Patrick Branwell Brontë Criticism - Essay

Francis A. Leyland (essay date 1886)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Leyland, Francis A. “Branwell's Character.” In The Brontë Family, with Special Reference to Patrick Branwell Brontë, Vol. II, pp. 287-302. New York: Haskell House Publishers Ltd., 1971.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1886, Brontë's friend Francis A. Leyland avers that Brontë's writings grew out of his intense personal emotion and passionate spirit.]

It has often been observed that the life of a poet may best be learned from the works he has left behind him. We may fall into error in dealing with the circumstances of his external life, and may make mistakes as to chronology or facts, and, in this way, may be led often to form a false...

(The entire section is 3004 words.)

Alice Law (essay date 1923)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Law, Alice. “Wuthering Heights—by Branwell?” In Patrick Branwell Brontë, pp. 141-84. London: A. M. Philpot, Ltd., 1923.

[In the following excerpt, Law argues that Branwell, not Emily, wrote Wuthering Heights, citing the masculine tone of the novel among other evidence to support her claim.]

We must now examine the evidences of Branwell's actual known literary power and achievements, and the particular reasons for believing that he was the author of Wuthering Heights.

It will be necessary to turn back again to the year 1845, and to the close of the month of July, when Branwell, summarily dismissed from his tutorship,...

(The entire section is 7912 words.)

John Drinkwater (essay date 1924)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Drinkwater, John. “Patrick Branwell Brontë and His ‘Horace.’” In A Book for Bookmen: Being Edited Manuscripts and Marginalia with Essays on Several Occasions, pp. 43-59. London: Dulau & Company, Ltd., 1926.

[In the following essay, privately printed in 1924, Drinkwater considers Brontë's poetic merits in light of the constant criticism that his was a talent unrealized and misused. Drinkwater finds Brontë's translations of the first book of Horace's Odes his finest poetic accomplishment.]


Patrick Branwell Brontë died in 1848, at the age of thirty-one. Little celebrated for any achievement of his own, he is a not...

(The entire section is 4251 words.)

Daphne Du Maurier (essay date 1960)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Du Maurier, Daphne. “Chapter Six.” In The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë, pp. 60-74. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1960.

[In the following excerpt, Du Maurier focuses on Brontë's immense literary activity during the years 1836 to 1838.]

Branwell's literary output, between the ages of nineteen and twenty-one, was fantastic. The complete history of the kingdom of Angria in nine parts, including several long stories and many poems, covers sheet after sheet of manuscript, all in microscopic handwriting. These manuscripts, scattered as they are today, and housed in various collections throughout the country, might—after years of study—give the patient...

(The entire section is 5311 words.)

Robert G. Collins (essay date 1985)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Collins, Robert G. “The Fourth Brontë: Branwell as Poet.” Victorian Poetry 23, no. 2 (summer 1985): 202-19.

[In the following essay, Collins undertakes a close examination of Brontë as a poet, considering his publishing history, relationships with his sisters (particularly Emily), poetic influences, and primary themes and characters.]

Many men write their own epitaph, but few have damned themselves as effectively in doing so as did Branwell Brontë. Consider one of his last surviving notes, written to his life-long friend and sometime custodian, John Brown:

Dear John


(The entire section is 8172 words.)

Bettina L. Knapp (essay date 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Knapp, Bettina L. “Patrick Branwell Brontë: Eternal Adolescent.” In The Brontës: Branwell, Anne, Emily, Charlotte, pp. 57-72. New York: Continuum Publishing Company, 1991.

[In the following excerpt, Knapp characterizes Brontë as a young man forever mourning the loss of his childhood, unable to achieve any measure of self-discipline, maturity, or strength of character and hiding himself in a fantasy world rather than facing reality.]

There was a light—but it is gone.
There was a Hope—but all is o'er,
And friendless, sightless, left alone,
I go where thou hast gone before,
And yet I shall not see thee more.
Ha! say not that the dying man
Can only think...

(The entire section is 6107 words.)

Robert G. Collins (essay date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Collins, Robert G. Introduction to The Hand of the Arch-Sinner: Two Angrian Chronicles of Branwell Brontë, edited by Robert G. Collins, pp. ix-xliii. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.

[In the following essay, Collins offers a comprehensive introduction to two of Brontë's Angrian chronicles, The Life of … Northangerland and Real Life in Verdopolis, describing their inception among the tales of the Brontë children's “Great Glasstown Confederacy” and noting their emphasis on the figure of the Luciferian anti-hero.]

I only feel that every power—
And Thou hadst given much to me—
Was spent upon the present hour,
Was never turned, my God, to...

(The entire section is 14746 words.)