The Brontes: Selected Poems

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Download the audiobook from, 2011
Barnaby Edwards' production offers real value for money. On this audiobook - downloadable from ITunes,, as well as the Textbook Stuff website ( - Edwards and Miriam Margolyes read no fewer than forty poems from the entire Bronte family (Emily, Charlotte, Anne and Branwell), plus a bonus extract from Elizabeth Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Bronte.
Throughout the sequence, certain common themes emerge: the relationship of individuals to the world of nature around them, human mutability, a preoccupation with death (and possible resurrection), as well as a desire to use poetry as a form of emotional expression. These ideas also predominate in the Brontes' most famous novels (Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall). The poems vary in length and style, including lyrics, elegies, paeans of praise as well as narrative verse.
Stylistically speaking, all the Brontes favoured the iambic pentameter. Sometimes their efforts resembled formal experiments, as they drew upon established poetic conventions in an attempt to discover their own particular authorial voices. Nonetheless Margolyes and Edwards made the poems come alive in different ways. Margoyles' rendition of Emily, Charlotte and Anne's poems suggested that all three women were at ease with themselves, even while speculating on metaphyiscal matters. Edwards' reading of Branwell's poems suggested a fundamentally weak person desperately trying to come to terms with a patriarchal society (where men were supposed to dominate).
Edwards' reading of Elizabeth Gaskell's biography of Charlotte Bronte painted a picture of the older Charlotte, whose failing eyesight did nothing to dampen her creative energies. The extract also proved how proud the Bronte family were of their collective efforts - even though Emily and Anne died comparatively young, they left a lasting impression on the nineteenth century literary canon.
The Brontes' poems is only one of a series of literary audiobooks published by It is well worth listening to, as it shows just how prolific the family were in terms of output.