Sutherland questions the lives of the Brontes. Did Mr. Rochester kill Bertha Mason? (he reckons so) and did Branwell and Emily commit suicide by opium and self-starvation, respectively? (again, he thinks the odds are good). The ins and outs of Wuthering Heights, Branwell's relationship with Mrs. Robinson, and Charlottes romantic entanglements are other major topics that get multiple mini-essays.
Was Rochester a murderer? Did the Reverend Bronte carry a loaded pistol? What, precisely, does 'Wuthering' mean? Did the Brontes all have tiny feet? To celebrate the bicentenary of Charlotte Bronte's birth, eminent Victorian scholar John Sutherland takes us on an A to Z ramble through the world of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte (and not forgetting their dissolute brother Branwell). For fans of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, here is a light-hearted miscellany freighted with a working lifetime's scholarly expertise. With his reputation for intensely close reading of Victorian literature, John Sutherland explores the Brontes' lives, their characters, their novels and poems, and the ways in which we interpret them today - and above all he digs out those unexpected nuggets of fact that illuminate their perennially popular works.