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For almost two centuries both general readers and scholars have been intrigued by the writings that sprang from the fertile imaginations of a curate's children raised on the moors of Yorkshire. Covering not only the three Bronte sisters who have attracted the most attention (Anne, Charlotte, and Emily) but also their brother, Branwell, and their father, Patrick, this guide provides a wealth of information about their lives and works and the society in which they lived, as well as historical and critical perspectives on their writings. The more than 1,000 alphabetically arranged entries include lengthy articles on each Bronte and his or her individual works and shorter entries on characters and places in the writings and real people, places, and other entities associated with them. In addition, numerous substantive thematic and topical entries (for example, Art of the Brontes, Health and medicine, Psychoanalytic approaches) help to elucidate the Brontes' world and their creative output. Bibliographical references generally accompany longer entries, and a selective bibliography appears at the end of the volume. The latter provides no references to relevant Internet sites, an unfortunate omission, since useful tools for studying the Brontes are available on the Web. Additional features include a generous network of cross-references, a number of black-and-white illustrations, a chronology, and a section that identifies dialect and obsolete words in the Brontes' writings. Providing an overview of the entire work is a classified index that arranges entries into topical categories, enabling users to find, for example, all entries relating to adaptations of the Brontes' works or to places where they traveled. As Bronte scholars, Alexander and Smith are highly qualified to have undertaken this project, and they and the seven other contributors have created a valuable compendium of impeccable scholarship. Containing more than twice as many entries as The Brontes: A to Z (Facts On File, 2003), this excellent guide is the most comprehensive and scholarly reference companion to the Brontes now available. It is highly recommended for all academic libraries and larger public libraries. Marie EllisCopyright ® American Library Association. All rights reserved--This text refers to the Hardcoveredition. The Oxford Companion to the Brontes provides both comprehensive and detailed information about the lives, works, and reputations of the Brontes - the three sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, and their father and brother Branwell - all of whom were published writers. It is the first time so much information about the family has been gathered together in an A-Z reference book. The story of the Brontes has become the stuff of myth: three women living on the wild Yorkshire moors, writing works of weird and wonderful genius. Charlotte Bronte claimed that her sister Emily's novel Wuthering Heights was 'hewn in a wild workshop'. Inspired by a deep love of nature and an intensely private imaginative world it certainly was, but Emily's novel, like those of her sisters, is engaged with 19th-century issues and debates. The Brontes lived in a thriving woollen-mill town and participated in local activities - the church, education, concerts, elections, exhibitions. They devoured the latest newspapers and journals, and kept abreast of politics. Their reading was wide and eclectic. A central purpose of the Companion is to evoke the milieu in which they lived and worked, revealing the complex interrelation between their lives, writings, and times. Long entries surveying the Brontes lives and works are supplemented by entries on friends and acquaintances, pets, literary and political heroes; on the places they knew and the places they imagined; on their letters, drawings and paintings; on historical events such as Chartism, the Peterloo Massacre and the Ashantee Wars; on exploration, slavery, and religion. Selected entries on the characters and places in the Bronte juvenilia provide a glimpse into their early ima