On this date in English literary history - July 30, 1818, novelist Emily Bronte was born. The Bronte family lived in the remote village of Haworth on the bleak Yorkshire moors and were largely left to their own devices after the death of their mother when Emily was an infant. A shy, reclusive child, Emily suffered intensely from homesickness whenever she left the parsonage. She joined her three older sisters at a school for clergymen's children when she was six, but the two oldest died, partly because of the school's harsh and unhealthy conditions. She and Charlotte returned home. The girls, along with their sister Anne and brother Branwell, read voraciously and created their own elaborate stories about mythical lands. Many of Emily's poems were written about these imaginary realms.
Bronte worked several short, unhappy stints as a governess and schoolteacher. In 1842, Emily and Charlotte traveled to Brussels to study school administration, hoping to open their own school in Haworth one day, which they never accomplished. In 1845, Charlotte came across some poems Emily and Anne had written and revealed that she too had secretly been writing verse. They published the work, Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, in 1846. Although the book sold poorly, the sisters continued writing. Emily published Wuthering Heights in 1847. She died of tuberculosis a year later, on December 19, 1848. A second edition of Wuthering Heights, published in 1850, included a preface by Charlotte, explaining that the book was superior to her own Jane Eyre. Wuthering Heights is now considered a classic.