Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte (Ellis Bell)

Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell


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In 1846, the sisters' poems were published in one volume as . The Brontë sisters had adopted pseudonyms for publication, preserving their initials: Charlotte was "Currer Bell", Emily was "Ellis Bell" and Anne was "Acton Bell". Charlotte wrote in the 'Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell' that their "ambiguous choice" was "dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because... we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice". Charlotte contributed 20 poems, and Emily and Anne each contributed 21. Although the sisters were told several months after publication that only two copies had sold, they were not discouraged (of their two readers, one was impressed enough to request their autographs). reviewer praised Ellis Bell's work for its music and power, singling out his poems as the best: "Ellis possesses a fine, quaint spirit and an evident power of wing that may reach heights not here attempted", and reviewer recognised "the presence of more genius than it was supposed this utilitarian age had devoted to the loftier exercises of the intellect."

Writing in an age where women novelists were considered inferior and even immoral, the sisters took male pseudonyms. Currer Bell was Charlotte, Ellis Bell was Emily and Acton Bell was Anne.

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Emily Jane Brontë (, ; 30 July 1818 – 19 December 1848) was an English novelist and poet who is best known for her only novel, , now considered a classic of . Emily was the third eldest of the four surviving , between the youngest and her brother . She wrote under the pen name Ellis Bell.

It was the discovery of Emily's poetic talent by Charlotte that led her and her sisters to publish a jointcollection of their poetry in 1846, Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. To evade contemporary prejudice againstfemale writers, the Brontë sisters adopted androgynous first names. All three retained the same initials: Charlottebecame Currer Bell, Anne became Acton Bell and Emily became Ellis Bell.