Siblings – and Genius

Anyone with a sibling knows that siblings are competitive at times – and apparently, that doesn’t diminish for poets and other literary figures – but sometimes, that competition can spur us on to great things.

Casey N. Cep wrote a piece for The Poetry Foundation’s blog about literary siblings:

The persistence of the rumor reflects the curious, cloistered upbringing of the Brontës, but also the more universal experience of siblings. Collaboration and competition between brothers and sisters exists no matter their vocations, but literary siblings challenge our assumptions of lonely genius, isolated writers alone at their desks. Patrick Brontë, father to the four artists, who raised them himself after their mother died, wrote: “As they had few opportunities of being in learned and polished society, in their retired country situation, they formed a little society amongst themselves—with which they seem’d content and happy.”

“A little society” is the perfect description of siblings. Brothers and sisters have long encouraged one another’s literary careers: letters and drafts change hands; carefully chosen words of praise and criticism pass between lips; scraps of paper, coveted notebooks, and particular pens move between writing desks.

You can read the whole piece here. Might be good to pass on to bickering siblings!


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