Saturday, February 06, 2021

"Bear alone the weary strife": Charlotte Brontë and the loss of her siblings to tuberculosis

After Branwell Brontë died on 28 September 1848, and his sister Emily on 19 December 1848, their sister Anne died the following spring on 28 May 1849 – all probably of tuberculosis. Their surviving sister Charlotte, the oldest of the four, thus lost her three siblings within eight months. In "On the Death of Anne Brontë", she writes of spending "the parting hour" with Anne and of how now, "benighted, tempest-tossed," she "must bear alone the weary strife." A lung disease had left her bereft of her siblings, but unlike many who have lost loved ones to Covid-19 over the past year, she was able to be with them on their deathbeds. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 6 February 2021)


A sketch of Anne by her sister Charlotte, circa 1834

An 1834 drawing of Anne Brontë by her sister Charlotte.

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