Thursday, November 6, 2014
The London Guardian writes today: "According to criminologist James Tully, the author of Jane Eyre was not the secluded, intellectual spinster we imagine, but a violently envious and lustful murderess. All was peaceful in the Brontë household, Tully says, until the 1845 appearance of a (debatably) handsome and wily curate named Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls. Tully claims that Nicholls encouraged Charlotte’s already envious disposition, and together they poisoned each one of her siblings. Emily and Branwell (who another theory says wrote Emily’s Wuthering Heights) died in 1848 at ages 30 and 31 respectively. Anne died in 1849 at 29. The common conception is that they all contracted tuberculosis or cholera, but Tully, who is also an expert in 19th-century poison, is convinced that they were murdered. A few years later Charlotte’s father “angrily chased” Nicholls from their estate. Soon after that, Charlotte eloped with Nicholls, only to die a year later. Tully claims that it was Nicholls’s plan all along to inherit the Brontë estate, and thus Charlotte met the same bleak fate as her siblings. Tully originally wrote his theory as non-fiction, but was unable to find a publisher; so he retold the story as fiction from the point of view of real-life maid Martha Brown. His book, The Crimes of Charlotte Brontë, gained some recognition, but was generally rejected by Brontë enthusiasts."
Posted by Michael Kunze at 6:00 AM