On 16 July 1855, Patrick Brontë wrote to Mrs. Gaskell, acknowledging her as the person “best qualified” to write an account of Charlotte’s life and works, and asking if she would agree to the task (SHB. XV. 190-191). Within a week, Gaskell arrived at Haworth Parsonage to discuss the biography. From the beginning, she intended to do much more than the “brief account of [Charlotte’s] life and . . . some remarks on her works” for which Patrick had asked
Gaskell’s biography was to be a tribute to both the woman and the writer; she also intended it to be an expression of their treasured friendship, as she said in her letters both before and after the book’s publication. Indeed, before she had even been approached by Patrick Brontë, she had written to Charlotte’s publisher, George Smith, that she longed to “publish what I know of her, and make the world . . . honour the woman as much as they have admired the writer” (345). And when the “unlucky book” was published, and Gaskell was “in the Hornet’s nest with a vengeance” (453) from those unhappy with their particular portrayals, she stood true to herfriend’s memory, asking Charles Kingsley to “[r]espect & value the memory of Charlotte Brontë as she deserves” (452), and telling Ellen Nussey:
Here you can read an opinion completely different: guardian/classics.charlottebronte
Since her death 150 years ago, Charlotte Brontë has been sanitised as a dull, Gothic drudge. Far from it, says Tanya Gold; the author was a filthy, frustrated, sex-obsessed genius.