Letter from Robert Southey to Charlotte Brontë, 12 March 1837


Exchanged ten years before the publication of Jane Eyre (1847), this manuscript letter from the poet laureate Robert Southey to Charlotte Brontë advises against women pursuing a career in writing:

Literature cannot be the business of a woman's life, and it ought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties, the less leisure will she have for it even as an accomplishment and a recreation.

In the letter previous Brontë had enclosed some of her poems, hoping for Southey's feedback and advice.  

Although Southey reveals certain prejudices against women writers, he also frankly and fairly shares advice on the difficulties that all professional writers may face.

This item is owned by The Brontë Parsonage Museum

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Letter from Robert Southey to Charlotte Brontë
12 March 1837
Manuscript / Letter / Ephemera
Robert Southey
© Brontë Parsonage Museum
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