Very few families produce one outstanding writer. The Bronte family produced three. The works of Charlotte, Emily and Anne remain immensely popular, and are increasingly being studied in relation to the surroundings and wider context that formed them. The forty-two new essays in this book tell 'the Bronte story' as it has never been told before, drawing on the latest research and the best available scholarship while offering new perspectives on the writings of the sisters. A section on Bronte criticism traces their reception to the present day. The works of the sisters are explored in the context of social, political and cultural developments in early-nineteenth-century Britain, with attention given to religion, education, art, print culture, agriculture, law and medicine. Crammed with information, The Brontes in Context shows how the Brontes' fiction interacts with the spirit of the time, suggesting reasons for its enduring fascination.