Vipont clearly intended to present a balanced view of the influences on Brontë’s life—familial, literary, social, and political. This is evident from Vipont’s suggestions for further reading and her use of personal letters written between family members and between Brontë and her friends Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. Vipont frequently cites Brontë’s own poetry throughout the biography. She also indicates that Brontë’s final wish was for Branwell to seek a career as a portrait painter in London, where, she believed, his gift for portraiture would soon “establish” him in good (middle-class) society.
Early in Weaver of Dreams, Vipont establishes that Brontë’s creative talents were initially fostered through sibling play and rivalry. Her life and writing, Vipont informs the reader, were also fostered by her father and later by her aunt, Elizabeth Branwell, who cared for the children after their mother’s death. At Haworth Parsonage, there was a variety of reading material ranging from ornithology to fables and fairy tales, to religious tracts. Further, given the reverend’s own studies at the University of Cambridge, his involvement in Tory politics, and his predilection for reading the newspaper to his children, it is not surprising that the heroes of Brontë’s imaginative play and literary productions were shaped by early nineteenth century political life: the Duke of Wellington’s militarism, Lord Palmerston’s politics, and the violent class struggles of the Luddite Riots. Vipont writes: “It never occurred to them that politics belonged to the adult world.” A Tory from the beginning, the young Brontë lived in a world of familial, literary, social, and political influences.
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