Viking has acquired a new biography of Jane Eyre author, Charlotte Bronte, to be published in 2016 to coincide with the bicentenary of Bronte’s birth.
Publishing director Venetia Butterfield bought UK and Commonwealth rights to the new work by Claire Harman through Hannah Westland of Rogers, Coleridge and White.
According to the publisher, the biography will draw on little-known material and examine in greater depth the relationship between Bronte and Monsieur Heger, her schoolmaster in Belgium. Her unrequited love for him sparked her early work as well as her determination to get her own and her sisters’ work published.
Bronte’s most well-known novel is Jane Eyre, with works also including Shirley, Villette and The Professor. She was born in April 1816, and died in March 1855, living the majority of her life with her family, including sisters Anne and Emily, in the parsonage at Haworth, Yorkshire. A year before her death, she married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father’s curate. The first posthumous biography of her was written by Victorian novelist, Elizabeth Gaskell.
Harman is a winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys prize for her biography of Sylvia Townsend Warner.