Juliet Barker’s biography of the Brontës gave fresh insight into the lives of the three sisters and also rehabilitated the men in their lives – father, husband, brother – in the eyes of the reading public. Critic Jane Gardam even noted in The Spectator that ‘the author’s long communion with Charlotte had let her absorb exactly the same spirit’.

In this talk, Juliet examines Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘Life of Charlotte Brontë’, the first biography of the author, and attempts to find the thread of truth running through a fragmented, sometimes even redacted, narrative. She also offers her own perspective on the life of Jane Eyre’s creator and reassesses her contribution to literature in the year of the 200th anniversary of her birth.


Juliet Barker

Juliet Barker is an internationally recognised authority on the Brontës. A former curator and librarian of the Brontë Parsonage Museum at Haworth, she is author of the seminal biography The Brontës. Her ability to combine groundbreaking scholarly research with a highly readable style has made her one of Britain’s most popular historians.