Spot the odd one out!

byron, gaskell and bronte biographies

Actually, spot the similarities more like, excepting that two were women, and they all lived around the same time, this lot don’t have a lot in common, other than they picked up pens. All three had different upbringings, different classes, and families originating in different parts of the British Isles, Elizabeth has a Scottish father and Byron had Scottish mother, and Charlotte’s dad was Irish, with the rest of the DNA being filled in by the English.

I’ve had the book on Charlotte for years and can barely remember it, so it’s well overdue for a re-read. I’m about halfway through the Byron book, and so I thought I’d get one on on Gaskell, although neither of them are going to be as much fun as Byron. With echoes of that game of ‘Who would you invite to dinner’ but played with these three, the answers to some various questions, in order of preference are –

Who do I call to bail me out after arrest for indecent exposure?

  1. Byron
  2. Gaskell
  3. Brontë

Who would I most like to go on a transcontinental road-trip holiday with?

  1. Byron
  2. Gaskell
  3. Brontë

Who would I ask to feed my cat while I’m on holiday with Byron?

  1. Brontë
  2. Gaskell

Who do I call at three a.m. because a man has smashed like heart, like it is so much inanimate, red Play-Doh, to do with as he wishes?

  1. Gaskell
  2. Brontë
  3. Byron

If there is something strange, in my neighbourhood, who am I going to call?

  1. Ghostbusters
  2. Byron
  3. Gaskell
  4. Brontë

The Brontë answers are all based on Charlotte, they would be different for Anne and Emily, and even more so for their brother Branwell, as he sounded like a lot of fun. A night out with him and Byron, would have ended up with someone’s limb in plaster. If you are a Brontë fan, this book is worth a read. Can’t have been easy having all those sisters, two of whom died just before he was eight, and his mother had also died. Then his surviving three sisters were more successful than him, and none of them addicted to laudanum, alcohol, or in debt an unable to hold down a job, like him.

Although, it has been suggested, that he was so disconnected from the family and the subject of angry letters from Charlotte, that he may not have even been told his sister’s novels were published. At that time in his life, he had set fire to his bed in a drunken haze, and so his elderly father was having to share a bed with him for the safety of the house and everyone in it. He died of TB aggravated by his addictions. It is said his funeral, in the pouring rain, was when Emily’s health was damaged beyond repair, and she died a little while after him. All so sad, and gloomily interesting.

branwell bronte