­të — all of which mea­sure less than one inch by two inch­es.

bronte mini book

“In 1829 and 1830,” writes Har­vard Library Com­mu­ni­ca­tions’ Kate Kon­dayen, “Char­lotte and Bran­well cob­bled pages togeth­er from print­ed waste and scrap paper, per­haps cut from mar­gins of dis­card­ed pam­phlets,” pro­duc­ing “tiny, hand-let­tered, hand-bound books” in which “page after mini-page brims with poems, sto­ries, songs, illus­tra­tions, maps, build­ing plans, and dia­logue. The books, let­tered in minus­cule, even script, tell of the ‘Glass Town Con­fed­er­a­cy,’ a fic­tion­al world the sib­lings cre­at­ed for and around Branwell’s toy sol­diers, which were both the pro­tag­o­nists of and audi­ence for the lit­tle books.” A ded­i­cat­ed Bron­të afi­ciona­do may set­tle for noth­ing less than see­ing these in per­son, but a read­er more inter­est­ed in the avoid­ance of eye­strain will cer­tain­ly pre­fer to read these dig­i­tal­ly mag­nifi­able edi­tions on the web. The hat tip for these minis­cule trea­sures of lit­er­ary juve­na­lia goes to the Los Ange­les Times’ Car­olyn Kel­logg, who pro­vides a list of links to the indi­vid­ual works:

By Char­lotte Bron­të:
Scenes on the great bridge, Novem­ber 1829
The sil­ver cup: a tale, Octo­ber 1829
Black­woods young mens mag­a­zine, August 1829
An inter­est­ing pas­sage in the lives of some emi­nent per­son­ages of the present age, June 1830
The poet­aster: a dra­ma in two vol­umes, July 1830
The adven­tures of Mon. Edouard de Crack, Feb­ru­ary 1830

By Patrick Bran­well Bron­të:
Bran­wells Black­woods mag­a­zine, June 1829
Mag­a­zine, Jan­u­ary 1829
Bran­wells Black­woods mag­a­zine, July 1829

Relat­ed Con­tent:

“The Auto­bi­og­ra­phy of Jane Eyre” Adapts Brontë’s Hero­ine for Vlogs, Tum­blr, Twit­ter & Insta­gram

The British Library Puts Online 1,200 Lit­er­ary Trea­sures From Great Roman­tic & Vic­to­ri­an Writ­ers

Bron­të Sis­ters Pow­er Dolls

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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