A Vivid Visual Portrait of the Brontë Sisters' Lives

In early 2012, I watched a video called "The Brontë Sisters," which I'd borrowed from Netflix. (It's also available for sale from Amazon.com.) This video is part of "The Famous Authors Series"; companion works cover many other literary giants, from Shakespeare to Orwell. (The same company also has produced "The Famous Composers Series.")

Its 30-minute run length looked ideal for my short attention span, but less suitable for fleshing out the lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. I was impressed with how much interesting material the producers managed to squeeze into that scant time.

A narrator (with a regrettably dry delivery) talks the viewer through the sisters' lives, from their father's upbringing and marriage through the death of Charlotte, the longest surviving of the trio. In between, we see various pictures of the sisters (most often, a portrait of the three painted by their brother Branwell); vintage drawings and current video of the places where they lived; and some fascinating artifacts, even including a storybook that a very young Charlotte wrote and illustrated (for Branwell's amusement, if memory serves).

This quick overview obviously can't compare to the type of in-depth research compiled in works such as Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life. Still, I found it well worth a half hour's viewing time.