I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

zondag 21 december 2014

Did Emily Bronte have Asperger’s /Autism?

Hathaways of Haworth thinks the answer is a very clear no, based on overwhelming evidence from her day to day interactions .The suggestion is usually put forward by people who have read standard biographies or  accounts by strangers about Emily’s public behaviour. I realise the subjects complex and I am only covering popularly  perceived traits in both those with Asperger’s and those with other forms of Autism .However  its usually these specific traits which are signalled out in Emily to support the theory she had some form of Autism. I think a superficial  examination is however enough to disprove the idea.

The main reason.
Emily is an emotionally  normal child possibly even a overly friendly one whereas Autistic children often present with problems quite quickly  autism

Emily is an affectionate and sweet natured child  with a character open and trusting enough to be able to endear strangers to her quite quickly. Emily was very  clearly an endearing  child and good around strangers while as she gets older her behaviour becomes more eccentric and reclusive ocialy, showing “learned” antisocial traits rather than core character traits. While there isn’t a huge number of accounts of Emilys early childhood, the ones that survive most notably from Cowen Bridge talks about her being seen as "a sweet little thing”. Miss Evans, the superintendent of the new school, called Brontë a “darling child” and “little petted Em” and the admissions register referred to her as “quite the pet nursling of the school.” Who doesn’t seem to have had trouble adapting to a different routine and one that was extremely rigid and in almost all respects different to her home life. Nor at this time does she seem to be having any problems interacting with strangers. Autistic children show problems with change and social interactions quite quickly. The negative responses to change and social environments is progressive but variable. It seems that as she gets older she gets less able to  or willing to adjust.

Read more on: Hathaways of Haworth

zaterdag 20 december 2014

HAWORTH Old Hall.

 
First published in Memory Lane by                 
HAWORTH Old Hall, one of the village's oldest surviving buildings, is seen here in its more mundane guise as a farm. It is sometimes called Emmot Hall, having been bought in the 18th century by the Emmot family from over the Lancashire border, who however never lived in it but rented it out. In 1884 oatbread baker James Greenwood was living there. The hall's history remains obscure. "It is as though a sponge has been drawn across the records of Haworth Old Hall," comments an earlier local guide, "leaving its story empty." The poster on the wooden hut on the left is advertising a sale of quarry plant – a reminder of one of Haworth's former industries. keighleynews

brontesisters/haworth-old-hall

vrijdag 19 december 2014

On December 19, 1848 Emily Brontë died of tuberculosis at her home at Haworth, Yorkshire, England at the age of thirty.

On December 19, 1848, English novelist and poet, Emily Brontë died of tuberculosis at her home at Haworth, Yorkshire, England at the age of thirty. 

Emily Brontë caught cold during her brother Branwell’s funeral and soon grew very thin and ill. Until the last moment, she said she would have “no poisoning doctor” near her. She is buried in the Church of St. Michael and All Angels family vault, Haworth, West Yorkshire.
Charlotte Brontë wrote about her younger sister’s death in a letter on Christmas Day, saying that she tried not to hear Emily’s constant “deep hollow cough”. literarycornercafe

Charlotte Brontë herself firmly believed that her sister had wanted to survive, regardless of brave words spoken in public about inexorable wills and no coward souls. "It was very terrible," she wrote to her friend Ellen concerning Emily's death. "She was torn conscious, panting, reluctant though resolute out of a happy life." (Letters, 229) In her grief, Charlotte could find only one consolation: that her sister no longer suffered.
... I will not now ask why Emily was torn from us in the fulness of our attachment, rooted up in the prime of her own days, in the promise of her powers – why her existence now lies like a field of green corn trodden down – like a tree in full bearing – struck at the root; I will only say, sweet is rest after labour and calm after tempest, and repeat again and again that Emily knows that now. (Letters, 219) claredunkle

Bronte museum's first home


By Alistair Shand .
THE Bronte Society, founded in 1893, housed its first museum on the upper floor of this prominent building at the top of Haworth Main Street, formerly the Yorkshire Penny Bank and now the Tourist Information Centre, before moving into the Parsonage in 1928.
The building at the top of Haworth Main Street where the Bronte Society housed its first museum. From 1889 there had been a privately-run Museum of Bronte Relics at Brown's Temperance Hotel and Refreshment Rooms in Main Street, an enterprise which also catered for picnic parties and sold Haworth views. Bronte tourism was getting into its stride by then, with hyperbolic touting of "the wildest and bleakest moors of Yorkshire" and a little village "consisting of a church and a few grey stone cottages", although one guide of 1899 more realistically called Haworth "an ever-expanding colony bisected by a railway". Advertisers played on the Brontes. The Black Bull Hotel was "close to the church and Bronte Museum", the King's Arms "opposite Bronte Museum and church" and the White Lion "next door to Bronte Museum". Notice, on the left side of the antique shop, the sign pointing towards Colne – a reminder of the narrow corners the traffic negotiated before the opening of the Main Street by-pass in 1974. The photograph has been supplied by Mr Kevin Seaton, of Shann Lane, Keighley. thetelegraphandargus

donderdag 18 december 2014

Sharon Griffiths talks to author Juliet Barker

Sharon Griffiths talks to author Juliet Barker about research, awards and why she will never leave Yorkshire
Juliet Barker is a Yorkshire woman through and through. Despite the fame and success she has achieved through her writing, she has never been even slightly tempted to move further than from the West Riding to Wensleydale. “Never,” she says firmly. “I can’t imagine living anywhere other than Yorkshire.”
It’s certainly been inspirational.
From her study window in a converted hay loft, she could gaze out at Penhill – “I couldn’t work anywhere without a view,” – and get down to work, usually at 4am, finishing her latest book. “The swallows would swoop in and around and out again as I worked.”Read all: thenorthernecho

dinsdag 16 december 2014

Charlotte's letters


The Letters of Charlotte Brontë: Volume Three 1852-1855 ed Margaret Smith

A sorry tale of deceit, corruption and literary con men

By Mark Bostridge

At the centre of it lies Ellen Nussey's disastrous decision to entrust her valuable cache of Charlotte's letters to the literary forger T J Wise. Ellen was a schoolgirl friend of Charlotte's from their days at Roe Head, and possessed the largest collection of her correspondence: 394 letters received from Charlotte over more than two decades.


Ellen had already prepared a private edition of the letters she owned in the late 1880s, but had got cold feet about the project and then destroyed practically all the sets of 30,000 printed sheets in a huge bonfire over many weeks, assisted by the minister of her local church. This left her as easy prey for Wise and his front man, the biographer and critic-about-town Clement Shorter. Together they extracted the originals from her for £125 and the promise that they would be preserved in the South Kensington Museum "to enhance the honour & reputation of their gloriously gifted writer". In fact, within a couple of years it became evident that Wise was selling the manuscripts piecemeal at auction.
With Charlotte's letters scattered to the four winds, and often untraceable, an authoritative edition of all the surviving correspondence became, as the years passed, increasingly unlikely. Margaret Smith, therefore, deserves the highest praise for the sheer doggedness with which she has pursued bits and pieces of letters through salerooms and private collections (most strikingly, she pieced together one letter, cut up for autograph hunters, from scraps in five separate locations). She is also a model editor. The standard of her annotations is superb, and no worthwhile cross-reference to the Brontës' lives or works is allowed to slip through her net. Read miore: arlindo-correia/bronte

Houses and family of George Smith.

Smith and Elder was founded in 1816 by George Smith (senior) (1789-1846) and Alexander Elder.  Both were born and raised in Scotland, but had moved to England to pursue opportunities in the publishing industry.  Their first publication registered with the Stationer’s Company was Sermons and Expositions of interesting portions of scripture by the Revd Dr John Morison.
In 1824 Smith & Elder moved from its original premises in Fenchurch Street, London, to 65 Cornhill, an address that was to give its name to the company’s magazine.  A third Partner was added and the business took on the permanent name of Smith, Elder & Co.  1824 also marked the birth of Smith’s first son, also named George Smith, who was later to take over the business from his father. nineteenth_century_literary_manuscripts
 
Photo: 65 Cornhill




 George Smith, one of the great Victorian publishers, whose lists at one time or another included most of the notable writers of the day, apart from Dickens. The firm of Smith, Elder had been founded by his father in 1816, but he had begun to take charge at the onset of his father’s fatal illness in 1844. The firm’s doomed attempt to promote G. P. R. James as a potential best-seller was an embarrassment behind him when his reader handed on enthusiastically the manuscript of Jane Eyre in the autumn of 1847. From then on he managed Charlotte’s literary and financial affairs with commitment, tact and, after the meeting of July 1848, personal warmth. From the early days of the relationship Charlotte realized that the favors worked both ways, and that she was Smith, Elder’s first big success in the league of major publishers: “it would chagrin me” Charlotte wrote to Smith about the third edition of Jane Eyre , which she had feared might hang fire, “to think that any work of ‘Currer Bell’s’ acted as a drag on your progress; my wish is to serve a contrary purpose . . .” (7 Nov 1848). A year later she could tell Ellen “I am proud to be one of his props” (19 Dec 1849). Her early descriptions of him focus on his appearance: “a distinguished, handsome fellow” (to MT, 4 Sep 1848) she calls him, and “elegant, handsome . . . pleasant” (ibid). blackwellreference

George Smith (1824-1901); his mother, Elizabeth Murray Smith (1797-1878); and his wife, Elizabeth Blakeway Smith, the daughter of a London wine merchant who George Smith married in 1854. Mrs Gaskell described her (to EN, 9 July 1856) as George’s “very pretty, Paulina-like little wife. ( Pauline one of the figures in Villette)

Smith lived at , having bought the lease from Lady Hermione Graham, a daughter of the twelfth Duke of Somerset. The house became known as 40, Park Lane.[3]
The lease continued in his family until 1915,[8] his widow remaining living there until May 1914, but in 1906, negotiations began for the redevelopment of the Somerset House site together with Camelford House.[10] The 2nd Duke of Westminster, as freeholder, was uneasy about allowing the two demolitions, "having regard to No. 40 having historical associations", but in the end he agreed to the scheme. Camelford House was demolished in 1913.[11] When Mrs Murray Smith left she claimed that the house possessed "vaults with chains in them", including a cell said to have been used for prisoners being taken to Tyburn, but when this was investigated by the Grosvenor estate surveyor, Edmund Wimperis, he found nothing of the kind.[1][12] 
wiki/Somerset_House,_Park_Lane
Somerset House (No. 40): Warren Hastings and the 11th and 12th Dukes of Somerset[1]
wiki/Park_Lane,_London
 

He died at St. George's Hill, Byfleet, Surrey on 6 April 1901.
Photo: property/st-georges-hill/byfleet-road
 
Children of George Smith.
 
His son was George Murray Smith the Younger   George Murray Smith DL JP (4 February 1859 - 18 April 1919) was a chairman of the Midland Railway from 1911 until his death. He was educated at Harrow School; and Jesus College, Cambridge. In 1885 he married Ellen Strutt, youngest daughter of Edward Strutt, 1st Baron Belper. They had three sons, two of whom were killed during World War I, and a daughter. He was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Lancashire in April 1903.[1]

After 1894 Smith did leave the main control of the business in the hands of his younger son, Alexander Murray Smith (who retired from the partnership in 1899), and his youngest daughter’s husband, Reginald John Smith (1857–1916), who from 1899 was sole active partner and who, in 1908, rearranged the original 66 volumes of the Dictionary of National Biography into 22.  britannica

George Smith’s Brontëana collection

When George Smith died in 1901 he left to his widow the manuscripts of three of Charlotte’s novels: Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette, as well as a large collection of letters, most from Charlotte, but also some from her father, and from Arthur Bell Nicholls. The manuscripts for Emily and Anne’s novels – published by Thomas Cautley Newby, and partly funded by them, to the tune of £50 per novel – have never been found, and were, presumably, destroyed by their publisher.

George Smith’s Brontëana collection eventually passed to his granddaughter Elizabeth Seton-Gordon, who in 1974 donated most of it to the Brontë Parsonage Museum. As well as the manuscripts and letters the collection included all the correspondence from Mrs Gaskell regarding her Life of Charlotte Brontë, and several drawings by Charlotte, passed on to George Smith’s son by Arthur Bell Nicholls’ second wife Mary.

With them was an astonishing find: a photograph, inscribed on the back: ‘Within a year of CB’s death’, and dated 1854, the year of Charlotte’s honeymoon. Whether it was a honeymoon picture, to match that of her husband taken at the same time, or whether it was intended by George Smith for an edition of one of Charlotte’s novels, is unknown. It is the only photograph in existence that is almost certainly of Charlotte. haworth-and-the-brontes/family-and-friends/george-smith

houseofsmithelde
Memoir_of_George_Smith


maandag 15 december 2014

BRONTÉ CLUB.

Viola Case, a pioneer schoolteacher in Victoria, organized the Bronté Club, the oldest women's literary club in Texas, in 1855. The organization, originally named the Victoria Literary Club, was a literary society for the girls of her school, the Victoria Female Academy. The members collected eleven volumes of current literature, which were kept in a dry goods box under Mrs. Case's bed. On a certain day of each week the books were taken out and distributed to the girls. This embryonic lending library was the beginning of the Bronté Library, the predecessor of the Victoria Public Library. Until 1975, when it was placed under the management of the city and county of Victoria, the library was governed by the Library Committee of the Bronté Club.
During the 1860s the Bronté Club is said to have devoted more time to war relief than to literary study. The club was probably generally dormant until 1868, when the Sorosis Club was organized in New York City in protest against the all-male Press Club of New York City, which gave a banquet for the visiting Charles Dickens and invited no women. This event seems to have stirred up women's club spirit across the country. Though started as a school society, the Bronté Club was reorganized as a community club in 1873, became a school society again in 1878, and in 1880 was changed to a community club again. In 1880, because the literary club needed new members and wanted a more distinctive name, it accepted for the first time older girls and young married women and changed its name to Bronté Literary Club, in honor of Charlotte Brontë.
When the national movement for federation of women's clubs began, the Bronté Club sent a delegate, Mrs. A. B. Peticolas, wife of Alfred Brown Peticolas, to the first meeting of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, held in Tyler in 1898. The club's calendar for that year shows it as a member of this state organization, which joined the national General Federation of Women's Clubs in 1899. On May 9, 1884, the Bronté Club had authorized the Junior Bronté Literary Club, a new group that was reorganized as the Currer Bell Study Club, named after the pseudonym of Charlotte Brontë, on May 1, 1951.
The Bronté Club dropped "literary" from its title in its Year Book of 1901–02, although it continued to emphasize literature in its programs. The Year Book of 1905–06 stated that the club's objectives were to promote the "mental and social culture of its members," an "altruistic spirit," and philanthropic endeavors, as well as "the interests of State and Fifth District Federation." Due to its broadened purposes, the club offered a wide variety of programs through the years about subjects ranging from civics to philosophy. Among the Bronté Club's civic projects was the sponsorship of a lecture by Eleanor Roosevelt in December 1940, which a crowd of 2,500 attended. Mrs. Roosevelt subsequently wrote in her column "My Day" about her visit to Victoria and "one of the oldest women's clubs in the country." The club continued to contribute both funds and books to its original civic work, the Victoria Public Library. It was made an honorary member of the library, and an appointed club member serves on the library's advisory board. The Bronté Club celebrated its centennial on April 3, 1973.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Bronté Club Files, Victoria, Texas. Leopold Morris, Pictorial History of Victoria and Victoria County (San Antonio, 1953). Victoria Advocate, April 6, 8, 1923, December 5, 1940. Texas Federation of Women's Clubs Year Book, 1935. articles/BRONTE CLUB

Bronte Parsonage Museum
Interesting to learn that the Bronte Club in Victoria, Texas, is nearly 40 years older than the Bronte Society in Haworth, West Yorkshire!

zaterdag 13 december 2014

Historic ‘Bronte’ staircase found in US

Blake Hall, illustration, reproduced from photographs taken at the end of 19th century

A wooden staircase with Brontë connections which was sold when the manor from which it came from demolished, has been tracked down to a house in New York. Lifelong Brontë enthusiast Immelda Marsden, described by her peers as the ‘Miss Marples of Mirfield’, managed to trace the Queen Anne staircase to a house in Long Island on the other side of the Atlantic. The find has come at an important time as preparations are being made to mark the bicentennial of the birth of Charlotte Bronte in 1816. A number of events are planned both here and in the US to mark the occasion and now the staircase has been found it is hoped it too could form some part thereof. Immelda, 68, took up the story: “The staircase was once part of Blake Hall on Church Lane and I can remember going there as a very small child. But the mansion was demolished and today it’s a housing estate. Bits of it were sold to dealers and the staircase went to one in Kensington, London.“It was sold at auction to a Mr and Mrs Toppings, who had just built themselves a new house on Long Island and were in London looking for things to fill it with. They took the staircase and installed it in their house and there it stayed.”Indeed, the discovery, which was aided by museum staff in New York, came as a complete surprise to the current owners of the building. Immelda said: “Anne Brontë was a governess at Blake Hall in 1839, looking after two of the five children of the Ingham family. There was Tom, aged six and Mary-Anne, who was about four or five. The story goes that Tom was a bit of a handful and used to do all sorts of nasty things and Anne Bronte had trouble controlling him. On one occasion, she tied the children to chairs. The family must have found out about this and they dismissed her the same year. She would have worked there for about nine months in all.” (...)
“That house was demolished in 1954 and, although the interior parts were dismantled and auctioned off, their fates were lost in the mists of time. With one exception.“Due to a short article in the Mirfield Reporter back in the 1960s, the wonderful Queen Anne staircase, hand-carved in burled yew, went to a London dealer. He then sold it to Allen and Gladys Topping, an American couple he met at Kensington Antiques Fair in 1958 and they installed it in their house on Long Island, New York. The story goes that Mrs Topping saw a ghost on the stairs in 1962. Was it Anne? Who knows?”She went on: “Having checked this much out, our ‘Miss Marples of Mirfield’ made inquiries abroad but things did not look promising. People seemed to think that the house had been lost in one of the many hurricanes that occur so commonly there.“The breakthrough came when a keen local librarian suggested contacting the Quogue Long Island Historical Society and they tracked down the exact location of the house and contacted the current owner. Much to their joy they discovered that not only was the staircase intact but the current owner was unaware of its origins and delighted to invite them over to see it. (...)“Now Mirfield and Quogue are working together to document this little-known link between them with a view to incorporating it in the bicentenary celebrations.”
She added: “Sometime in 2016 you will be able to see the fruits of their labours for yourselves. All thanks to crucial evidence in local newspapers and business records unearthed by a killer combination of keen locals and bright librarians on both sides of the pond.”The ghost story has circulated widely and appears in books and newspapers (where the location of the house known as Sanderling in Beach Lane, Quogue, Long Island, is also mentioned) but, apparently, nobody has looked for the exact location of the house until now.yorkshireeveningpost

vrijdag 12 december 2014

Paganini in Halifax

In the early 1800s at the time of the Brontes, Holdsworth House was owned by the Wadsworth Family. Our diaries of their daughter Elizabeth tell of her having been to see concert violinist Paganini in Halifax – as do the chronicles of the Brontes. holdsworthhouse

This event took place the following day, Thursday, February 9, at the New Assembly Rooms in Harrison Road. The star of the show was Niccolo Paganini, often regarded as the most famous violinist of all time, as well as a great composer.

On February 11 the Halifax and Huddersfield Express reported the assembly rooms "exhibited a brilliant and numerous assemblage of the leading gentry and fashion of the town and neighbourhood" and said the musician was "as singular in his personal appearance as he is wondrous and unrivalled in the musical world".

Of his virtuoso perform-ance, the newspaper was full of enthusiasm. "We have no language that can adequately describe the unearthly melody of Paganini" it stated and added that it was "at a loss, too, for language to express the powerful emotions produced by his performance".Traffic in 1832 was horse-drawn and the streets were not nearly as wide as today. The gentlemen and ladies turning up for the concert arrived, of course, by coach, and the narrow streets became blocked by horses and carriages, each with a coachmen or grooms in attendance. The surrounding streets became gridlocked and in the confusion many of the horses became frantic and carriage wheels became entangled. One collision required the summons of a coach builder to release two carriages, which had become firmly interlocked. The private coachmen of the local gentry, in their colourful dress livery, were privileged to hear Paganini for themselves, being allowed admission after the half-time interval, free of charge. Read all: halifaxcourier

Again a page with a lot of information about the Brontes.

Interesting alternative perspectives

A documentary series looking at alternative perspectives - which are based on more than pure conjecture - of major UK histories.
Within this pilot trailer, we follow Ian Howard, who along with Josh Chapman, the grandson of the late Joanna Hutton - the first female curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum in 1962 - who are looking at some of the research, and at Emily Brontë's book itself - which suggests that the inspiration of Wuthering Heights is not Top Withins. Follow them to the location many historians think may be the actual location - along the way many unusual markings are found which suggests druid and Freemason activity.

donderdag 11 december 2014

A lot of information

Benjamin Hartley

Benjamin Hartley was born on 20 March 1832 in Shaw, in the hamlet of Far Oxenhope, the second son of John and Sarah Hartley.  He was baptised on 2 October 1832 by Patrick Bronte.
According to census entries, his father John Hartley* was born around 1788, though no christening record has been found.  His possible antecedents are discussed in the Notes   below.
John Hartley’s wife was Sarah Holmes.  The couple had 5 children and lived in a terraced house in Shaw. See photo here.  Sarah died in 1853, John in 1867. 
 
By the age of 18, Benjamin had taken up his father’s trade of Woolcomber or Spinner and was a choirboy at Haworth Parish Church, where Patrick Bronte was the incumbent. At the age of 20, in 1853, he married Amelia Sutcliffe.  Amelia was born in Shaw in 1831 to †Abraham Sutcliffe, another Woolcomber.  In 1861 the couple were at Cobling, a smallholding on the Sawood estate (Far Oxenhope) near the Dog & Gun Inn.  Benjamin was described as a Milk Hawker though, in trade directories published in 1864 and 1866, he was a Farmer. This fits roughly with a family story that the Hartleys had a poor dairy farm near Haworth that supplied the Brontes with milk. Read more: windhillorigins

woensdag 10 december 2014

Oxenhope and the Brontes

 
Until the 1840's Oxenhope was part of Haworth parish and Anglicans who wished to attend church had to take the long walk up to Haworth for services. As the population grew it was decided that Oxenhope needed its own church and the then vicar of Haworth, Patrick Brontë, sent his curate Joseph Brett Grant to establish the new parish. Initially services were held in other buildings but Grant was an effective fundraiser and by February 1849 the foundation stone for a parish church was laid and the building finished just eight months later. Brett was a popular and respected vicar who served the parish for over 30 years. The stained glass windows in the choir are dedicated to his memory. visitbradford

Photo: The original vicarage built for Joseph Brett Grant, Patrick Brontë’s former curate

Until 1845 anyone in Oxenhope who wished to attend an Anglican church had to walk to Haworth and back to do so. Otherwise the only churches available were Methodist and Baptist. Then an Act of Parliament said that anywhere needing a church could build one. As the population had increased because of the mills, the Rev. Patrick Bronte of Haworth sent his curate, the Rev. Joseph Brett Grant to start the church in Oxenhope. He had to hold services in a house at the top of the catsteps, although nobody now knows which one it was. He was allowed to perform baptisms, but marriages and funerals could only take place in a church. As a school and vicarage were needed as well as a church, it was decided to build the school first. This was completed in 1846, and services were held there. The Rev. Brett Grant raised money by approaching people, telling them he needed money to build a church, holding out his hand and asking them how much they would give him. Charlotte Bronte described him in her novel 'Shirley' under the name of the Rev. Don, adding that
he had walked so far he had worn out 14 pairs of shoes! She quite rightly described him as 'the champion beggar'.
As a result of his persistence, the foundation stone was laid on 14 February 1849 and the finished building was consecrated by the Bishop of Ripon on 11 October 1849. The total cost was £1308. thesunflowertrust


Arthur Bell Nicholls’s predecessor as Patrick’s curate at Haworth, taking up the position in late 1844, and performing his last duties in May 1845. He became curate and later perpetual curate in nearby Oxenhope, and was a close ally of Nicholls during his dispute with Patrick over his suit for Charlotte’s hand; when they finally married he and his wife were asked “to the breakfast – not the ceremony” as Charlotte told Ellen Nussey firmly (letter of 16 June 1854). He was a pall-bearer at Patrick’s funeral. Judging by Charlotte’s portrait of him as Mr Donne in Shirley she disliked him intensely, finding him conceited, intrusive, and insensitive. She acknowledged the portrait was of him, and remarked wonderingly that “It is a curious fact that since he read ‘Shirley’ he has come to the house oftener than ever and been remarkably meek and assiduous to please” (to WSW, 3 Apr 1850). He married Sarah Anne Turner, of Woodford in Essex, and if Shirley and Mr Donne are any guide she was “a most sensible, quiet, lady-like little woman” and “the making of him” (ch. 37). The man had much to endure, including Mr Brontë sometimes addressing him as Mr Donne (W & S, v. 4, p. 258), but it seems likely his self-esteem pulled him through. One would certainly not have wished to be among the audience at the Haworth Mechanics’ Institute being addressed by him “on the advantages of knowledge” ... blackwellreference


southpenninessacredtrails

 

Charlotte Brontë's fisherman


Via this passing mention on Newsweek
Other items included more illustrations by E.H. Shepard, a handwritten manuscript from poet and writer Dylan Thomas (sold for £104,500), dozens of works by artist and designer Eric Gill, a 1632 folio of Shakespeare’s works (£74,500) and a pencil drawing by Charlotte Brontë (£13,125). (Stav Ziv)

Charlotte Brontë's fisherman.

Auctioned yesterday afternoon at Sotheby's in London as part of their English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations Including Eric Gill – The Felix Dennis Collection auction. This drawing by Charlotte Brontë dated October 23, 1829 was expected to fetch 6,000-8,000 pounds but ended up selling for 13,125.
Here's how Sotheby's described it:

BRONTË, CHARLOTTE
FISHERMAN SHELTERING AGAINST A TREE. P
encil drawing on card (image size: 70 x 105mm, card size: 100x 145mm), depicting a figure in a hat holding a fishing rod in driving rain, huddled by a river beneath a windswept tree (copied from Thomas Bewick, History of British Birds (1816), volume 2, p.47), signed and dated, 23 October 1829, mounted, framed, and glazed (frame size 230 x 285mm)
LITERATURE. Alexander and Sellars, no. 24

A first edition of Shirley was sold as well and it fetched 1,500 pounds (the estimate was 1,200-1,800).

[BRONTË, CHARLOTTE]
SHIRLEY. A TALE. BY CURRER BELL. LONDON: SMITH, ELDER AND CO., 1849
8vo (189 x 112mm.), 3 volumes, FIRST EDITION, 3-page advertisement for the third edition of Jane Eyre at end of volume 3, with volume 2, p.304 correctly numbered and with the error '"Well said he' in line 1 not corrected, contemporary half calf, spines gilt, red morocco lettering-pieces, lacking 16-page publisher's catalogue in volume 1, some wear to hinge of volume 2 with small tear at foot of gutter in first few pages
PROVENANCE. B. Williams Ball, bookplate; F.W. Fitzwygram, inkstamp
LITERATURE. Parrish, p.93; Sadleir 348; Smith 5


On Facebook, Wuthering Hikes shares a stunning recreation of how the Haworth Parsonage would have looked like in the 19th century (before the Wade wing was added to it). And via the Brontë Parsonage Facebook page, we see that the second episode of the BBC's Dancing Cheek to Cheek: An Intimate History of Dance featured the Brontës' upright piano.

dinsdag 9 december 2014

On Bonnie Greer's words

The Yorkshire Post publishes a letter from a reader who strongly disagrees with Bonnie Greer.
From: Catherine Rayner RGN, MA, BSc and BA, Life Member of the Brontë Society and former member of council.
It was with growing concern that I read the interview with Bonnie Greer, current President of the Brontë Society, in your newspaper (The Yorkshire Post, December 1). Following her warnings, at the recent EGM, “of the dangers of talking to the Press” and how “she did not want to hear any criticism of the Brontë Society in print”, I found it particularly offensive.
The Brontë Society Council is currently being challenged and constructively advised by a group of members (The Modernising Group) who know and understand the problems of the last 18 months and are trying to rectify a lot of mistakes and move the society forward in to the 21st century.
Ms Greer speaks of setting up an Advisory Group and bringing “money into the village”. Money seems to be the aim and yet she has not consulted with the village traders or the inhabitants, who may not want her interfering in their affairs. Ms Greer has not consulted with any of the Modernising Group, declaring that she does not know who they are despite many of us standing up at the EGM and declaring our names and concerns. By her own admission, therefore, she is woefully ill-equipped to advise anyone on the running of the society or on the future of Haworth and its residents.
I have been a life member of the Brontë Society for over 35 years and served on its council for six years. After being re-elected to council in June this year, I resigned a month later because of poor governance and internal wrangling. I find it unpalatable that the president, who holds an honorary title only, should be allowed to air her views whilst trying to silence the very people who are desperately trying to move the society forward.
Ms Greer has her own agenda and is trying to take on a role for which she has no local knowledge or experience. She appears to be riding on the backs of all those who have spent months trying to set up a dialogue and organise constructive talks and action, both within the society and alongside the local population. A great deal of positive work and fruitful liaison has been achieved by the local ministers working with the traders and the community. Ms Greer has continually turned a blind eye and is now trying to take on the role of saviour.
It is an insult to the hard-working and dedicated members of the Brontë Society and also to the people of Haworth, who have both benefited, and suffered, from having such a famous legacy in their midst.

The Brussels Brontë Group’s annual Christmas lunch

The Brussels Brontë Group’s annual Christmas lunch took place on Saturday 6 December, at the restaurant ‘Carpe Diem’. It was attended by 38 enthusiastic lovers of the Brontës and 19th century literature.

Read all: brusselsbronte

We also would like you to visit our various web-sites. Please also go into Facebook to become a friend of the Brussels Brontë Group. We will post more informal posts there on a regular basis. If you are reading this you are already on our blog (http://brusselsbronte.blogspot.be/). You can also look at our website where there is more background information about the group. We also post here a program of our events. (http://www.thebrusselsbrontegroup.org/).

zondag 7 december 2014

The Hester Forbes-Julian collection of letters and autographs

The Hester Forbes-Julian Letter Collection
The Hester Forbes-Julian collection of letters and autographs, now one of the Museum’s most valued possessions, remained hidden until 1987, when it was rediscovered during storage improvements. The collection comprises 16 albums of autographs, letters, engravings and cuttings relating to some 1500 individuals, many of them major figures of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The fields of literature, politics, science and music are all represented: John Keats, Jane Austen, the Brontë’s, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Guiseppe Verdi, Dr. Livingstone, the Duke of Wellington to name but a few.
The catalogue can be found in the National Archives: Charlotte Brontë, 10 September 1850. More details can be found on Newby's Chicanery: New Brontë Letters by Alexander, Christine, Notes & Queries; Jun95, Vol. 42 Issue 2, p189:

woensdag 3 december 2014

BBC/ Branwell Bronte

Start at 15. 23 for Branwell.Bronte

May 11, 2015 new Bronte book

The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects

 by Deborah Lutz

May 11, 2015

9780393240085, 0393240088

$27.95 USD, $32.95 CAD, £17.99, €22.00

Hardcover 320 pages 8 pages of color illustrations.

Biography & Autobiography / Literary

W. W. Norton & Company
 

dinsdag 2 december 2014

Emigrant Spinsters and the Construction of Englishness in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette

NINETEENTH-CENTURY GENDER STUDIES 
ISSUE 4.3 (WINTER 2008) 

Emigrant Spinsters and the Construction of Englishness in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette

By Anne Longmuir, Kansas State University

Though Brontë claimed that Villette “touches on no matter of public interest” (qtd. in Gaskell 390), the position of single women in English society had become very much a matter of public interest by the mid-nineteenth century. The spinster had increasingly become a topic of concern to the state, as the disparity between the male and female populations became apparent. By 1851, for example, two years before the publication of Villette, there were more than a million unmarried women over the age of 25 (Gordon 9), and around 405,000 more women in Britain than men (Jeffreys 86).

Charlotte Brontë was sharply aware that nineteenth-century English society had no obvious role or place for the unmarried woman. As she wrote to her publisher, William Smith Williams: “When a woman has a little family to rear and educate and a household to conduct, her hands are full, her vocation is evident—when her destiny isolates her—I suppose she must do what she can—live as she can—complain as little—bear as much—work as well as possible” (Barker 189-90). While the vocation of the married woman was “evident,” the vocation of the single middle-class woman was not. As critics and historians often remind us, middle-class women had very few employment options, and could adopt only the professions of teacher, governess, or lady’s companion without a loss of class status. Unmarried until the age of 38, Brontë was clearly personally concerned with the question of what exactly unmarried women should do, though wary of discussing the issue publicly: “I often wish to say something about the ‘condition of women’ question—but it is one respecting which so much ‘cant’ has been talked, that one feels a sort of repugnance to approach it” (Barker 189).

In the 1830s, women received official government support for emigration, for example, which prompted a number of working class women to leave Britain, while in the mid-nineteenth century there was a flurry of plans to assist single, middle class women, just like Rose Yorke and Lucy Snowe, to emigrate.  In 1849 alone, the Governess Benevolent Institution tried to set up a emigration scheme for governesses, Hyde Clark drew up plans for a National Benevolent Emigration Fund for Widow and Orphan Daughters of Gentlemen, Clergymen, Professional Men, Officers, Bankers and Merchants and the British Ladies’ Female Emigrant Society was formed (Hammerton 94, 99).

Brontë was familiar with the notion of emigration as a solution to the “problem” of the spinster in practice as well as theory. Indeed, Shirley’s Rose Yorke is widely believed to have been based on Brontë’s friend, Mary Taylor, who emigrated to New Zealand in 1845.(1)  Taylor set up home in Wellington, which was itself one of the first settlements founded by the New Zealand Company, whose directors included Wakefield. However, Mary Taylor did not emigrate hoping to marry. Instead, the feminist Taylor explicitly rejected the normalising impulse of much discourse on spinster emigration by writers such as Wakefield. Indeed, she later indignantly responded to W. R. Greg’s suggestion that single women should emigrate in order to marry in her collection of essays, The First Duty of Women, arguing: “The men who emigrate without wives, do so because in their opinion, they cannot afford to marry. The curious idea that the women, whom they would not ask in England should run after them to persuade them would be laughable if it were not mischievous” (43). Taylor’s emigration was motivated not by marriage, but by her desire for a vocation and by her frustration at the limited options available to her in England. Read all: ncgsjournal

Governess Benevolent Institution
A body founded in 1843, usually referred to by Charlotte as the “Governess Institution.” It attempted to raise the status of governesses by the provision of lectures at Queen’s College, London, leading to oral examinations and a certificate of competence. Charlotte’s reactions were mixed. On the one hand she felt it was “absurd and cruel” to raise standards, when not a half or a quarter of governesses’ attainments are required in the teaching and are not reflected in their salaries (to WSW, 12 May 1848). Later, when his daughter was hoping to embark on a Queen’s College course, she told the same correspondent that “an education secured is an advantage gained . . . a step towards independency” (to WSW, 3 July 1849). Kathryn Hughes records in The Victorian Governess (1993) that no woman sat on the governing body of the GBI, or taught at Queen’s College above assistant level  blackwellreference

maandag 1 december 2014

New ideas for Haworth village to ‘set it buzzing’

BRONTE society president Bonnie Greer is to bring in special advisors to develop a strategy to boost visitor numbers to Haworth and “make it buzz all year round.”

The playwright and novelist is setting up an advisory group to discuss new ideas with the aim of refreshing the work of the literary society. She spoke exclusively to The Yorkshire Post yesterday following a long-running row among members about the direction of the 120-year-old society.
Critics have claimed that the Society needs to engage more with people in Haworth and must stop “micro-managing” the running of the Museum. Ms Greer has drafted in Helen Boaden, director of BBC Radio and a former producer with Radio Leeds, to be on a new president’s advisory group.
The president expects to recruit other experts as well as bringing in “one or two” Haworth residents to draw the Society closer to the village, home of the Museum. The Chicago-born writer plans to use connections in the United States to encourage more tourists and Bronte fans from across the Atlantic to visit Haworth. She also wants a younger Society membership and to increase the 1,750 membership to 2,000 within two years. Asked about her role as president, she said it was “ambassadorial, honorary” but that she now wanted to spend more time in Haworth and stimulate debate about new ideas. She is keen to work with “constructive critics”. “I think with the President’s Advisory Group, the first thing we will aim to do is work with those constructive critics - I’m very interested in them, the ones that say ‘let’s work together’. I’m not interested in the divisive ones.”
Ms Greer said the critics - who tried to force a change of leadership at a recent emergency meeting - had damaged the reputation of the Society and the Museum and leaks to the Press had upset her.
“My first concern is not me. What we have is a very fine museum, with very fine people. For critics to run amok and put them in professional jeopardy is untenable.” Her idea for an advisory group has been given informal support by members of the ruling Bronte Society Council, which meets today in Haworth. One of her main aims, she said, was to “bringing money into the village.” “I want to do a writers’ festival and exchange visits. I want this village filled 365 days a year with things that emanate from us.” On the subject of in-fighting, which led to 52 disgruntled members forcing an emergency meeting, she admitted she had not got to the bottom of it. “Whatever has been going on, I don’t even know all of it. I’m not saying it’s a bed of roses. I don’t know who they (the critics) are.”
Recent troubles had made up her mind about the need for change. “I feel I have permission to do it now. This crisis has given it to me...it’s a juncture for change. I’m interested in keeping the Society going and making it even greater. I’m interested in what people have to say. I’m not interested in those who undermine us.” yorkshirepost

zondag 30 november 2014

Haworth, England: The Tiny Town That Inspired Every Single Bronte Sister Novel


The cobbled streets of Haworth, a pretty little English village that clings to the edge of the West Yorkshire moors, wind up the hill, and are lined with pubs like the Fleece, Mrs Beighton’s Sweet Shop, selling black and white minds, the Old Lion Inn, Venables Bookshop. Read more:haworth-england-a-trip-into-literary-history

zaterdag 29 november 2014

Brontë Studies. Volume 39. Issue 4

The new issue of Brontë Studies (Volume 39, Issue 4, November 2014) is already available online. We provide you with the table of contents and abstracts:

Brontë Studies. Volume 39. Issue 4

woensdag 26 november 2014

Our Arts Officer, Jenna Holmes, was on the Richard Stead show on BBC Radio Leeds this morning. Scroll to 26.42 minutes to hear what she had to say: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02bnglt
 

Parsonage

Parsonage

Charlotte Bronte

Presently the door opened, and in came a superannuated mastiff, followed by an old gentleman very like Miss Bronte, who shook hands with us, and then went to call his daughter. A long interval, during which we coaxed the old dog, and looked at a picture of Miss Bronte, by Richmond, the solitary ornament of the room, looking strangely out of place on the bare walls, and at the books on the little shelves, most of them evidently the gift of the authors since Miss Bronte's celebrity. Presently she came in, and welcomed us very kindly, and took me upstairs to take off my bonnet, and herself brought me water and towels. The uncarpeted stone stairs and floors, the old drawers propped on wood, were all scrupulously clean and neat. When we went into the parlour again, we began talking very comfortably, when the door opened and Mr. Bronte looked in; seeing his daughter there, I suppose he thought it was all right, and he retreated to his study on the opposite side of the passage; presently emerging again to bring W---- a country newspaper. This was his last appearance till we went. Miss Bronte spoke with the greatest warmth of Miss Martineau, and of the good she had gained from her. Well! we talked about various things; the character of the people, - about her solitude, etc., till she left the room to help about dinner, I suppose, for she did not return for an age. The old dog had vanished; a fat curly-haired dog honoured us with his company for some time, but finally manifested a wish to get out, so we were left alone. At last she returned, followed by the maid and dinner, which made us all more comfortable; and we had some very pleasant conversation, in the midst of which time passed quicker than we supposed, for at last W---- found that it was half-past three, and we had fourteen or fifteen miles before us. So we hurried off, having obtained from her a promise to pay us a visit in the spring... ------------------- "She cannot see well, and does little beside knitting. The way she weakened her eyesight was this: When she was sixteen or seventeen, she wanted much to draw; and she copied nimini-pimini copper-plate engravings out of annuals, ('stippling,' don't the artists call it?) every little point put in, till at the end of six months she had produced an exquisitely faithful copy of the engraving. She wanted to learn to express her ideas by drawing. After she had tried to draw stories, and not succeeded, she took the better mode of writing; but in so small a hand, that it is almost impossible to decipher what she wrote at this time.

I asked her whether she had ever taken opium, as the description given of its effects in Villette was so exactly like what I had experienced, - vivid and exaggerated presence of objects, of which the outlines were indistinct, or lost in golden mist, etc. She replied, that she had never, to her knowledge, taken a grain of it in any shape, but that she had followed the process she always adopted when she had to describe anything which had not fallen within her own experience; she had thought intently on it for many and many a night before falling to sleep, - wondering what it was like, or how it would be, - till at length, sometimes after the progress of her story had been arrested at this one point for weeks, she wakened up in the morning with all clear before her, as if she had in reality gone through the experience, and then could describe it, word for word, as it had happened. I cannot account for this psychologically; I only am sure that it was so, because she said it. ----------------------She thought much of her duty, and had loftier and clearer notions of it than most people, and held fast to them with more success. It was done, it seems to me, with much more difficulty than people have of stronger nerves, and better fortunes. All her life was but labour and pain; and she never threw down the burden for the sake of present pleasure. I don't know what use you can make of all I have said. I have written it with the strong desire to obtain appreciation for her. Yet, what does it matter? She herself appealed to the world's judgement for her use of some of the faculties she had, - not the best, - but still the only ones she could turn to strangers' benefit. They heartily, greedily enjoyed the fruits of her labours, and then found out she was much to be blamed for possessing such faculties. Why ask for a judgement on her from such a world?" elizabeth gaskell/charlotte bronte



Poem: No coward soul is mine

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the worlds storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heavens glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.


O God within my breast.
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life -- that in me has rest,
As I -- Undying Life -- have power in Thee!


Vain are the thousand creeds
That move mens hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,


To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast Rock of immortality.


With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.


Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.


There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou -- Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.


--
Emily Bronte

Family tree

The Bronte Family

Grandparents - paternal
Hugh Brunty was born 1755 and died circa 1808. He married Eleanor McClory, known as Alice in 1776.

Grandparents - maternal
Thomas Branwell (born 1746 died 5th April 1808) was married in 1768 to Anne Carne (baptised 27th April 1744 and died 19th December 1809).

Parents
Father was Patrick Bronte, the eldest of 10 children born to Hugh Brunty and Eleanor (Alice) McClory. He was born 17th March 1777 and died on 7th June 1861. Mother was Maria Branwell, who was born on 15th April 1783 and died on 15th September 1821.

Maria had a sister, Elizabeth who was known as Aunt Branwell. She was born in 1776 and died on 29th October 1842.

Patrick Bronte married Maria Branwell on 29th December 1812.

The Bronte Children
Patrick and Maria Bronte had six children.
The first child was Maria, who was born in 1814 and died on 6th June 1825.
The second daughter, Elizabeth was born on 8th February 1815 and died shortly after Maria on 15th June 1825. Charlotte was the third daughter, born on 21st April 1816.

Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls (born 1818) on 29th June 1854. Charlotte died on 31st March 1855. Arthur lived until 2nd December 1906.

The first and only son born to Patrick and Maria was Patrick Branwell, who was born on 26th June 1817 and died on 24th September 1848.

Emily Jane, the fourth daughter was born on 30th July 1818 and died on 19th December 1848.

The sixth and last child was Anne, born on 17th January 1820 who died on 28th May 1849.

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