Emily Bronte was born on July 30, 1818 in Thornton, England on the Yorkshire moor, the fifth of Patrick and Maria Branwell Bronte's six children. In 1920 the family moved to Haworth. In 1821 Maria Branwell died, leaving Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell motherless. Emily, Charlotte, Maria and Elizabeth were sent to Cowan Bridge Clergy Daughter's School, where the bad conditions caused Maria and Elizabeth to be sent home with the tuberculosis that killed them in 1825.
In 1837 Emily spent some time teaching in Halifax, and in 1842 she and Charlotte went to Brussels for more school, with Emily soon returning home. Emily spent much of her life at home in Haworth and had few friends. Because of her rather withdrawn and reclusive life, not much is known about her. She did enjoy walking on the moors, and she took care of an older servant and her brother Branwell who died in 1848 because of his excessive drinking.
Emily, Anne and Charlotte began writing mythology when they were children, stemming from the stories they made up about imaginary worlds such as Gondal and Angria. In 1846 the three sisters financed and published a book of Poems under the pseudonyms Ellis, Acton and Currer Bell. Although only two copies sold, the good reviews encouraged them to continue their writing, and soon plays, serial stories and other writings emerged.
Wuthering Heights, Emily's only novel, was published in December of 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. There was much controversy over who could have written the book, as many thought it impossible that it could have been penned by a sheltered clergyman's daughter. The book did not gain immediate success, but is now thought one of the finest novels in the English language. A year after Wuthering Heights was published, on December 19, 1848, Emily Bronte died of tuberculosis.