Every so often, a new discovery comes along that reignites the question: what is there possibly left to say about the Brontës?
In 2015, the discovery took the form of an unpublished short story by young Charlotte Brontë, found romantically tucked away in her late mother’s book. It was a story that set ablaze an insatiable and happily reawakened audience: the Brontë fanbase.
The million-dollar question is why the Brontës and their novels are still so popular, while so many of their contemporaries have fizzled and died in our collective memories. Public interest often begins with the Brontës themselves—three impossibly tiny sisters secluded on the Moors, pretending to be men, writing epic fiction that defied the parameter of their own experiences. Yet much of our collective obsession has to do with what we don’t know. Despite exhaustive research over the last one hundred and fifty years, there are still enough holes in our knowledge to breed myths and fantasy. The picturesque romance of the Brontës depends on the incomplete picture we have; as in real life, romance and mystery go hand in hand.