We know about Emily Brontë (who gave us Wuthering Heights, Cathy, Heathcliff, Laurence Olivier in leather britches striding across Hollywood moors – for which, absolutely, many thanks – and Kate Bush) and Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre, the red room, mad wife in the attic, blinded Byronic hero who nevertheless sees through the heroine’s plain exterior to love the passionate heart within). But who, really, has heard of Anne Brontë? We are more likely to know about their drunken brother Branwell, who never got his act together, than we are about the third sister. Why is she the underdog, the unknown Brontë, when any reading of their collected works will show her talent burning as brightly and as fiercely as those of her famous sisters?
Those who watched TV over the festive period could be forgiven for thinking that people in the past barely bothered to get dressed. In And Then There Were None, the BBC’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery, we were treated to Aidan Turner, playing one of the chief suspects, naked and deliciously slippy in nothing but a bath towel. This weekend, in Andrew Davies’s version of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, brother and sister Hélène and Anatole Kuragin will be seen snuggling incestuously in bed.
Related: Incestuous affair 'crucial' to BBC's War and Peace series
In a bold new feature version of Jane Eyre, director Cary Joji Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) and screenwriter Moira Buffini (Tamara Drewe) infuse a contemporary immediacy into Charlotte Brontë’s timeless, classic story. Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) star in the iconic lead roles of the romantic drama, the heroine of which continues to inspire new generations of devoted readers and viewers.
For over 160 years, Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre has been one of the world’s most popular books. A mainstay of school reading lists, it has been translated into virtually every language. A story with a protagonist whom Brontë saw as “a heroine as plain and small as myself,
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