The release of the film Emily reminds us that the jealousy or the spirit of competition of the Brontë siblings also affected other great families of Anglo-Saxon artists.
For the vulgum pecus, almost inseparable, they will remain for eternity “the Bronte sisters“. But who remembers Vanessa, Virginia Woolf’s sister? And what about Lavinia Dickinson, forgotten among the forgotten. Several books and a few films recount the complicated relationship between these famous Anglo-Saxon novelists and their sisters. Her first film, the Australian actress Frances O’Connor wanted to devote it exclusively, or almost, to Emily Brontë (1818-1848), the British author of Stormwind Heights and the youngest of her siblings.
This classic of literature, which is also the unique book of the novelist, is often drowned in a whole: that of the romantic work of the so-calledBronte sisters» made up largely of two other classics, Jane Eyre written by Charlotte and The tenant of Wildfell hall written by Anna.
Read alsoOur review of Emily: in the Brontë family, we ask for Emily
«Not a biopic», the film titled Emily wanna “highlight“The only destiny of the novelist, who died at the age of thirty after a solitary existence in the presbytery of Haworth in Yorkshire, where her father was a pastor. He is not satisfied with evoking a destiny but also returns to the relationship “complex» that Emily Brontë maintained with her sisters, and more particularly with the eldest, Charlotte. “There was something like a power struggle“, underlines the director, whose scenario took liberties with reality but who claims to have”consulted numerous bibliographical sources».
The filmmaker analyzes the origin of this difference in temperament: “I think the real Charlotte was not jealous but probably upset because, unlike Emily who spent her days cloistered in her room writing, she had to work».
Despite this, Charlotte tried to protect her sisters. “You have to remember that when they came out, (their books) were very controversial. The Wuthering Heights got very bad reviews. We wondered who could have written such a dark book. Charlotte was present to provide after-sales service“, supports the director.
Emily by Frances O’Connor in 2023, with Emma Mackey, Fionn Whitehead…
Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, her painter sister
Accomplices but rivals, this is how Laura Ulonati sums up the relationship between Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) and her older sister, the painter Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), in her book Double V, published in early January by Actes Sud.
Here again, the book does not claim to be a biography but offers a romantic dive into the sources of the relationship between the two sisters. If Vanessa”was known before Virginia“, his life remained largely in the shadow of that of the writer ofA room of one’s own and D’Orlando.
And to go back, bibliography in support, the thread of a relationship nourished by rivalry. Whether artistic (there can only be one genius in the family), loving or maternal. Virginia had no children, Vanessa had three. Rivalry fed by the obsession to obtainfather’s gaze“, assures the author of Double V.
Still, the two sisters have never left each other. “There was a sincere admiration between them“. Admiration that comes to life in the portrait of Virginia painted by her eldest in 1912. And finally; “Virginia will have been one of Vanessa’s great supportersconcludes Laura Ulonati.
Lavinia Dickinson et… Emily Dickinson
Lavinia Dickinson also played a decisive role in the fame of her sister, the immense American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), as the Quebecer Dominique Fortier recounts in The white shadowsreleased in France in January by Grasset.
Continuation of paper towns (Renaudot prize for essays in 2020), where she “reinvented without betraying it“the life of the”recluse d’Amherst», this second work between the novel and the essay returns to the work of Lavinia, who had promised to burn the poems of Emily after the disappearance, in the posthumous publication of the manuscripts of her sister. “We can imagine that their relationship was difficult“says Dominique Fortier, for whom”Emily’s very introverted personality made her particularly hard to live with“. But the role of Lavinia “was decisive. Because without it, today we would not have access to the work of Emily Dickinson.».