Chapter I

  • Patricia Beer


There are probably many women, neither callous nor mercenary, who, presented with the alternatives of inheriting a fortune or marrying Branwell Brontë would unhesitatingly choose the money. Yet Elizabeth Gaskell, in her Life of Charlotte Brontë, without checking her facts condemned Mrs Robinson, Branwell’s employer, for acting in this way and for having seduced the young tutor in the first place; condemned her so roundly and so noisily that she was threatened with libel action if she did not withdraw her remarks, which in later editions she did. This example of a woman attacking a woman on insufficient evidence, and on the absolute assumption that in any such situation the woman must be at fault, sets the tone of the present discussion.


Dame Nature Home Duty Woman Ques Woman Question Private Path 


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© Patricia Beer 1974

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  • Patricia Beer

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