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Charlotte Brontë

"A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow ..."

Charlotte Brontë, The Professor (1846)

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"On the contrary, I'm a universal patriot, if you could understand me rightly: my country is the world."

Charlotte Brontë, The Professor (1846)

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"Had I been in anything inferior to him, he would not have hated me so thoroughly, but I knew all that he knew, and, what was worse, he suspected that I kept the padlock of silence on mental wealth in which he was no sharer."

Charlotte Brontë, The Professor (1846)

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"Better to be without logic than without feeling."

Charlotte Brontë, The Professor (1846)

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"Novelists should never allow themselves to weary of the study of real life."

Charlotte Brontë, The Professor (1846)

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"I was no pope -- I could not boast infallibility ..."

Charlotte Brontë, The Professor (1846)

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"Too often do reviewers remind us of the mob of Astrologers, Chaldeans, and Soothsayers gathered before 'the writing on the wall,' and unable to read the characters or make known the interpretation."

Charlotte Brontë, biographical note (1850) to Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847)

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"This I know: the writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master -- something that, at times, strangely wills and works for itself."

Charlotte Brontë, biographical note (1850) to Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847)

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"The practice of hinting by single letters those expletives with which profane and violent persons are wont to garnish their discourse, strikes me as a proceeding which, however, well meant, is weak and futile. I cannot tell what good it does -- what feeling it spares -- what horror it conceals."

Charlotte Brontë, biographical note (1850) to Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847)

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"It is hard work to control the workings of inclination and turn the bent of nature; but that it may be done, I know from experience. God has given us, in a measure, the power to make our own fate."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"Feeling without judgment is a washy draught indeed; but judgment untempered by feeling is too bitter and husky a morsel for human deglutition."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among stones."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"Vain favor! coming, like most other favors long deferred and often wished for, too late!"

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"To this crib I always took my doll; human beings must love something, and in the dearth of worthier objects of affection, I contrived to find a pleasure in loving and cherishing a faded graven image, shabby as a miniature scarecrow. It puzzles me now to remember with what absurd sincerity I doted on this little toy, half fancying it alive and capable of sensation. I could not sleep unless it was folded in my night-gown; and when it lay there safe and warm, I was comparatively happy, believing it to be happy likewise."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"One does not jump, and spring, and shout hurrah! at hearing one has got a fortune, one begins to consider responsibilities, and to ponder business."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"Something of vengeance I had tasted for the first time; as aromatic wine it seemed, on swallowing, warm and racy: its afterflavor, metallic and corroding, gave me a sensation as if I had been poisoned."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs. With this creed, revenge never worries my heart, degradation never too deeply disgusts me, injustice never crushes me too low. I live in calm, looking to the end."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. "

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"... remorse is the poison of life."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"Reason sits firm and holds the reins, and she will not let the feelings burst away and hurry her to wild chasms. The passions may rage furiously, like true heathens, as they are; and the desires may imagine all sorts of vain things: but judgment shall still have the last word in every argument, and the casting vote in every decision."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"... as much good-will may be conveyed in one hearty word as in many."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigor; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?"

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter -- often an unconscious, but still a truthful interpreter -- in the eye."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"Reader, I married him."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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"Of late years an abundant shower of curates has fallen upon the North of England."

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"Look twice before you leap."

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"... I feel monotony and death to be almost the same."

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"Unromantic as Monday morning."

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"Give him enough rope and he will hang himself."

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"Misery generates hate ..."

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"Cheerfulness, it would appear, is a matter which depends fully as much on the state of things within, as on the state of things without and around us."

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"I am always easy of belief when the creed pleases me."

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"For those who are not hungry, it is easy to palaver about the degradation of charity ..."

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"Fortune is proverbially called changeful, yet her caprice often takes the form of repeating again and again a similar stroke of luck in the same quarter."

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"Nervous alarms should always be communicated, that they may be dissipated."

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"Is there not a terrible hollowness, mockery, want, craving, in that existence which is given away to others, for want of something of your own to bestow it on?"

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (1849)

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"No mockery in this world ever sounds to me as hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. ... Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure."

Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853)

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"A depressing and difficult passage has prefaced every new page I have turned in life."

Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853)

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"Fifine was a frank gourmand; anybody could win her heart through her palate."

Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853)

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"I suppose animals kept in cages, and so scantily fed as to be always upon the verge of famine, await their food as I awaited a letter ... The letter -- the well-beloved letter -- would not come; and it was all of sweetness in life I had to look for."

Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853)

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"I would have praised him: I had plenty of praise in my heart; but alas! no words on my lips. Who has words at the right moment?"

Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853)

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"I like to see flowers growing, but when they are gathered, they cease to please. I look on them as things rootless and perishable; their likeness to life makes me sad. I never offer flowers to those I love; I never wish to receive them from hands dear to me."

Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853)

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"Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation."

Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853)

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"The idea of seeing the sea -- of being near it -- watching its changes by sunrise, sunset, moonlight, and noonday -- in calm, perhaps in storm -- fills and satisfies my mind."

Charlotte Brontë, 1839, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 1 (1857)

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"Write to me, dear, whenever you can. You do a good deed when you send me a letter, for you comfort a very desolate heart."

Charlotte Brontë, 1843, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 1 (1857)

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"Bringing out our little books was hard work. The great puzzle lay in the difficulty of getting answers of any kind from the publishers to whom we applied."

Charlotte Brontë, 1845, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 1 (1857)

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"Even at the risk of appearing very exacting, I can't help saying that I should like a letter as long as your last, every time you write. Short notes give one the feeling of a very small piece of a good thing to eat, - they set the appetite on edge, and don't satisfy it, - a letter leaves you more contented; and yet, after all I am very glad to get notes; so don't think, when you are pinched for time and materials, that it is useless to write a few lines; be assured, a few lines are very acceptable as far as they go; and though I like long letters, I would by no means have you to make a task of writing them."

Charlotte Brontë, 1847, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 2 (1857)

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"I shall be thirty-one next birthday. My youth is gone like a dream; and very little use have I ever made of it. What have I done these last thirty years? Precious little."

Charlotte Brontë, 1847, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 2 (1857)

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"I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward."

Charlotte Brontë, 1849, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 2 (1857)

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"Youth has its romance, and maturity its wisdom, as morning and spring have their freshness, noon and summer their power, night and winter their repose. Each attribute is good in its own season."

Charlotte Brontë, 1850, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 2 (1857)

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"I shall be glad to hear from you whenever you have time to write to me, but you are never, on any account, to do this except when inclination prompts and leisure permits. I should never thank you for a letter which you had felt it a task to write."

Charlotte Brontë, 1850, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 2 (1857)

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"... I ought to be put in prison, and kept on bread and water in solitary confinement - without even a letter from Cornhill - till I had written a book. One of two things would certainly result from such a mode of treatment pursued for twelve months; either I should come out at the end of that time with a three-volume MS. in my hand, or else with a condition of intellect that would exempt me ever after from literary efforts and expectations."

Charlotte Brontë, 1851, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 2 (1857)

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"... if we would build on a sure foundation in friendship, we must love our friends for their sakes rather than for our own; we must look at their truth to themselves, full as much as their truth to us."

Charlotte Brontë, 1851, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 2 (1857)

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"Thank you for your letter; it was as pleasant as a quiet chat, as welcome as spring showers, as reviving as a friend's visit; in short, it was very like a page of 'Cranford.'"

Charlotte Brontë, 1853, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 2 (1857)

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"My home is humble and unattractive to strangers, but to me it contains what I shall find nowhere else in the world -- the ... affection which brothers and sisters feel for each other."

Charlotte Brontë, in Clement King Shorter, Charlotte Brontë and Her Sisters (1905)

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"You know full as well as I do the value of sisters' affections to each other; there is nothing like it in this world."

Charlotte Brontë, in Clement King Shorter, ed., The Brontës: Life and Letters, vol. 1 (1908)

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"We wove a web in childhood, / A web of sunny air."

Charlotte Brontë, "Retrospection" (1846), in Clement King Shorter and Charles William Hatfield, eds., The Complete Poems of Charlotte Brontë (1924)

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"There is nothing I fear so much as idleness, the want of occupation, inactivity, the lethargy of the faculties; when the body is idle, the spirit suffers painfully."

Charlotte Brontë, to M. Héger (1844), in Muriel Spark, ed., The Letters of The Brontës: A Selection (1954)

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"It seems to me, Monsieur, that there is nothing more galling in great physical misfortunes than to be compelled to make all those about us share in our sufferings. The ills of the soul one can hide, but those which attack the body and destroy the faculties cannot be concealed."

Charlotte Brontë, to M. Héger (1845), in Muriel Spark, ed., The Letters of The Brontës: A Selection (1954)

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"... imagination is a strong, restless faculty, which claims to be heard and exercised: are we to be quite deaf to her cry, and insensate to her struggles? When she shows us bright pictures, are we never to look at them, and try to reproduce them? And when she is eloquent, and speaks rapidly and urgently in our ear, are we not to write to her dictation?"

Charlotte Brontë, to George Henry Lewes (1847), in Muriel Spark, ed., The Letters of The Brontës: A Selection (1954)

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"... flattery would be worse than vain; there is no consolation in flattery."

Charlotte Brontë, to George Henry Lewes (1849), in Muriel Spark, ed., The Letters of The Brontës: A Selection (1954)

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"... I wished critics would judge me as an author, not as a woman."

Charlotte Brontë, to George Henry Lewes (1850), in Muriel Spark, ed., The Letters of The Brontës: A Selection (1954)

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"My relatives, Ellis and Acton Bell, and myself, heedless of the repeated warnings of various respectable publishers, have committed the rash act of printing a volume of poems. The consequences predicted have, of course, overtaken us: our book is found to be a drug; no man needs it or heeds it. In the space of a year our publisher has disposed but of two copies, and by what painful efforts he succeeded in getting rid of these two, himself only knows. Before transferring the edition to the trunkmakers, we have decided on distributing as presents a few copies of what we cannot sell; and we beg to offer you one in acknowledgement of the pleasure and profit we have often and long derived from your works. -- I am, sir, yours very respectfully, Currer Bell."

Charlotte Brontë, in Muriel Spark, ed., The Letters of The Brontës: A Selection (1954)

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"Talented people almost always know full well the excellence that is in them."

Charlotte Brontë, 1846, in Margaret Smith, ed., The Letters of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 1 (1995)

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"Adversity is a good school."

Charlotte Brontë, 1839, in Margaret Smith, ed., The Letters of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 1 (1995)

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"I'm just going to write because I cannot help it."

Charlotte Brontë, 1836, in Margaret Smith, ed., The Letters of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 1 (1995)

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"I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had courage to go forth into its expanse ..."

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

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Charlotte Brontë, English writer, poet
(1816 - 1855)

Charlotte Brontë sometimes used the pseudonym Currer Bell; Anne Brontë used  Acton Bell, and Emily Brontë used Ellis Bell.