chapter  5
13 Pages

Reading the imperial imaginary of “A Leaf from an Unopened Volume”

BySUE THOMAS

In The Brontës’ Web of Childhood (1941), Fannie Ratchford describes “A Leaf from an Unopened Volume” as “Charlotte’s wildest Angrian romance” (199):

The most melodramatic and unpleasant of all her writing, it is a confused medley of intrigue, licentiousness, and fraternal hate, with illegitimate or disowned children, dwarfs, and Negroes playing leading parts. As none of the events which make up its long, loosely woven plot become an accepted part of Angrian history, it is interesting chiefly in contrast to her admonition in a letter to a friend to “adhere to standard authors and avoid novelty.” Sage advice while she herself was exploring the slums of literature!