Two Southern Brontës
Major Nathaniel Ware's wanderings, and the illness of their mother Sarah, gave Catherine Ann and Eleanor reason to feel abandoned, a circumstance that led them toward literary self-expression. Their poetry concerned the loss of their mother; and later, their prose fiction explored an ambivalence about their father. In accordance with the custom of the family, the sisters married early. Their husbands were tolerant, well-born gentlemen of little ambition or talent—good choices for these strong-minded women. At the very least, they did not interfere with the constant testing and probing to which the sisters subjected each other and which they thought was unambiguous love. Catherine and Ellen may have begun their cooperative literary enterprise years before their marriages, largely to please the major. As precocious children, they had both marvelled at the extensive library that Ware had developed.
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