|NPG 1724, “Emily Brontë.” But it might be Anne. |
Photo: The National Portrait Gallery.
"Less than two hundred years later, in the hands of biographers and scholars, early Brontë Society goons and her sister Charlotte, Emily Brontë seems to have turned to dust. Because there are so few, the smallest biographical shred transfixes us and leads to all kinds of fanciful yarn-spinning. And though I know a spun yarn when I read one, and though I fancy myself something of a detangler rather than a spinner, one story in particular has always held my attention. One “fact” I’ve “known” for a long time is that Emily Brontë’s coffin was only sixteen inches wide, which was, I knew, very small. The thinness of her frame wasn’t lost on me; I was impressed with this fact every time I read it. It never occurred to me to question the veracity of this story, even though I live in a perpetual state of questioning veracity."
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