Anne Brontë’s “Views of Life”

Anne Brontë wrote the first few stanzas of her poem “Views of Life” in early 1844 and the latter part of the composition around June 1845. The text first appeared in Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (London: Aylott & Jones), the book that Anne and her sisters Charlotte and Emily published pseudonymously in 1846.

This is a two-page manuscript of the final nine stanzas. The first part of the manuscript is in the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. In manuscript form, the poem is untitled and does not include lines 33–36.

The Morgan manuscript comprises one sheet of paper, written on both sides, bound in gold-tooled blue leather. The binding was likely created around the turn of the twentieth-century, when numerous Brontë manuscripts were being sold on the autograph market. The binder (who did not sign their work) attached the single manuscript leaf to a larger sheet, added some twenty-four blank sheets to fill out the volume, and gilded the edges of the paper.
Introduction, notes, and manuscript transcriptions by Christine Nelson, Drue Heinz Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts, 2019.

Note on the text

A transcription of Brontë’s manuscript text, including cancelled words, is provided. Her original spelling and capitalization are retained. An effort has been made to transcribe her punctuation marks, though many are ambiguous. The poem first appeared in Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (London: Aylott & Jones, 1846); the published text is provided below the manuscript text to allow for comparison. The poem appears in Edward Chitham’s edition The Poems of Anne Brontë: A New Text and Commentary (London: Macmillan, 1979), poem 42.

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Anne Brontë
Views of life : autograph manuscript signed of the last nine stanzas : Haworth, 1845 June
The Henry Houston Bonnell Brontë Collection. Bequest of Helen Safford Bonnell, 1969, MA 2696.8