Charlotte Brontë (April 1816 – 31 March 1855) was a 19th century English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three renowned Brontë sisters whose novels became classics of English literature. Her first novel, The Professor, was rejected by publishers, her second novel, Jane Eyre, was published in 1847, although controversial in its criticism of British society, the book was an immediate hit and was celebrated in literary circles, becoming a classic of Western literature. Jane Eyre's success was followed by the success of Shirley in 1848 and Villette in 1853. Brontë was the last to die of all her siblings. She became pregnant shortly after her marriage and her health rapidly declined, she died on 31 March 1855.