Lot 4014: Charlotte Bronte

RR Auction

RR Auction

2016-01-22 16:31:02

Lot 4014: Rare ALS signed "C. Bronte," two pages on two adjoining sheets, 4.5 x 7, January 19, [1853]. Letter to David Waldie, written while staying at Gloucester Terrace, London, the home of her publisher George Smith. In full: "I have received your kind letter, and beg to thank you for it, as well as for the little books you mention, which have not yet reached me, but are no doubt awaiting me at home. The sincere appreciation of a reader's gratification is—I scarcely need say—one of the most acceptable forms in which an author can be repaid for his labour. I shall be glad if any future work of mine gives you equal pleasure to that you speak of having found in 'Jane Eyre.'" With small splits along right fold edges and scattered light foxing and wrinkling, otherwise fine. Accompanied by a photocopy of the original mailing envelope postmarked 1853. Bronte published her masterpiece in 1847 under the pen name 'Currer Bell,' an ambiguous pseudonym she adopted to shield her gender and avoid prejudice against female authors. The public's reaction was mixed—although Jane Eyre was initially received with favorable reviews and became an immediate bestseller, it soon became the subject of controversy and decried as immoral due to its racy content. Speculation that the author was a woman fueled this criticism as the book's feminist overtones threatened the cultural status quo. Still, sales of Jane Eyre remained strong and its commercial appeal was even enhanced by its reputation as improper. Eventually, at the encouragement of George Smith, Bronte revealed her identity and became more prominent in London's literary circles, befriending the likes of William Thackeray and Elizabeth Gaskell. It is interesting to note, however, that between the nondescript "C. Bronte" signature and the use of "his labour" to refer to an author's work it seems that Bronte may have been keeping up the charade even in 1853. Letters by Bronte are generally scarce and highly sought-after, and those specifically concerning Jane Eyre are of the utmost rarity. RR Auction's Mario Puzo Archive And Literary Rarities Auction 470 Thursday, 18th February 2016 Estimate: $60000-80000
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