London: Robert Riviere & Son, Ltd., 1920s. Finely bound by Riviere in red three-quarter calf over marbled boards, marbled end papers, top edges gilt. Each volume with a color frontis illustrated by Edmund Dulac. Spines darkened and showing very slight scuffs at the extremities, but no cracking to the joints or chips from the spine ends. Overall a lovely set of the Bronte sisters works.
As the sisters rose to adulthood, their novels began to focus on the complex emotional lives of women from all walks of life -- from orphans to governesses to heiresses -- but with the greatest emphasis on those whose educations and livelihoods most reflected their own. With clear-sightedness, they used their knowledge of gendered, economic, and social constraints to develop their best material. Again, the moorlands of their upbringing affected their writing. Anne's work was like a still day before a storm. And "if Charlotte's novels keep up a stiff wind, Emily's one novel is a thunderstorm. Their characters...have such a gust of life that they transcend reality" (Dean). Publishing under gender neutral pseudonyms of Currer Bell, Ellis Bell, and Acton Bell, the three talented authors were able to release their works to the public without the kind of criticism that fell on women of the time. It was with the publication of Anne's second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, that the women were forced to reveal their true identities when an unscrupulous publisher attempted to use Currer Bell's name to sell another, less successful author's works. The literary fame that came with the Brontes' revelation led only to a shortlived happiness, as all three died at early ages" (Bronte Society). Near Fine (Item #4695)