Page:The complete poems of Emily Bronte.djvu/38

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xxxiv
POEMS OF EMILY BRONTË

II

The recognition of Emily Brontë's great powers did not come in her lifetime, and though authoritative voices have spoken, her place is even yet disputed. I have referred to the criticisms published at the time. Jane Eyre was originally published under the title Jane Eyre: an Autobiography, edited by Currer Bell. The word 'edited' was, of course, put in to negative the idea that Currer Bell was writing the history of her own life. But critics of the time misunderstood and were suspicious. The Athenæum in reviewing Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, said: 'Jane Eyre, it will be recollected, was edited by Mr. Currer Bell. Here are two tales so nearly related to Jane Eyre in cast of thought, incident, and language as to excite some curiosity. All three might be the work of one hand—but the first issued remains the best.' It is to be feared that Mr. Newby sought some advantage from the suspicion. He advertised Wuthering Heights (leaving out Agnes Grey) along with Mrs. Crowe's Nightside of Nature, a work not quite forgotten. In his advertisement he quoted from the Athenæum and also from the Spectator, which said: 'The