surname of the famous family of English authors; the current version is a scholarly convention and until after the deaths of the sisters it was variously spelled and accented. Juliet Barker ("The Brontës," 1994), writes that their father was registered at Cambridge in 1802 as "Patrick Branty," which he soon corrected to Bronte. The family was Irish Protestant. "At a time when literacy was extremely rare, especially in rural districts of Ireland, the usual Brontë name was spelt in a variety of ways, ranging from Prunty to Brunty and Bruntee, with no consistent version until Patrick himself decided on 'Bronte'." [Barker]

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