Emma Brown

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Emma brown novel.jpg
Cover of Emma Brown
Author Clare Boylan, Charlotte Brontë
Language English
Publisher Little, Brown
Publication date
ISBN 0-316-72611-7

Emma is the title of a manuscript by Charlotte Brontë, left incomplete when she died in 1855.[1][2]

It was completed by Clare Boylan and published as Emma Brown in 2003.

Original manuscript[edit]

Brontë began work on Emma in 1853. Her marriage in 1854 and the lukewarm enthusiasm of her husband for the project may have contributed to her slow progress towards completion.[3] The manuscript was left unfinished at her death in 1855.[4]

The original twenty-page[5] manuscript consists of two chapters[3] describing the arrival of an apparently wealthy young girl, "Matilda Fitzgibbon", at an expensive private school. It transpires that her identity is fake, and that her school fees will not be paid. The child is unable to answer any questions as to her true identity.

Savery's completion[edit]

Constance Savery published a completion in 1980.

Boylan's completion[edit]

Boylan "steeped herself in letters and writings"[3] and acknowledged the assistance of several notable Brontë scholars in her afterword to the novel. Boylan developed the story as a mystery novel, using two characters from Brontë's original chapters who work together to solve the puzzle of the eponymous girl's identity:[4] Mrs. Chalfont, a widow introduced as a narrator in the manuscript, and Mr. Ellin, a lawyer who accepts the challenge the girl represents.


The novel was favourably reviewed[3][4] but was not regarded as a faithful continuation of the style and voice of Brontë. Boylan's Telegraph obituary concluded that she "conveyed little of the deep moral and theological framework that underpinned Charlotte Brontë's writing."[6]


  1. ^ Saverio Tomaiuolo Victorian Unfinished Novels: The Imperfect Page - 2012 Page 9 "'Emma' is composed of only two chapters. The first of these Brontëan completions, published in 1980, was entitled Emma and was written by 'Charlotte Brontë and Another Lady'. At first, the novel was attributed to Elizabeth Goudge, but its .
  2. ^ Robert Bernard The Accents of Persuasion: Charlotte Brontë's Novels 2013 "What might have succeeded had Miss Bronte not died in her thirty-ninth year, we can hardly guess (certainly, the fragment of a novel called Emma is no indication), but Villette remains as the ..."
  3. ^ a b c d Seymour, Miranda (2 May 2004). "'Emma Brown': Reader, She Finished It". New York Times. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Miller, Lucasta (13 September 2003). "Reader, she married him". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Demanski, Laura (13 April 2004). "Author picks up where Brontë left off". News-Herald. Arizona. p. 6. Retrieved 3 June 2010. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Clare Boylan, Obituary". Telegraph. 18 May 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 

External links[edit]