The British Library’s major new exhibition Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as you know it reveals the imaginary worlds of the Brontë children. http://www.bl.uk/
Scholars such as W. D. Paden in An Investigation of Gondal (1958) have deftly recovered much of the history of Gondal despite Charlotte's destruction of the plays and prose after her sisters' deaths, from the birthday notes, the undated lists of character names Anne wrote, the list of place names she wrote into a copy of J. Goldsmith's A Grammar of General Geography (1819), and Emily's and Anne's Gondal poems.
Recently, however, feminist critics have taken special note of the prominent role played by the queen, A.G.A. Christine Gallant, for example, calls attention to the fact that Gondal is "a mythic world emphatically excluding the real world" known to Victorian women, controlled by a "dominating presence of female figures." Teddi Lynn Chichester believes that Brontë was continually working through her own loss of significant female figures, that "through Augusta, Brontë could explore, in private, her need to create a powerful, even indestructible" woman, and that A.G.A. "ultimately reinforced the disturbing connection between mortality and the feminine" that is such a potent undercurrent in Western literature.
Richard Benvenuto points out that without the years Brontë spent "developing her Gondal imagination, the mature imagination she did attain would have been a considerably different mode of vision." While a knowledge of the facts of Gondal can deepen the reader's understanding of Brontë's creative life, we can still appreciate the poems for their merits apart from their place in the Gondal saga. In writing the Gondal poems Brontë took on different voices and personae, and the themes of imprisonment and death that inform her better-known poetry were first explored therein. The dark and overpowering emotions first manifested in these poems certainly fed her invention of Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.
The luxury Brontë enjoyed of freely flowing from domestic responsibilities at the parsonage to the world of Gondal and the mental and emotional sustenance she found therein was cut short in July 1835, when she accompanied Charlotte, now a teacher, to Roe Head. For Brontë--removed from her routine for the first time since she was six years old, extremely reticent and impatient with the other pupils in the school--the experiment was unhappy and unsuccessful. Moreover, because her daily schedule was now rigidly proscribed, she had no time to engage in the intellectually sustaining creation of the Gondal stories, and she was no longer living with Anne, her partner in the fantasy.
Charlotte later recalled her firm belief that Brontë "would die if she did not go home, and with this conviction obtained her recall." Charlotte understood only too well the void caused by the absence of "sources purely imaginary": she too grieved for her inability to interact with her visions of Angria. The combination of homesickness and creative deprivation forced Brontë home in October 1835, but her dependence on Yorkshire to free her poetic originality should not be overstated. She forced herself to leave home again two more times, to teach at Law Hill and to study in Brussels, and these journeys broadened rather than stultified her inventive abilities.