Charlotte Bronte once said the following about Jane Austen’s novels:
I got the book and studied it. And what did I find? An accurate daguerreotyped portrait of a common-place face; a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers—but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy—no open country—no fresh air—no blue hill—no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen in their elegant but confined houses. These observations will probably irritate you, but I shall run the risk.”
The great debate of Jane Austen vs. Emily Bronte is a very old debate.
They certainly have more in common than it appears. They are both the daughters of country clergymen. Neither married or had children and both died at what we would consider to be a young age. They wrote novels and were paid for their writing when it was considered unladylike and inappropriate for a woman to have any career ambitions outside of marriage and motherhood. While Jane Austen is subversive in her feminism and her opinions about women’s lives at that time, Emily Bronte is out there as a writer. We still read their books and discuss their books 200 years later. Their books have been made several times over on screen and on stage, some adaptations more successful that others.
As a writer and a reader, I would not be able to choose between Jane Austen or the Bronte’s. I will leave the debate to the experts and let you, the reader decide who prefer to read.