Sian Cain “Emily Brontë may have had Asperger syndrome, says biographer” https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/29/emily-bronte-may-have-had-asperger-syndrome-says-biographer
At an event at the Edinburgh international book festival, Harman, author of the recent biography Charlotte Brontë: A Life*4, said several of Emily’s character traits, including her genius, her dislike of leaving home, her discomfort in social situations and her sudden bursts of anger and frustration could have been symptoms of Asperger’s.
One famous case of Emily’s anger was recorded by Charlotte Brontë’s first biographer and fellow author Elizabeth Gaskell, who in her 1857 biography recalled how the family dog was left “half blind and stupefied” after Emily punched it in the face for dirtying the laundry. But Harman said on Sunday that Gaskell related the incident as “just a sign of Emily’s strength of character”.
“It is actually very disturbing. I think Charlotte and everybody was quite frightened of Emily. I think she was an Asperger’s-ey person,” Harman said. “She was such a genius and had total imaginative freedom ... Containing Emily, protecting Emily, not being alarmed by Emily, was a big project for the whole household. She’s an absolutely fascinating person – a very troubling presence, though.”
Even more than reclusive Charlotte, Emily hated leaving home, Harman said, which was why they hoped, for a while, to start a school from their home at Haworth, West Yorkshire.
The Wuthering Heights author shared many behavioural qualities with her father Patrick. “He gave them an immense latitude in terms of his interest in issues of the day that transferred very readily. The children liked nothing more than to read a parliamentary report around the fireside. They were a very unusual family in that respect, and he did not restrain them intellectually. But he was a very chilly man, very emotionally strange. He was clearly hugely egotistical and I think, also a bit Asperger’s-ey too.”
“People do tend to sentimentalise [Emily]. They say their favourite romantic novel is Wuthering Heights, but it is so full of violence, so full of things I would not classify as romantic at all.”
*1:See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20061109/1163080989 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080221/1203567187 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090819/1250711074 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20141031/1414691108 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20150107/1420597656
*4:See Kathryn Hughes “Charlotte Brontë: A Life by Claire Harman review – a well-balanced, unshowy biography” https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/31/charlotte-bronte-by-claire-harman-review-biography
*5:See eg. “Biography - Branwell Bronte” http://www.haworth-village.org.uk/brontes/branwell/branwell.asp https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Branwell_Bront%C3%AB