About the Author

Jordi Mand

Jordi Mand is a Toronto-based playwright who has worked with some of Canada’s most prominent theatre companies. Her first play, Between the Sheets, was produced by Nightwood Theatre in 2012 and has been produced nationally and internationally. Her second play, Caught, was produced by Theatre Passe Muraille in 2016. She has been a Playwright-in-Residence with Theatre Passe Muraille, Carousel Players and Nightswimming Theatre and a member of Tarragon Theatre’s Playwrights Unit. Upcoming is the world premiere of her new plays This Will Be Excellent (Carousel Players) and Brontë: The World Without (Stratford Festival). Mand is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada.

Books by this Author
Brontë: The World Without

Brontë: The World Without

The World Without
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
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Excerpt

Emily: You have your work . . . Anne’s work. You have more than enough to create something between the two of you.

Charlotte: We can’t move forward without you.

Anne: If she doesn’t want to be a part of it there’s no point in forcing her.

Emily: Do you . . . Want to be a part of it? Want to publish your —

Anne: Yes. I’ve always wanted this.

Emily: You’d have a better chance if I’m nowhere near it.

Charlotte: That’s not true.

Emily: It is.

Charlotte: We need your work.

Emily: If you’re in such dire need of a third, ask Branwell. He’s the one with the talent.

Charlotte: Oh, Emily! How can you not see it? You have a gift. Do you know how many people spend their lives searching for what you have?

Emily: What I write is . . . Strange. It’s not suitable . . . Or dignified. It in no way reflects how a woman should feel . . . Or think . . . Or write. I know that. No one will understand it. No one will want to —

Charlotte: If you were a man, do you think for a moment you would choose not to pursue —

Emily: If I were a man I wouldn’t have to choose.

Anne: Then just pretend you’re a man and be done with it.

Emily: I can’t pretend to be something I’m not.

Anne: Why not?

Emily: Because it . . . It’s not —

Anne: Because it’s not what?

Charlotte: You can. You can.

Charlotte stands, grabs paper and a quill, and writes.

We could keep our initials . . . Keep the first letters for each of our names. The rest can be whatever we like . . .

Charlotte holds the page up for them to see.

Anne: Currer, Ellis, Aaron Bell?

Charlotte: If they think we’re men they’ll focus on what we write . . . Not who we are. We can send our work out without being afraid of anyone knowing. We can write what we like . . . How we like.

Anne grabs the page from Charlotte.

Anne: Why Bell? Why can’t we use our last name?

Charlotte: People know there’s only one son in our family.

Anne: How many people know that?

Charlotte: Enough.

Anne: Can’t we submit anonymously?

Charlotte: No. Our work could be stolen. And we would have no way to prove it was ours.

Emily: Work with a name is respected far more than anything written anonymously.

Anne: Currer, Ellis, Aaron. Mine doesn’t sound nearly as intriguing as yours. Aaron . . . It’s so plain.

Charlotte: What then?

Anne: Adam, Abram, Andrew, Arthur, Alfred —

Emily: Acton.

Anne: Oh . . . Acton! Yes! Currer, Ellis, Acton Bell.

Charlotte writes the names out again. She holds it up for them to see.

So . . . No one would know it was us?

Charlotte: No one would know it was us.

Anne: What about Papa? We would have to tell him.

Charlotte: Papa would go mad knowing we were trying to be published. He would get too invested. He would want to change everything we wrote.

Emily: He would edit every poem until he was satisfied.

Charlotte: Until he felt it was up to his standards.

Emily: And if it weren’t a resounding success . . . He would never forgive us.

Charlotte: No. We don’t tell him. We don’t tell Branwell. It stays between the three of us.

Anne: Then . . . What’s the point?

Emily: I won’t do it if we tell people . . . That’s the point.

Charlotte: But if we don’t tell people? Then you’ll . . .

Emily looks at the page with their proposed names on it.

Emily: We shouldn’t have to disguise who we are.

Charlotte: Oh, Emily! Does it really matter? It would be a few published copies of a poetry collection. That’s it. That’s all it is.

Emily: I don’t know.

Charlotte: Emily! Can’t you at least try to —

Anne: Just say yes, Emily! For goodness’ sake!

Emily looks at her sisters, and exhales heavily.

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