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

woensdag 23 juli 2014

Temperance reformation and Catholic Emancipation.

Although a strong Tory Patrick Bronte was sympathetic to many Whig ideas. He supported Roman Catholic Emancipation, was against the death penalty for minor crimes, like stealing a loaf of bread, against the workhouse system where families were separated, a man from his wife and parents from their children, and against rotten boroughs where the few voters were bribed to vote for particular members of Parliament. Patrick was one of the few Tories in Haworth, a great believer in the established (Church of England) church among a majority of Dissenters. In Haworth he was a founder member, as was Branwell, of the Haworth Temperance Society.  He was a great believer in education and fought hard to raise money for, first of all a Sunday School and later a day school. He raised money for the poor when there was little work. He raised a subscription to replace the three bells of the church by six new ones so the bell ringers could take part in competitions. brusselsbronte 

Temperance reformation
During 1830, at the beginning of the temperance reformation, twenty temperance societies were founded, totalling between two and three thousand members. The first period of the temperance movement was focused on controlling drunkenness rather than abolishing all alcoholic beverages. history/journal

This photograph proudly displayed alongside other Brontë mementos at the Temperance tea rooms in the family's home village of Haworth in West Yorkshire, the picture was auctioned by Sotheby's in 1898 when the Museum of Brontë Relics closed down and sold off everything it owned. It has not been seen since, although copies of the picture are known to exist. independent

Catholic emancipation

Catholic emancipation was the subject of political debate in the United Kingdom, which intensified in the 19th Century after the Act of Union in 1801. Catholics were not allowed to sit in Parliament1 and therefore were represented by Protestants. Catholic emancipation — Catholic relief — was designed to give Catholics the right to sit in Parliament.


In 1823,
Daniel O'Connell, an Irish Catholic lawyer and politician, began a campaign for Catholic emancipation. He was widely successful and raised a great deal of money through 'Catholic Rent', a subscription to an association which cost only one penny a month. His popularity led to his election for the county of Clare in Ireland, even though he could not take his seat in Parliament. Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington felt that the threat of insurrection in Ireland surpassed the threat of allowing Catholics to sit in Parliament4. The Catholic Relief Act was passed on 24 March, 1829. It contained a number of securities for the Protestants, including not allowing Catholics to attain certain positions and disenfranchising the 40-shilling freeholders. This meant that people who owned or lived on property worth more than forty shillings had previously been allowed to vote in Ireland, but that the property requirement would now be ten pounds.

Opposition to Catholic Emancipation
The Duke of Wellington, famous for his successes in the Napoleonic Wars, was the Prime Minister of Britain from 1828 - 1830 and the leader of the Tory party, which generally stood for the defence of the status quo. Both Wellington and his second-in-command and future Prime Minister Robert Peel had been against Catholic emancipation in the past, and their about-turn was seen as deceitful and disloyal. Wellington and Peel were of the opinion that the potential unrest in Ireland was preventable only by allowing Catholic emancipation. Many members of their own party opposed the measure, which was only passed with Whig support. The Duke of Newcastle was a strong opponent of Catholic emancipation, and in his diary described how Wellington and Peel 'betrayed their country'. He also attributes this speech to the Duke of Cumberland:

Nothing shall induce me to abandon the principles which I have always maintained and what is more to do my utmost to defeat measures which in my conscience I believe to be destructive of the Throne, the altar and the Protestant Constitution.
The opposition to Wellington and Peel's Catholic emancipation split the Tory party and led to the Whigs taking power for the first time in more than twenty years.

zondag 20 juli 2014

The transition between the Georgian and Victorian eras

The transition between what are commonly termed the Georgian and Victorian eras is one of the great turning points of British history. The dividing line is often considered to be either 1830 (the death of George IV) or 1837 (the accession of Queen Victoria

The sphere in which the end of the Georgian Era can be mostly clearly witnessed is within the Church of England. The Church of England was transmuted from an essentially Latitudinarian Protestant sect, suspicious of ‘enthusiasm’, into a Church fully asserting its historic Catholicity, and strongly influenced by medieval ritual.

In the early 19th century, a parish vestry had wide-ranging responsibilities for such areas as poor relief, tax collection, registration of births, marriages and deaths, and road maintenance. A series of legislative measures of the 1830s gave such duties to secular bodies like poor law unions and civil vestries, making the Church’s sole concern religion.

It would be completely unjust to characterise the earlier Georgian Era as devoid of charity, but it is probably fair to state that it had never been accompanied by such spiritual fervour as shown by reformers like Wilberforce, Hannah More, Henry Thornton and Charles Simeon. Their main cause was the abolition of the slave trade, an object achieved in 1807, followed by the total abolition of slavery in 1833.

Despite the excessive pomp of George’s coronation in 1821, the monarchy – and thus the establishment – had reached its lowest point. In the eyes of many, including the growing number of political radicals, it had lost all moral integrity and could no longer command the respect of the nation. When Victoria became Queen at the age of 18, her unenviable task was to restore the moral authority of the British establishment.

Transition between the artistic cultures of the Georgian and Victorian eras, from ‘neoclassicism’ to ‘romanticism’. This was observable to some degree in all western cultures during the first half of the 19th century. Writers such as Wordsworth, Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley and Bryon were mainly active during the Georgian Era, but were often dissident elements, refusing to conform to the Augustan society around them.

In the early 19th century, the dominant style of architecture was that of the Greek Revival. From the 1840s onwards gothic was the standard style for churches,

Female clothing changed drastically around the same time: dresses were no longer large and elaborate, but were simple and light in imitation of Grecian models. By the 1830s female dresses were gradually expanded and embellished, reaching the absurd extreme of the unapproachable crinoline dresses of the 1860s

It is clear that the transition between the Georgians and the Victorians has had profound consequences. The demise of the Georgian Era demonstrates how a complete set of assumptions can be undermined, and finally overthrown, from within. The battles between rationality and romanticism, moral leniency and strictness, materialism and mysticism, still affect us today. /georgian-victorian

dinsdag 15 juli 2014

Kings and queen during the time the Brontes were living

Patrick Brontë          17 March 1777 – 7 June 1861
Charlotte Brontë          21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855
Patrick Branwell Brontë  26 June 1817 – 24 September 1848
Emily Jane Brontë           30 juli 1818 –  19 december 1848)
Anne Brontë                17 januari 1820 –  28 mei 1849

King George III 1760 - 1820
At the age of 22, George succeeded to the throne when his grandfather, George II, died suddenly on 25 October 1760. On 8 September 1761 in the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, the King married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whom he met on their wedding day.[19]  They had 15 children—nine sons and six daughters.

In 1762, George purchased Buckingham House (on the site now occupied by Buckingham Palace) for use as a family retreat.[20] His other residences were Kew and Windsor Castle. St. James's Palace was retained for official use. He did not travel extensively, and spent his entire life in southern England.

Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India.

However, many of its American colonies were soon lost in the American Revolutionary War.

Further wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France from 1793 concluded in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

King George IV 1820 - 1830
George IV led an extravagant lifestyle that contributed to the fashions of the Regency era. He was a patron of new forms of leisure, style and taste.
He commissioned John Nash to build the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and remodel Buckingham Palace, and Sir Jeffry Wyattville to rebuild Windsor Castle. He was instrumental in the foundation of the National Gallery and King's College London.
He had a poor relationship with both his father and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick
Taxpayers were angry at his wasteful spending in time of war.

King William IV 1830 - 1837
William was the third son of George III and not expected to become king. He was created Duke of Clarence and from 1791 set up home with Dorothea Bland, an Irish actress known as ‘Mrs Jordan’. They lived contentedly together for 20 years, and had 5 sons and 5 daughters given the surname Fitzclarence.
William was in debt but, with the death of Princess Charlotte only daughter of his elder brother, he had become heir to the throne. Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen was found for him as a suitable Protestant wife and they married in 1818. The marriage was happy but despite several miscarriages there were no children who survived infancy. His London residence Clarence House was designed for him by John Nash in 1825.
In 1834 when fire destroyed the Houses of Parliament at Westminster he offered Buckingham Palace to Parliament. They declined and Westminster was rebuilt by Charles Barry in Gothic style.
William was 64 years old and the oldest person to date to succeed to the throne when he became King on the death of his brother George IV in 1830.
Queen Victoria 1837 - 1901
She was the daughter of Edward, duke of Kent (fourth son of George III) and a niece of George IV and William lV.

donderdag 10 juli 2014

Childhood in Jane Eyre

Women authors and the money they earned


July day

'He said the pleasantest manner of spending a hot July day was lying from morning till evening on a bank of heath in the middle of the moors, with the bees humming dreamily about among the bloom, and the larks singing high up overhead, and the blue sky and bright sun shining steadily and cloudlessly. That was his most perfect idea of heaven's happiness: mine was rocking in a rustling green tree, with a west wind blowing, and bright white clouds flitting rapidly above; and not only larks, but throstles, and blackbirds, and linnets, and cuckoos pouring out music on every side, and the moors seen at a distance, broken into cool dusky dells; but close by great swells of long grass undulating in waves to the breeze; and woods and sounding water, and the whole world awake and wild with joy'. Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

woensdag 9 juli 2014

The teeny tiny Bronte books

The amazing teeny tiny books by the Brontes
In 1829-30, Charlotte Brontë was 13 and her brother Branwell Brontë 12. Creating fantasy worlds they called Angria and Glass Town, the siblings made teeny tiny books.
Measuring less than 1 inch by 2 inches, the books were made from scraps of paper and constructed by hand. Despite their diminutive size, the books contained big adventures, written in ink in careful script.
Twenty books, all by Charlotte and Branwell, remain. Similar books created by the other sisters, Anne and Emily, did not survive. Nine of the existing books, known as Bronte juvenalia, are in the collection at the Houghton Library at Harvard University.
Scholars have long had access to the book, but the library has now made them more broadly available by digitizing them and putting them online.
“Seeing the physical object brings home the effort and intelligence it took to create them and why they created them. Having grown up with Brontë, it’s a way of connecting with the past through objects,” Houghton curator Leslie Morris told the Harvard Gazette.
“What is extraordinary is the extent to which they imitated a professional publication, the variety of the content, and the perseverance it required,” said Priscilla Anderson, who restored the books at Harvard’s Weissman Preservation Center. “The ability to make these volumes from start to finish out of scraps is impressive.”
The Brontë sisters, of course, grew up to write some of the most lasting novels in English literature. Emily penned "Wuthering Heights" and Charlotte was the author of "Jane Eyre." Charismatic Branwell's efforts to be a tutor, clerk and artist failed, and he died of tuberculosis after struggling with alcohol and opium.
Charlotte and Branwell's juvenalia can be found online here:
By Charlotte Brontë:
Scenes on the great bridge, November 1829
The silver cup: a tale, October 1829
Blackwoods young mens magazine, August 1829
An interesting passage in the lives of some eminent personages of the present age, June 1830
The poetaster: a drama in two volumes, July 1830
The adventures of Mon. Edouard de Crack, February 1830
By Patrick Branwell Brontë:
Branwells Blackwoods magazine, June 1829
Magazine, January 1829
Branwells Blackwoods magazine, July 1829

dinsdag 8 juli 2014

Bronte Parsonage June enewslette​r. The garden of the Parsonage.

'It was a little budding rose,
Round like a fairy globe,
And shyly did its leaves unclose
Hid in their mossy robe,
But sweet was the slight and spicy smell
 It breathed from its heart invisible.' (Emily Brontë)
In truth ‘June is busting out all over’ might have been a better choice but alas it is not Brontë!!  June is the most important month in the Parsonage garden.  Why? Because it’s time for the annual membership get-together for the AGM weekend.  Geoff and I are always keen to have the garden looking its best for the membership.
For a few years now we have been growing rose bushes (with varying degrees of success) but we are not faint hearted and have persevered: three of the five roses we planted are doing really well, one is in intensive care but the other has sadly died so, all in all, not too bad and hopefully the survivors will be flowering soon.
This year we have majored on foxgloves which are perfect in our south border shaded by the graveyard trees. We have acquired our foxgloves for free − which is always a bonus – thanks to Anthony.  Anthony looks after the gardens round the church and finding himself with too many foxgloves, he passes on his spares to us as part of a neighbourly quid pro quo
The lawns have never looked better than they do now; not a weed in sight, and believe me I have looked closely as Geoff promised me 50p for every weed I could find.  I'll not get rich out of Geoff! 
The new planting at the back of the heather garden is filling up nicely and soon we will be able to gather flowers from there to decorate the Museum. Poppies will soon be in their full glory − fingers crossed that the rain does not spoil them, they are so easily flattened.  The aquilegia are putting on a lovely show just now.  You never know just what you are going to get from aquilegia as, like cowslips and primroses, they are very promiscuous and like to surprise us with their offspring − we have a lovely double-flowered one this year that we have not seen before.

I could go on and on with this month’s diary, the garden is so full of lovely things but please come and see it for yourself.  Try to keep Sunday 13th July free as it's our first Open Garden Day.  If you have a plant in your garden that you can split, please bring us one, we too are potting up the Parsonage garden’s spare plants for a bring-and-buy stall.  I hope we shall see you then.

London in the time of the Brontes

Yesterday during looking to the Tour de France in Yorkshire, I saw all those beautiful pictures from the modern London.

It brought me to the question:

What did Charlotte Bronte see of  London?
Which buildings and streets (and so on) did exists in the time of Charlotte Bronte?
The Victorian city of London was a city of startling contrasts. New building and affluent development went hand in hand with horribly overcrowded slums where people lived in the worst conditions imaginable.
The population surged during the 19th century, from about 1 million in 1800 to over 6 million a century later. A combination of coal-fired stoves and poor sanitation made the air heavy and foul-smelling. Immense amounts of raw sewage was dumped straight into the Thames River.
 In 1829 Sir Robert Peel founded the Metropolitan Police to handle law and order in areas outside the City proper. These police became known as "Bobbies" after their founder. uk-england-In Pictures: Police reform from watchmen to bobbies

Just behind Buckingham Palace the Grosvenor family developed the aristocratic Belgrave Square. In 1830 land just east of the palace was cleared of the royal stables to create Trafalgar Square, and the new National Gallery sprang up there just two years later.

When was the Square built?
Between 1825 and 1847. It was transformed from a large undeveloped area sometimes described as a swamp, a waste or a cess pit into one of the most fashionable districts of London. The marshy ground was partly filled with rubble from excavations in Dockland but the whole area is still not far above the level of the Thames.
What was here before it was built?
It was part of an uncultivated and marshy area between London and Knightsbridge, called the Five Fields which was thought to be very dangerous because of highwaymen.
The early part of the 19th century was the golden age of steam. The first railway in London was built from London Bridge to Greenwich in 1836, and a great railway boom followed. Major stations were built at Euston (1837), Paddington (1838), Fenchurch Street (1841), Waterloo (1848), and King's Cross (1850).

In 1834 the Houses of Parliament at Westminster Palace burned down. They were gradually replaced by the triumphant mock-Gothic Houses of Parliament designed by Charles Barry and A.W. Pugin.


For all the economic expansion of the Industrial Revolution, living conditions among London's poor were appalling. Children as young as 5 were often set to work begging or sweeping chimneys. Campaigners like Charles Dickens did much to make the plight of the poor in London known to the literate classes with his novels, notably Oliver Twist.


Upon this scene entered an unlikely hero, an engineer named Joseph Bazalgette. Bazalgette was responsible for the building of over 2100 km of tunnels and pipes to divert sewage outside the city. This made a drastic impact on the death rate, and outbreaks of cholera dropped dramatically after Bazlgette's work was finished. For an encore, Bazalgette also was responsible for the design of the Embankment, and the Battersea, Hammersmith, and Albert Bridges.

Regent Street rond 1850

Before the engineering triumphs of Bazalgette came the architectural triumphs of George IV's

favorite designer, John Nash. Nash designed the broad avenues of Regent Street&lt, Piccadilly Circus, Carlton House Terrace, and Oxford Circus, as well as the ongoing creation of Buckingham transformation of Buckingham House into a palace worthy of a monarch. victorian-london

zondag 6 juli 2014

Brontë Parsonage director Ann Sumner is leaving her post

Museums Association reports that Brontë Parsonage director Ann Sumner is leaving her post:
Ann Sumner has stepped down as executive director of the Brontë Society, which runs the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Howarth [sic], after 16 months in the role.  Her departure was announced at the society’s AGM last month. In a statement, the society said: “We regret to announce that Ann Sumner has decided to move on from the Brontë Society as she will be seeking a new part-time post. We thank Ann for her enthusiastic contribution to the society and wish her all the best for the future.”
A colleague described Sumner as a “breath of fresh air” who had done much to take the museum forward during her time in the role. Plans to recruit a replacement for the position are not yet clear. A spokeswoman from the institution said no further information was available. Museums Journal understands that Sumner’s departure comes at a time of upheaval in the Brontë Society. According to a source, some of the society’s members expressed concern about its direction and governance at last month's AGM, with a majority voting against two proposed motions to give the governing council greater power to expel members and extend the chairman of trustees’ term of office. (Geraldine Kendall)

Tour de France 2014 Haworth

The peloton rides up Main Street as stage two of the Tour de France passes through Haworth, Yorkshire. Pic: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

zaterdag 5 juli 2014

Tour de France is expected to attract more than a million people in Yorkshire

Even Bronte country has developed a taste for baguettes as Yorkshire gears up for the start of the 101st Tour de France in its backyard this weekend.
In Haworth, the village made famous by the Bronte sisters, the world-famous museum in their honour will close on Sunday because of the huge crowds expected along Main Street to see Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish climb up the cobbles.

‘The sisters would have found it exciting — not a lot happened in Haworth in their day,’ says museum director Ann Insdale.  Charlotte in particular loved anything to do with France. She studied in Brussels and spoke fluent French. She’d have enjoyed having such an iconic event here.’ It seems Yorkshire’s current generation feel the same. Everywhere you look, the white rose county is turning yellow to mark the greatest endurance test in sport. Police anticipate at least a million people will turn up to watch Saturday’s opening 118-mile stage between Leeds and Harrogate — known as Le Grand Depart — and Sunday’s York-Sheffield leg, which measures 124 miles. A statue of Edward the Black Prince in Leeds’ City Square has had a yellow jersey planted on it. Read more: dailymail

donderdag 3 juli 2014

Helen MacEwan’s new Brontë book

Helen MacEwan’s new book is, indeed, a journey back in time to the Brussels the Brontë sisters would have known in the early 1840s. No one can dip into these sumptuous pages without escaping contemporary Brussels . Along with a wealth of colour illustrations from the period. The Brontës in Brussels presents a fascinating look at how this city influenced the two sisters’ hearts and imaginations. Cogent details transport the time-traveller immediately: we follow Charlotte on a ramble along the Rue de Louvain, where she refreshed herself with a coffee and currant bun; we slip into an illustration of a wide, leafy boulevard with views over the surrounding countryside, and find ourselves at once elated and heartsick to touch this Brussels we will never know. Thanks to Helen’s book, however, this vanished city still has a pulse. She guides us to those corners where, if we close our eyes, we might still detect a horse’s hoof or rustle of silk in the endless drone of traffic. Such moments bring a familiar frisson to those of us who have spent many years in Brussels and fallen in love with her enigmas.
Most moving of all is Helen’s inclusion of Charlotte’s letters to Constantin Heger. The stark intimacy of these confessions draws the reader far from Brussels, all the way to the moorland chill of Yorkshire and the grey-clad little woman who anguished there, in physical and emotional exile from her “promised land”. It is with a strange sort of clairvoyance that we read those letters, knowing as we do how Charlotte’s genius would eventually transform her despair into great art. brusselsbronte

woensdag 2 juli 2014

CHARLOTTE BRONTË made only £500 from her novel, Jane Eyre.

But now a rare a first edition copy of the book is set to fetch between £15,000 and £20,000 at an auction. Auctioneer Sotheby’s says the book, first published in three volumes in 1847 under Bronte’s pseudonym ‘Currer Bell’, is “an unusually clean first edition copy”. The auction takes place on July 15. Ann Dinsdale, collections manager at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, said: “Charlotte was offered £100 for the copyright. With further editions and foreign rights her actual payments were in the region of £500. “There is a well-known account by the head of the firm, George Smith,describing how he started reading the manuscript of Jane Eyre and was so gripped by it that he cancelled all engagements for the day so that he could finish reading it. “ Last year a poem by Charlotte Brontë, I’ve been Wandering in the Greenwoods, sold for £92,450 more than double the £45,000 it had been expected to fetch . It meant that each word of the 16-line poem was worth more than £1,000. yorkshirepost

vrijdag 27 juni 2014

The Brontë Birthplace

Unitarian theology of the 19th century

North and South is a novel defined by the resolution of binary conflicts: heroine Margaret Hale is presented with a number of divisions of sympathy, between industrialists and the working class, between conflicting views of Mr. Thornton, and even between her conflicting views of her own intelligence.

Mr. Hale’s decision to leave the church due to “painful, miserable doubts” A key insight into Mr. Hale’s reasoning is found during his discussion with Margaret and Higgins, when he states that “your Union in itself would be beautiful, glorious, —it would be in itself—if it were but for an end which affected the good of all, instead of that of merely one class as opposed to another”. This statement directly mirrors the sentiment of Unitarian theology of the 19th century as primarily defined by 18th century scientist and philosopher Joseph Priestley, who famously described the Trinity as foremost of the corruptions of Christianity.

Elizabeth Gaskell, whose husband and father were Unitarian Ministers, would no doubt have been familiar with Priestley’s writing and was known to hold strong Unitarian opinions,  so the statement of the protagonist’s father in this key scene of the novel holds special weight.

Read more"the-concept-of-unity-in-elizabeth-gaskells-north-and-south

donderdag 26 juni 2014

Emily's by De Luca Boutique - The Brontë Birthplace (BBC Look North 12.0...

Branwell, was born in the early hours of the morning on this day in 1817.

Patrick Branwell Brontë, more commonly known as Branwell, was born in the early hours of the morning on this day in 1817.

On 26 June, 1817, the fourth child of Patrick Bronte and Maria Branwell Bronte was born during the early hours of the morning in Thornton. This newborn boy was given the honour of two names because for Patrick and Maria having a son was a particularly welcome moment. He was named Patrick, after his father, and Branwell, after his mother’s maiden name. Though, there always seemed to be some confusion over which name came first. The day after his birth, his three sisters: Maria, Elizabeth and Charlotte, were invited down to Penzance to the Kipping House so they could join a large party of ladies who fussed over the little girls. In no time the parents sorted out the confusion over their son’s name and on 23 July,1817, at a ceremony at the Old Bell Chapel Patrick Branwell Bronte was baptized. His godparents were Elizabeth Firth’s father and stepmother, close friends of The Bronte’s. 
He was small for his age but good looking, with his father’s nose and a high forehead. He had poor eyesight, he wore glasses and he wore his hair, the reddest in the family, long in an artistic fashion.
Read more about Branwell: kimberlyevemusings

woensdag 25 juni 2014


Haworth’s stationer, John Greenwood, recorded in his diary a violently protective scene in which Emily broke up Keeper’s encounter with another dog:
She never spoke a word, nor appeared the least at a loss what to do, but rushed at once into the kitchen, took the pepper box, and away into the lane where she found the two savage brutes each holding the other by the throat. In deadly grip, while several other animals, who thought themselves men, were standing looking on like cowards as they were, afraid to touch them—there they stood gaping, watching this fragile creature spring upon the beasts—seizing Keeper ’round the neck with one arm, while with the other hand she dredges their noses with pepper, and separating them by force of her great will, driving Keeper, that great powerful dog, before her into the house, never once noticing the men, so called, standing there thunderstruck at the deed. From: the-animalistic-emily-/

maandag 23 juni 2014

Charlotte completed this pencil drawing, entitled "The Cross of Rivaulx"

Charlotte completed this pencil drawing, entitled "The Cross of Rivaulx", on this day in 1836. It is a copy of an illustration of the grounds of Rievaulx Abbey, by John Gilpin.

woensdag 18 juni 2014

The Brontës' early writings: Combining fantasy and fact

Ponden Hall turned into a B & B

Hi, everyone! It's official, and we are now accepting bookings for our newly opened elegant and comfortable bedrooms at Ponden Hall, the Brontes' inspiration.

Come and stay the night in the room where Cathy's ghost beat at the window, struggling to get in - in the beautiful replica box bed, just like the one in 'Wuthering Heights'.

Contact us at stay@ponden.force9.co.uk, or on 01535 648608 for more details. We still have spaces left for the Tour de France weekend on July 5-6, and we're only just off the route!

woensdag 11 juni 2014

Anne Brontë, pencil drawing

On this day in 1845, Anne Brontë left her post as governess at Thorp Green near York. She had worked there for five years, and this pencil drawing depicts the church she attended with the Robinson family.



zondag 8 juni 2014

Professor John Bowen explores the central role of women in Jane Eyre

Professor John Bowen explores the central role of women in Jane Eyre and the unique role of the governess in 19th-century society. Filmed at the Brontë Parsonage, Haworth.

Martha Brown, was baptised on this day in 1828

Martha Brown, who was a devoted servant to the Brontë family for over twenty years, was baptised on this day in 1828. Rev Patrick Brontë conducted the ceremony.

zaterdag 7 juni 2014

Lessons From Jane Eyre: 5 Ways to Bring Minor Characters to Life

Just for fun, today I’d thought I’d give you a sneak peek of my upcoming book Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. The book, available in late July (release date coming soon!), finds the method behind the magic of Charlotte Brontë’s enduring novel. Via annotations to the original text, I have analyzed the storytelling techniques Brontë used to create this literary masterpiece—so you can put these same techniques to use in creating the next great classic! Today, I’d like to share an excerpt from Chapter 10, in which Brontë masterfully presents an insignificant minor character in a way that brings her to life without leading readers to believe she’s more important to the story than she really is.

Excerpt from Jane Eyre

My ostensible errand on this occasion was to get measured for a pair of shoes; so I discharged that business first, and when it was done, I stepped across the clean and quiet little street from the shoemaker’s to the post-office: it was kept by an old dame, who wore horn spectacles on her nose, and black mittens on her hands.
“Are there any letters for J.E.?” I asked.
She peered at me over her spectacles, and then she opened a drawer and fumbled among its contents for a long time, so long that my hopes began to falter. At last, having held a document before her glasses for nearly five minutes, she presented it across the counter, accompanying the act by another inquisitive and mistrustful glance–it was for J.E.

Bringing Minor Characters to Life

In some ways, minor characters are like settings: they’re background “filler,” used to flesh out your story world and provide interactions for your protagonist. However, wielded with a deft hand, minor characters offer the possibility of being so much more. As we’ve already discussed in Chapter 6, they can be a mirror in which the protagonist compares and contrasts her own strengths and weaknesses. But they can also provide everything from comic relief to conflict to communication. A minor character can appear throughout the story, as does Rochester, or only once, a does our unnamed post lady in this scene.
Whatever the importance or length of their roles, minor characters should never be taken for granted. If you’re going to raise your story into a convincing facsimile of realism and, as a result, suspend your readers’ disbelief, every minor character needs to be treated just a seriously as the protagonist. Brontë’s postal lady appears only once. She is given a grand total of five paragraphs and one line of dialogue and isn’t even introduced by name. Brontë tells readers just three things about her: she’s old, she wears glasses, and she wears mittens. But these details are more than enough to give readers the paints they need to finish the character’s portrait. Let’s take a closer look at how Brontë accomplished this:

1. The length of the description indicates the character’s role in the story.

A more prominent character would deserve a much more complete description, but any more than we find here would have given readers an incorrect sense of the postal lady’s importance within the story.

2. The details are vivid and specific.

The old woman’s spectacles are “horn” and her mittens are “black.” Because textures and colors immediately establish visual images in the readers’ imagination, they can be extremely efficient adjectives

3. The “rule of three” achieves a sense of balance.

The human brain, whether through inherent tendency or just ingrained association, finds a sense of wholeness in lists of three. The result is a catalog of details that presents a rounded picture without lapsing into a “grocery list.”

4. The readers are trusted to fill in the blanks.

Say “apple,” and readers see a shiny red apple with a green leaf and a friendly worm. Say “nerd,” and they see a guy in black glasses and a loaded pocket protector. Readers don’t need much to be able to visualize a character. Less description is often more.

5. The character acts uniquely and realistically.

When the old woman peers and fumbles, and then stares at the letter for five minutes before “suspiciously” handing it over, she becomes a personage in her own right. She’s the heroine of her own story, whatever it may be, and she acts like it.


donderdag 5 juni 2014

The British Library

I received an email from The British Library:
I notice that you’ve mentioned The British Library’s new Discovering Literature resource in an article on your site – http://kleurrijkbrontesisters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/discovering-literature.html – and I’d like to thank you for this coverage; we really appreciate it.
I was wondering, would it be possible for you to link back to our Discovering Literature site – http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians – from where it’s mentioned? I think your readers might really appreciate the resources we’ve put together.
Well, I am happy to do so. bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians


On this day in 1826, Patrick Brontë returned from a visit to Leeds with a box of twelve wooden soldiers for Branwell. Each child picked a soldier for their own, and named it, and they began to record the games they played and the battles they fought with their toys. The world of Angria (and, later, Gondal) was born from these soldiers.



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).

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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