|Author||Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell|
The Life of Charlotte Brontë is the posthumous biography of Charlotte Brontë by fellow novelist Elizabeth Gaskell. The first edition was published in 1857. A major source was the hundreds of letters sent by Brontë to her lifelong friend Ellen Nussey. Gaskell had to deal with some sensitive issues. She toned down some of her material: in the case of her description of the Clergy Daughters' School this was to avoid legal action from the Rev. William Carus Wilson. The published text does not go so far as to blame the school's founder for the deaths of two Brontë sisters, but even so Wilson published a short "refutation" of the biography. Although quite frank in many places, Gaskell suppressed details of Charlotte's love for Constantin Héger, a married man, on the grounds that it would be too great an affront to contemporary morals and a possible source of distress to Charlotte's still-living friends, father Patrick Brontë and husband. She also suppressed any reference to Charlotte's romance with George Smith, her publisher, who was also publishing the biography.