Part One: A-Q
When setting up this site a few months ago, it was my intention to introduce readers to the Brontë juvenilia in the hope of inspiring people to actually read texts from Charlotte and Branwell’s Glass Town/Angrian saga. Sadly most of Emily and Anne’s Gondal saga has been lost to time and what remains is difficult to make sense of. However, you can read more about it here. I’m an avid reader of Charlotte’s early fiction (even completing my MA dissertation on the subject) and I’m steadily making my way through some of Branwell’s narratives so in time, this will be a more polished piece, however, it’s a good introduction to some characters and settings from the saga if you ever do decide to read the Brontë juvenilia, or simply want some more information on their content. Charlotte and Branwell’s collaboration is unique in the sense that they share characters, settings, respond to one another’s texts through their own, and sometimes co-write pieces. The list below focuses mainly on the use of characters and settings in Charlotte’s work unless otherwise stated although most characters also appear in Branwell’s narratives.
The capital of the province of Angria, It is situated around 150 miles from the former capital, Verdopolis.
Alexander Percy is one of the most prominent characters in the Glass Town/Angrian saga. Originally a creation and favourite pseudonym of Branwell Brontë, Percy began life as a pirate named Rogue (spelt as Rougue by Branwell) but was incorporated into Charlotte’s work, becoming one of the primary antagonists of her narratives. Percy has many aliases throughout the juvenilia, including Lord Ellrington and the Earl of Northangerland, and sometimes adopts the role of a hypocritical Methodist preacher named Ashworth. A charismatic demagogue and political revolutionary who eventually becomes the Prime Minister of Angria after helping his son-in-law become King of Angria, Percy has a complicated history. He has many mistresses and is thrice married, firstly to the exotic Italian beauty, Augusta di Segovia during a wayward youth spent drinking and gambling. After his first wife is poisoned he marries Maria Henrietta Wharton and lives happily, seemingly a reformed character until her death from consumption. Heartbroken by her death he returns to his wild and debauched lifestyle, which is documented in The Duke of Zamorna (1838). Percy ends the saga married to Lady Zenobia Ellrington, a beautiful and formidable blue-stocking who actually pines for his eventual son-in-law, Zamorna. He is father to Mary Percy (third wife of Zamorna), and William, Edward, and Henry (who are disowned at birth by him) by Maria Henrietta, in addition to the illegitimate Caroline Vernon, whose mother is Percy’s former mistress, Louisa Vernon. He has a complicated love-hate relationship with Zamorna which plays out throughout the writings and is further complicated by Mary’s marriage to the latter in addition to Zenobia’s own passion for him.
The ancestral home of the Percy family.
The principal setting for much of Brontë’s later juvenilia. However, it is slightly more complicated that it initially seems. The Kingdom of Angria has seven provinces: Angria, Arundel, Calabar, Douro, Etrei, and Northangerland, and was created for one of the saga’s principal characters, Zamorna (also known throughout as Arthur Wellesley, the Marquis of Douro, and the King of Angria) by the Verdopolitan Parliament in 1834 as a reward for his success in war.
Native Africans and enemies of the Young Men in the earliest stories. They are natives of the Kingdom of Ashantee, an area of West Africa colonized by the Twelves in the earliest stories.
The younger brother of Charlotte who created and shared many of the characters and places used by Charlotte in her own stories. His part in the creation of the Glass Town and Angrian stories cannot be overlooked. He appears in various forms within both his and Charlotte’s juvenilia as characters such as Chief Genius Brannii.
Captain John Bud
An eminent political writer and historian in the Glass Town stories. He is a good friend of Lord Charles Wellesley and the father of the lawyer, Sergeant Bud. He is initially one of Branwell Brontë’s pseudonyms.
Tree is a famous Glass Town novelist in the earliest stories such as The Poetaster (1830) and a rival of Lord Charles Wellesley. He is also the father of Sergeant John Tree, the chief bookseller and publisher in Glass Town.
The illegitimate daughter of Northangerland and Louisa Vernon, and half-sister to Mary Percy, Henry, Edward, and Sir William Percy, Caroline first appears briefly as a child in Charlotte’s novelette Julia. However, she appears again as a teenager in The Duke of Zamorna (1838) and Caroline Vernon (1839) where she lives with her mother who has been imprisoned by Zamorna at Eden Cottage near Fidena, a city in the Verdopolitan Union.
Charlotte’s preferred persona and pseudonym throughout her early work. Charles begins life as the spoiled and often spiteful child Lord Charles Albert Florian Wellesley, youngest son of the Duke of Wellington. He is however a witty observer of Glass Town society and frequently reports on the love affairs and political scandals of his older brother, Zamorna. He eventually evolves into the fashionable figure of Charles Townshend, a dandy and struggling author who writes/narrates most of Charlotte’s Angrian novelettes.
Duke of Wellington
A character based on the real Duke of Wellington. In the Brontës’ world he is King of Wellington’s Land and is celebrated and admired for his military victories and leadership qualities. He is initially Charlotte’s chief character until his son, Zamorna, begins to dominate the narratives.
One of the seven provinces of Angria. The Marquis of Douro is another title of Zamorna at an earlier point in the saga when he is still a well-bred, noble, and talented poet.
A teacher and companion to society beauty Jane Moore. She is independent and earns her own living, however, her devotion to her disgraced brother, Captain Henry Hastings results in unhappiness and she risks the wrath of the law to protect him. Proud, loyal, and moral, she is seen by many critics and readers as a precursor to Jane Eyre due to her rejection of Sir William Percy, who desires her to become his mistress. Her sole appearance in the saga is in Henry Hastings (1839).
The home of Northangerland and his wife, Lady Zenobia, in Verdopolis.
Henry Fernando di Enara is a fierce and wild Italian General nicknamed “The Tiger”. A friend of Lord Hartford and Zamorna, he is also the commander of the Angrian forces and governor of the province of Etrei.
A dwarf and mute servant of the Marquis of Douro, Finic appears in Glass Town stories such as The Green Dwarf (1833). He is the product of a relationship between Douro and a “Negress” named Sofala.
An island established by Branwell Brontë in the early stories due to his interest in French politics and Napoleon Bonaparte. The capital is Paris and is also used in Charlotte’s narratives such as when the teenage Caroline Vernon is sent away to acquire a perfect finish in Caroline Vernon (1839).
The four Chief Genii are Talli, Branni, Emmi, and Anni (spellings vary) who are supernatural beings and guardians in the Glass Town stories. They represent the four surviving Brontë children within the stories, however, they do not appear in the later Angrian narratives. They inhabit Jimmel Kumri.
Glass Town Federation
Carved out of the Kingdom of Ashantee by the Twelves, its federal capital is the Great Glass Town, which is the setting for the Brontës’ earliest stories.
A country estate belonging to Zamorna in the province of Angria, it includes Hawkescliffe Forest and Hawkescliffe House.
Originally a pseudonym of Branwell Brontë, Hastings originates as a soldier, poet, and historian of Angria, however, by the time he features in Charlotte’s novelette, Henry Hastings (1839), he is a disgraced murderer seeking to evade capture. He is the brother of Elizabeth Hastings.
Frequently referred to as simply Montmorency, he is a Verdopoltian nobleman and wayward companion of Alexander Percy in his youth before becoming a political ally in his wars against Zamorna. He was born in Wellingtonsland but in the later tales he has been exiled to Paris where he attempts to seduce Percy’s teenage daughter, Caroline Vernon, in the the 1839 novelette of the same name. He marries Harriet O’Connor, one of Alexander Percy’s mistresses.
The third and final “play” of the Brontë children was established in December 1827. In “The Origin of the Islanders” Charlotte details its beginnings. It features Tales of the Islanders and deals predominantly with Charlotte’s characters despite the initial participation of Branwell, Emily, and Anne.
A society beauty and daughter of a prominent Angrian barrister who is known as “The Rose of Zamorna.” Elizabeth Hastings is her companion for a period.
Also known as The Mountains of the Moon, they are home to the Chief Genii in the early stories.
A cousin of Zamorna and Charles Wellesley/Townshend. In the Glass Town stories, she marries Edward Sydney, however, she later becomes Julia Thornton, wife of General Thornton.
Kirkam Lodge is the Angrian home of Jane Moore and her father.
The mother of Caroline Vernon, Louisa first appears in the saga as Louisa Allan, an opera singer. Twice married, firstly to Lord George Vernon (sometimes known as Lord Dance), and secondly to the uncle of Charles and Zamorna, Richard, Marquis of Wellesley. She eventually becomes the mistress of Northangerland who fathers Caroline. After Northangerland fails to execute Zamorna during a period of civil war she leaves him, becoming the mistress of Lord Macara Lofty, as is evident from Stancliffe’s Hotel. However, by the time Charlotte wrote Caroline Vernon, Louisa is demanding and emotionally unstable, probably due to the fact she is a prisoner of Zamorna. She is also known as Louisa Dance due to her second husband’s alias.
Lord Macara Lofty
In the earlier narratives, Lofty is a member of the Verdopolitan government and leader of the Republican Rebellion, however he finishes the saga as the drug addicted lover of Louisa Vernon and associate of the wandering figure and struggling writer Charles Townshend. He is the younger brother of Viscount Frederick Lofty.
Lord Edward Hartford is a nobleman and a member of one of Angria’s oldest families. A respected General and commander of troops in Zamorna’s army, he seemingly has everything, however, he falls in love with Zamorna’s favourite mistress, Mina Laury in the novelette of the same name. Following Mina’s rejection, Hartford drunkenly duels with Zamorna, and sustains injuries he is still recovering from during the events of Stancliffe’s Hotel.
Marian is the second wife of Zamorna in the earlier narratives and the mother of his son, Arthur Julius Wellesley. In texts such as High Life in Verdopolis it is hinted that her death was the result of a broken heart aged just seventeen due to her husband’s infidelities. However, in The Spell (1834), consumption is given as her cause of death, an affliction which also claims the life of her son. Her father is Dr. Alexander Hume, the Duke of Wellington’s physician.
Mary Henrietta Percy is Zamorna’s third wife and mother of his children, legitimate daughter of Alexander Percy, sister to Edward and Sir William Percy, and half-sister to Caroline Vernon. Originally a creation of Branwell, she first appears in his narrative The Politics of Verdopolis, and later became one of Charlotte’s favourite characters. At one point in the saga, she is abandoned and rejected by Zamorna who desires revenge on her father and is sent to Alnwick where she is killed off by Branwell whilst Charlotte was away at school. A devastated Charlotte later chose to resurrect her heroine in what must be one of literature’s earliest examples of retcon.
Mina is the daughter of Ned Laury and is also Zamorna’s favourite and most loyal mistress, even acting as a mother figure to his young children following the death of his second wife Marian. She resides at Rivaulx in the Hawkescliffe estate, seemingly living to serve Zamorna, and at one point in the saga chooses to follow him into exile. However, she is a complicated figure who is shown by Charlotte to be independent and active in many respects. The teenage Caroline Vernon is particularly fascinated by her. The picture above left drawn by Charlotte in c.1834 shows a woman thought to resemble Mina. It is a copy of The Maid of Saragoza which first appeared in a volume of Byron’s works; both versions are shown displayed at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in June 2018.
One of the “rare lads” of Glass Town in earlier stories such as Something About Arthur (1833), Ned is a soldier/bodysnatcher/poacher who later becomes the chief ranger of Zamorna’s estates in Angria. He is also the father of Zamorna’s favourite mistress, Mina Laury.
One of the seven provinces of Angria, its capital is Pequena. The Earl of Northangerland is another alias of Alexander Percy who is often referred to simply as Northangerland.
O’ Connor Family
Arthur and Harriet O’Connor are characters closely associated with Branwell’s pseudonym in the early tales, Rogue, a.k.a. who is more commonly referred to as Northangerland or Alexander Percy in Charlotte’s stories. Arthur is a reckless companion of the young Rogue, whereas Harriet is one of Percy’s mistresses who is seduced and then later abandoned by him. Harriet is also the subject of several poems written by Branwell, and of a song sung by Caroline Vernon in Charlotte’s later narrative, The Duke of Zamorna (1838).
Henry O’Donell (referred to mainly as O’Donell) is the protagonist of Charlotte’s short story, The Search for Happiness (1829). He does not appear again in the juvenilia, but just a few months later, Charlotte used the character of Henry Dunally in The Silver Cup: a tale.
Ruled by Emily Brontë’s chief man, Captain Sir William Edward Parry, Parry’s Land is one of the four Glass Town kingdoms. It has strong links to Yorkshire and is considered quaint and old-fashioned by Glass Towners. Due to the loss of the majority of Emily and Anne Brontë’s Gondal saga, the only surveying description of Parry’s Land is provided by Charlotte in A Day at Parry’s Palace from the October 1830 edition of The Young Men’s Magazine which is attributed to her favourite pseudonym/persona, Lord Charles Wellesley. This tiny book will be on display at the Great North Museum, Newcastle from 22nd June-9th September 2018 as part of the Which Way North exhibition.
Philosopher’s Island is the site of the university where the Glass Town nobility are educated in the mysteries of life and death by Manfred the magician. Students are sworn not to misuse their knowledge. Charlotte’s narrative The Foundling (1833) is partly set on Philosopher’s Island.
Quashia Quamina Kashna
Son of the King of the Ashantees, Sai Too Too Quamina, he is adopted by the Duke of Wellington as an infant after the death of his father. There is friction and bitterness between Quashia and Wellington’s oldest son, Arthur (Zamorna), and in the later tales he aids his ally, Alexander Percy, in his invasion of Angria against Zamorna. He also desires and lusts after Percy’s two daughters, Mary Percy (who is also the wife of his enemy and adopted brother, Zamorna), and Caroline Vernon.
More coming soon.
By Nicola Friar a.k.a The Brontë Babe.
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