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

vrijdag 18 december 2009

Terug naar The Parsonage

Bronte guardians have hit the jackpot again, outbidding rivals to buy a Bronte treasure at auction in Sotheby’s, London, yesterday. They paid £32,000 for Wuthering Heights author Emily Bronte’s artist’s box and geometry set. A fortnight ago in New York they acquired one of the rarest Charlotte Bronte miniature poetry manuscripts, paying 50,000 dollars.
The box and geometry set contains items used by Emily such as sealing wax, gummed paper and bottles.
Ann Dinsdale, Bronte Parsonage Museum collections manager, said: “We are absolutely thrilled. What a fantastic Christmas present.”
They were unable to stretch to the other items, a collection of drawings owned by Emily and a desk which belonged to Charlotte, author of Jane Eyre.
Now they were looking forward to receiving the items and displaying them at the museum in Haworth from the New Year.

zondag 13 december 2009

Martha Brown


                                Een foto van Martha Brown, de huisbediende van the Bronte Sisters

woensdag 9 december 2009

Kerstmis en Bronte

Van woensdag 16 december tot en met zondag 20 december zal er heerlijke periode van Kerstmis displays, gekostumeerde personages, demonstraties en feestelijke Kerst ambachtelijke activiteiten per dag, 11am-4pm woensdag tot en met vrijdag 12 uur-4pm zaterdag en zondag.

Er is gratis toegang tot het museum op Oxford Road, Gomersal, voor bezoekers die willen de geuren en kleuren van Kerstmis genieten. Zij kunnen dwalen door de sfeervolle stijlkamers van deze Bronte aangesloten doek-home handelaar, die zal worden rijkelijk versierd met traditionele groenblijvende slingers van hulst, klimop, laurier en rozemarijn, verzameld vers van Red House tuinen.

Zij zullen in staat om een smaak van glühwein genieten met 'Joshua Taylor' zoals hij ze vertelt over de decoraties, met inbegrip van de ouderwetse 'opknoping kussen tak' in de Hall, compleet met appels, kaarsen en maretak, en in de keuken en eetkamer zal er displays van de periode feestelijk eten. 'Henrietta', de 19e eeuw Red House kok, zullen de bezoekers trakteren elke dag over haar drukke voorbereidingen voor Kerstmis en uitleggen hoe je een lang vergeten periode maar heerlijke recepten waaronder 'Almond Shamrocks', 'Wham-Whim', 'Egel Tipsy Cake ',' Damson Kaas 'en' Brandied Vruchten '. Bezoekers kunnen gratis bladen recept om te proberen de gerechten thuis.

Gekostumeerde personeel zal laten zien hoe maken ongebruikelijke Regency en Victoriaanse kerstversieringen, met inbegrip van amandelen en rozijnen Slingers en Gilded walnoten. Er zullen ook Kerstmis ambachtelijke activiteiten voor gezinnen te doen elke dag, zoals het maken van een Victoriaanse boom 'kladje' decoratie, een papieren lantaarn of kaars een kerst kegel marionet. Toegang tot de activiteiten en demonstraties wordt deels via een trap.

In het weekend zullen er feestelijk entertainment, te beginnen op zaterdag 19 december, met muziek van The Valley fluiten. Op zondag 20 december zal, Victoriaanse salon goochelaar Chris Black onderhoudend bezoekers met zijn mysterieuze kaarttrucs, zal de populaire Clifton tafelbel Ringers spelen en, ter afsluiting van het festival, zal het prachtige lied zingen van Gaudeamus echo rond de historische huis.

Bezoekers zullen ook in staat zijn Christmas Past 'de glinsterende' tentoonstelling die een nostalgische blik op Kerstmis gewoonten en tradities is te zien. Het omvat zeldzame Victoriaanse en Edwardiaanse kerstkaarten, nieuwheid 1950s papier decoraties, exotische Chinese lantaarns en 20th Century Kerst speelgoed. Het museum winkel zal open en is goed gevuld met ongewone Kerstcadeaus.

zaterdag 28 november 2009

Reactie van het Bronte Parsonage Museum op de veiling van belangrijke Bronte voorwerpen.

It’s rare for such significant items to come onto the open market and there’s no doubt that these are items which are of such great significance to our cultural and artistic heritage that they should certainly be thought of as national treasures. It would be very sad indeed if these treasures were not repatriated or were lost to a private collection. We feel that these are things which belong here in Haworth and we’re appealing for people to get in touch if they can help us raise the funds to make sure this doesn’t happen. (Andrew McCarthy. Director, Brontë Parsonage Museum)

It’s very difficult for us to compete in a market where these items can fetch such high prices and we need the support of organizations and individuals to make sure that they are returned to Haworth where they surely belong. If anyone feels they can make a financial contribution to help us, this would be very much appreciated. (Andrew McCarthy. Director, Brontë Parsonage Museum)

donderdag 26 november 2009

De Brontë schatten


Het bureau van Charlotte's en de geometrieset en pennenbox van Emily's kunnen wel 17.000 opbrengen Wanneer ze volgende maand onder de hamer gaan bij Sotheby's in Londen.



De Brontë Schatten - die zullen worden geveild op 17 december - behoorde toe aan William Law, een verwoed verzamelaar, die regelmatig bezoek aan Bracht Haworth, waar objecten kocht van de weduwnaar van Charlotte Brontë, de Rev Arthur Bell Nicholls. Lees meer:


http: / / bronteblog.blogspot.com /

dinsdag 24 november 2009

Brontë-gerelateerde items

Een zeer Belangrijke veiling (misschien wel een van de belangrijkste in de afgelopen jaren) met Brontë-gerelateerde items vindt plaats op 4 december bij Christie's. Lees:
http://bronteblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/auction-of-year.html

vrijdag 20 november 2009

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë/ Syrie James

Exciting news! The Women’s National Book Association has named my novel, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë, one of the Great Group Reads of 2009. I am delighted because I truly believe that Charlotte’s story will open up lively discussions about a host of timely and provocative topics.
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë, by Avon/HarperCollins Publishing in July 2009, is the result of many years of intense research and writing. As a devoted Brontë scholar, I was intrigued by how many of Charlotte's own life experiences found their way into her novels, and I found immense pleasure in bringing her true story to life on the page.
The novel begins with an impassioned proposal from Charlotte’s father's curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, who has carried a silent torch for Charlotte for more than seven years. Charlotte greatly disliked Mr Nicholls when they first met, but her feelings have evolved and changed over the years. Does she love him? Does she wish to marry him?

Seeking answers, Charlotte takes up her pen to examine the truth about her life. In these pages, she exposes her deepest feelings and desires, her triumphs and shattering personal disappointments, her scandalous, secret passion for the man she can never have—the man who was the basis for all the heroes in her books, including Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre —and the intimate details of her compelling relationship with Mr Nicholls, the man she eventually comes to love with all her heart.
At the same time, we learn of Charlotte’s relationship with her family, the inspiration behind their work, and their evolution as novelists. Although Charlotte and her sisters Emily and Anne did not have a single connection to the literary world, and lived in an era when women rarely saw their work in print — and despite their difficult circumstances at home, including an alcoholic brother and a father who was going blind — all three women became published authors at the same time. I cannot think of any other family in history who have achieved such an extraordinary feat, and I wanted to celebrate that and reveal how it happened.

As part of my research I made an extended visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum. I owe a debt of gratitude to Ann Dinsdale, the Collections Manager, for her gracious welcome to both the house and library, and to Sarah Laycock, the museum’s Library and Information Officer, for sharing many wonderful details about Charlotte’s clothing and other garments in the collection. I also was privileged to receive an unforgettable, attic-to-cellar tour of the former Roe Head School in Mirfield which Charlotte attended, which still sports the legend of a mysterious attic-dwelling ghost.

dinsdag 10 november 2009

Mode


De uitvinding van machines maakte materialen minder duur. Batist, gedrenkt mousseline, geborduurde organdie ( dun doorzichtig katoen), barege (ongekeperde, doorschijnende wollen stof), een wol-en-zijde materiaal, werden veel gebruikt. Onder de zwaardere materialen hoorden kasjmier en witte merino. Een licht-roze zijde genoemd Levantijnse, gros de Naples, en pluche en fluweel werden hoofdzakelijk gebruikt voor hoeden en mutsen. Gaas, crêpe, tule en waren de favorieten voor het snoeien. Materialen en kleuren werden genoemd van gebeurtenissen, en kwamenvaak uit boeken. "Ipsiboe," Trocadero, "" brons, rook, Nijlwater, waren enkele van de vreemde namen. Nadat de eerste giraffe in de Jardin des Plantes arriveerde in 1827, werden mode en kleuren "a la Girafe."

Gedurende ongeveer twintig jaar had de klassieke stijl of “”ontkleed”” gezegevierd, waaruit een verlangen bleek om terug te keren naar de natuur. Geleidelijk voor een andere jurk twintig jaar verliet de natuur steeds verder achter, tot het echt grotesk werd." Een meer conservatieve stijl van kleden resulteerde voor een korte periode.


De rok veranderde weinig tot 1814-1822, daarna werd de rok voller en voller. De onderste rand werd iets veranderd, meer of minder uitvoerig versierd met volants, plooien, vouwen en bandjes in verschillende vormen. Het toonde de voeten en enkels. De grootste verandering kwam in het lijfje en de mouwen. Zat het lijfje eerst hoog in de taille, geleidelijk werd het verlaagd tot de normale taille. Het sloot of heel hoog in de hals en afgewerkt met een ruche, of laag en afgewerkt met een turned-down kraag. Soms werden zowel kraag en ruche gedragen, vooral op straat. Mouwen ontwikkelen zich tot zeer wijd aan de bovenkant en taps toelopend naar de hand. Zoals de mouw in breedte toenam, zo nam ook de schouder en kraag (of "Bertha") toe, het werkte de zeer lage hals af en de taille werd ingesnoerd.


Naar sjaals was nog steeds veel vraag, ook al was de extreme rage voorbij, de spencer en de pelisse met cape begon de plaats in te nemen. Deze had lange mouwen aan de pols en zat hoog in de nek, de spencer stopte op de taille, maar de pelisse reikt e tot de onderkant van de rok. Het werd in de winter gedragen en was over het algemeen afgezet met bont. Veren boa's en enorme moffen van chinchilla's en vossen bont kwam in de mode. De boa werd een kenmerk bij de jurk van 1830, meestal zwart het werd rond de hals en het lichaam gewonden en de uiteinden fladderden in de wind.

Er kwamen diverse wijzigingen in het kappen van het haar en de stijl van hoofdbekleding. Tijdens de beginjaren van de Restauratie was het haar gekruld en horizontaal gehouden rond het gezicht met een lus in de nek, versierd met kleine kunstbloemen, in bossen of kransen.

In de jaren '20 zat er een scheiding met krullen langs elke zijde van het gezicht, aan de achterkant strak en glad in de nek en gerangschikt in een grote lus of strik op de bovenkant van het hoofd met allerlei versieringen zoals veren, kunstmatige bloemen en strikken van lint. Een hoge kam van uitgesneden schildpad hield dit bouwwerk op zijn plaats.

De hoed kreeg een rand en werd met brede linten vastgebonden onder de kin en toonde alleen het gezicht versierd met struisvogelveren. De bovenkant had een klokvorm.

http://www.fashion-era.com/regency_fashion.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1795-1820_in_fashion

http://www.printsgeorge.com/Jane_Austen-fashion.htm

donderdag 5 november 2009

A remarkable cache

Tuesday, 3 November 2009
A remarkable cache
News release from the Parsonage:

A remarkable cache of new Brontë treasures have recently been donated the Brontë Parsonage Museum by a private owner living in Manitoba, Canada. The items were given to the museum by Mr Tony Hart, whose great grandfather was the nephew of Mary Anna Bell, the second wife of Arthur Bell Nicholls. Nicholls’ first marriage was to Charlotte Brontë and took place at Haworth Church in 1854, although Charlotte died the following year, possibly in the early stages of pregnancy. Mr Hart’s great grandfather emigrated from Ireland to Canada in the 1870s.
 
 
The items donated all belonged to Charlotte Brontë and include a gold brooch set with garnets, a beautifully carved ivory visiting card case and card, a fragmentary manuscript by Charlotte, dated 1829 and entitled ‘Anecdotes of the Duke of Wellington’, an ink drawing of a ‘Wellington monument’ accompanying the manuscript, and a signed engraved portrait of Charlotte. The items would have been taken to Ireland by Arthur Bell Nicholls in 1861 after Charlotte’s death and may have been given to Mr Hart’s great grandfather as keepsakes.

It’s very rare indeed for such a wonderful group of items to emerge under any circumstances, but we feel extremely fortunate and grateful to Mr Hart for donating what is certainly a very valuable collection indeed to the museum. Some of these items are quite unique within the context of the museum’s collection and so to have them return to Haworth after so many years, and all the way from Canada, is very special.

Ann Dinsdale
Collections Manager

The new items are now on display at the Brontë Parsonage Museum and can be seen along with many other treasures from the museum’s collection as part of an exhibition focusing on Charlotte Brontë.

zaterdag 31 oktober 2009

Emily Bronte

In 1861, after the Brontës had died, the Gondal poems notebook left Haworth for Ireland with Charlotte’s widower Arthur Bell Nicholls. Following his death in 1907, the manuscript was auctioned in a sale at Sotheby’s and purchased by Mrs George Smith, widow of Charlotte’s publisher. It was then bequeathed to the British Library in London by the Smith family and for the first time since 1861, returns to the Parsonage where it was originally composed.

The iconic portrait of Emily by her brother Branwell was once part of a larger painting called ‘The Gun Group’ portrait. It was cut out by Arthur Bell Nicholls on the death of Patrick Brontë in 1861 and was later found on top of a wardrobe along with ‘The Brontë Sisters’ portrait (also by Branwell) by Arthur’s second wife Mary Ann Nicholls after his death.

Drawings

Drawings from Charlotte Brontë's tale High Life in Verdopolis, the story that she presented to Heger and that turned up mysteriously in a Brussels secondhand bookshop in the early 1890s - now in the British Library. "Portrait of a Young Woman" c. and "King of Angria, Duke of Zamorna" c. 1834.

Handschoenen en portret van Charlotte


Her white kid leather gloves with brass studs and dress with tiny waist are testament to her slight physical appearance.













A recently restored chalk drawing of Charlotte Bronte which was purchased at Sotherbys in 2004 and carefully restored to its former glory by experts.

Boekje waarin Charlotte als kind schreef.

This little book originally belonged to Arthur Bell Nicholls, the husband of Charlotte Brontë. After his death most of his Bronte collection was sold in an auction in 1907. Unfortunately for the Bronte Society at the time the little book was sold to a private American collector called Henry H. Bonnell. It resided with him until his death in 1926, finally returning home in 1927 when it was kindly donated by Henry Bonnellâs family to the Parsonage, the place where it was written.


Repairing or restoring

http://bronteblog.blogspot.com


Repairing or restoring all the damaged setts in and around Haworth’s historic Main Street would cost about £1 million.
The figure was announced by Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council chairman John Huxley, who is part of a working group set up to investigate how to carry out the work.
Cllr Huxley said a report on the issue has suggested different methods of preserving the setts, including imposing a 7.5 tonne vehicle weight restriction.
Cllr Peter Hill said there has already been one concrete, positive outcome of the increased attention on the state of Main Street.
He said in future, any contractors digging up the road would be obliged to employ a sett specialist to ensure the stones were properly replaced.
Cllr Huxley said Bradford Council was now considering what effect a figure of £1 million would have on its budget.
He said a complete restoration would take years to finish.
The parish council declined an invitation from British Telecom to “adopt” the traditional red phone booth in Sun Street, Haworth, for £1.
Councillors were informed that BT was planning to remove the phone but leave the booth in place.
Parish clerk Glyn Broomhead said he understood that in the last 12 months only 105 calls had been made from the phone box.
Cllr Barry Thorne warned the cost of maintaining the structure would be “enormous”, adding that even replacing broken window panels would be extremely expensive.
Cllr Huxley said the council should respond “thanks but no thanks” to the invitation.
Haworth is to be twinned with its namesake, in New Jersey, USA.
Cllr Peter Hill, who has recently visited Brontë Country’s American counterpart, said he would be putting together a “twinning statement of goodwill” to formalise the partnership.
He said there was scope for Haworth New Jersey’s school, along with its volunteer fire brigade and ambulance services, to link up with similar organisations here.
He emphasised the initiative would not cost the parish council any money. (Miran Rahman)

donderdag 29 oktober 2009

The Secret of Charlotte Brontë

This is probably the first and only book which is focused solely on Charlotte Brontë and Brussels, and would therefore be of great interest to everyone interested in that period of her life.

Frederika MacDonald, in 1859, was herself a pupil at the Pensionnat Heger where 17 years earlier Charlotte had been a student, and later a teacher. She knew from first-hand experience what life was like at the school, and even more interesting, what M. Heger and his wife Madame Heger were like in real life.

Frederika had been writing articles as an ex-pupil of the Pensionnat from 1894 onwards, but when Charlotte’s letters to Heger were made public in 1913 (when Paul Heger handed them over to the British Museum), she was the first to quote from these letters in a Brontë biography. They form a vital part of this publication, in which Frederika tries to unravel the ‘secret’ of Charlotte on the basis of these letters.

The book is separated in 2 parts:

Part I; CHARLOTTE BRONTË’S LETTERS TO M. HEGER
(These Letters supply the Key to the Secret of Charlotte Brontë). She ends this part by quoting Charlotte’s last desperate letter to Constantin Heger. She writes: “ The Letter obtained no answer.
And thus the end was reached. We now know where in Charlotte Bronte's life lay her experiences that formed her genius and made her the great Romantic whose quality was that she saw all events and personages through the medium of one passion: the passion of a predestined tragical and unrequited love.”

Part II; SOME REMINISCENES OF THE REAL MONSIEUR HEGER
Frederika MacDonald gives us a marvellous insight into her life at the Pensionnat and her own personal view of the teacher she and Charlotte both shared. She writes: “ But Monsieur Heger had one really beautiful feature, that I remember often watching with extreme pleasure when he recited fine poetry or read noble prose : - his mouth, when uttering words that moved him, had a delightful smile, not in the least tender towards ordinary mortals, but almost tender in its homage to the excellence of writers of genius.

In brief, what M. Heger 's face revealed when studied as the index of his natural qualities, was intellectual superiority, an imperious temper, a good deal of impatience against stupidity, and very little patience with his fellow-creatures generally; it revealed too a good deal of humour; and a very little kindheartedness, to be weighed against any amount of irritability. It was a sort of face bound to interest one; but not, so it seems to me, to conquer affection.” There are also some interesting illustrations, which you hardly find in any other publication or biography.

I strongly recommend this book as a wonderful addition of any good Brussels/Brontë collection.
If you are able to get your hands on a copy, don’t let it slip you by. There is however the possibilty to read the text, by clicking on this link: http://www.archive.org/details/secretofcharlott00macduoft
To see the digitalized original edition, click on ‘FLIP BOOK’ in the left panel where it says; ‘View the book’.

Some more information on Frederika’s book in the Australian Brontë Association Newsletter:
www.ics.mq.edu.au/~chris/bronte/news17.pdf

woensdag 28 oktober 2009

Guided bronte walks in Brussel


The bandstand in Parc de Bruxelles featured in Villette.



Uit:
http://brusselsbronte.blogspot.com/
I am not going to go into details of the tour since it will spoil the little discoveries that one comes across, as expertly guided by Myriam (for all the people who will go on future walks). I just want to give you a brief overview of what we saw. As I mentioned the tour started out in front of the Chapelle Royale where Charlotte and Emily went every Sunday. From there we moved on to the Place Royale, where Myriam went through the history of the area in the early19th century. The square and surrounding areas were a focal point of Brussels life, since the Belgian nobility lived and worked here.

After walking through some small streets in the area we concluded our walk by visiting the Cathedral of Saint Michel and Saint Gudule, where Charlotte Bronte actually went to confession and which is described in great detail in her letters and Villette.

zaterdag 24 oktober 2009

Agnes Grey

 
But the sea was my delight;
and I would often gladly pierce the town
to obtain the pleasure of a walk beside it,
whether with the pupils,
or alone with my mother during the vacations.
It was delightful to me at all times and seasons,
but especially in the wild commotion of a rough sea-breeze,
 and in the brilliant freshness of a Summer morning.
~ Agnes Grey (ch. XXIV), by Anne Brontë

donderdag 8 oktober 2009

Haworth

http://bronteparsonage.blogspot.com/


Few English villages can have been as well documented and photographed as Hawortha place with more significant connotations than most of the others. A recent publication is the latest in a series which uses the old pictures next to the new ones to show how things have changed, and not always for the better. The title is Haworth Through Time, and it is by Steven Wood and photographer Ian Palmer.

Its brief introduction puts the causes of the many changes into a nutshell. It is explained, for example, that the first development of Main Street was brought about by the making of the Blue Bell turnpike through Haworth in 1755, and that the reason for the large number of non-conformist chapels in the Haworth area is because one of the charismatic leaders of the evangelical revival, William Grimshaw, was the local minister. The major nineteenth century expansions were caused by the opening of the branch railway from Keighley in 1867, which also made it necessary to alter the road system in the lower part of the village.

A point sometimes missed by students of the Brontës and by some scholars as well, is that Haworth was until well into the twentieth century a hectic, industrialised part of Yorkshire, and a generally unhealthy place for those people packed into small rooms where they lived, worked hard and died, apart from the folk up at the Parsonage. It was not at the far end of beyond. Many industries and the quarries have of course collapsed now, and at one time the railway itself was closed – until it was reopened by a preservation society.

Today, so many people have cars, and Haworth is a healthy and desirable place for commuters and families to put down roots.

Main Street is full of little shops and cafés geared to the tourist trade, and a good place to stroll along, even though it is not yet a pedestrian precinct, and cars can often be observed going unnecessarily fast along it.

The cars were a problem for Ian Palmer too – he had to put up with their obscuring of many views of course, and apparently had to dodge one or two while pointing his camera, and no doubt holding in one hand the old photograph so that the new one could be taken from the same vantage point. One surprising thing to note in the new colour images is the number of trees. They appear to have multiplied. For example, in a view entitled Haworth from Brow, the increase in the numbers of houses for mill workers dating from the late nineteenth century can be clearly seen, and they are now accompanied by large numbers of verdant trunks and branches. In the old photo, Ivy Bank Mill with a smoking chimney is visible on the left. The chimney has gone, of course, along with thousands of others across Yorkshire, mainly demolished in the 1960s, and the background landscape looks windswept and bare. Ivy Bank mill is now a burnt out ruin.

A view of Church Street and Changegate from the Church Tower taken at the time of the Great War shows huddled buildings (usually described as ‘slums’) and a lack of modern roads. These can be seen in the up-to-date view. An old photo dating from 1960 of Acton Street shows a row of houses now demolished where once lived Old Jack Kay, who was known as the village wise man. Did every village have one of these? Old Jack could foretell and even control the weather, so it was said, and defeat the evil created by witches. Not many people come into the old or the new photos, but an exception is Smithy in the Fold, c1900, in which four well-built men can be seen posing casually – blacksmiths Abraham Scarborough and his son Herbert, along with two other smiths. Their smithy is now a garage.

And the most photographed building in Haworth has to be there as well, naturally – a well-known sepia image of the Parsonage from about 186o is set above a present-day view with tall trees in the foreground.

There are more than 180 photographs in this book.

woensdag 30 september 2009

The Bible of Charlotte

Bought from a dealer in the 1920s or 30s for 50.00, the bible is crammed packed with tiny notes by Charlotte. The expert authenicated the writing as Charlottes, dating the bible from about 1845. It’s estimated value between £15,000 and £20,000!

maandag 28 september 2009

Een bezoek aan de pastorie























De pastorie ("Parsonage") werd in 1778, in neo klassieke stijl gebouwd van zandsteen uit de omgeving van Haworth. Een eeuw later liet dominee John Wade, Mr. Bröntes opvolger, de noordvleugel aan het huis bijbouwen. Hierin bevinden zich thans de bibliotheek en de expositieruimte, In het gedeelte van het huis dat de Bröntes oorspronkelijk bewoonden zijn meubels en persoonlijke bezittingen van de familie ondergebracht.
Het gebouw werd in 1928 aan de Brönte Society geschonken door de in Haworth geboren Sir James Roberts. Charlotte liet verscheidene veranderingen aan het huis aanbrengen; zo werden de eetkamer en de slaapkamer erboven groter gemaakt ten koste van de hal en de kinderkamer. Vrijwel alle meubels in het huis waren eigendom van de Bröntes en het grootste deel van de inrichting van de kamers stamt uit hun tijd.






2. Mr. Bröntes Studeerkamer


 
























De kamer rechts was Mr. Bröntes studeerkamer.
Hier deed hij veel aan zijn parochiewerk en vaak gebruikte hij er alleen, zijn maaltijd. Eén van de wandtafels is dan ook voor hem gedekt. Op het bureau voor de haard liggen zijn psalmenboek en vergrootglas. De piano was van zijn kinderen en werd voornamelijk door Emily bespeeld.

3. De Eetkamer




































In de eetkamer deden de zusters veel van hun werk.
Hier staat de schommelstoel waar Anne gewoonlijk zat met haar voeten op de haardrand en de sofa waarop Emily is overleden. Volgens Mrs. Gaskell, Charlottes biografe, was de overheersende kleur in de kamer karmozijnrood. Charlotte schreef: We hebben gordijnen voor de eetkamer gekregen. Ik heb ze in de fabriek karmozijnrood laten verven, maar ze zijn slecht geverfd en staan me niet aan.









Boven de schoorsteenmantel hangt een reproductie van George Richmonds portret van Charlotte, boven de sofa bevindt zich, in de vorm van een gipsen medaillon, een portret van Patrick Branwell Brönte dat gemaakt is door Joseph Leyland. Aan de andere muur hangen gravures van twee van Charlottes helden: De hertog van Wellington en William Makepeace Thackeray. Charlotte liet de kamer groter maken toen ze succes kreeg als schrijfster.

4. de Keuken

Deze veranderde aanzienlijk toen er in 1878 een gang van werd gemaakt,
het raam werd dichtgemetseld, er kwam een nieuwe ingang en het oude, grote fornuis werd verwijderd. De keuken is zoveel mogelijk in oude staat teruggebracht en bevat het oorspronkelijke huisraad. Aan de tafel kneedde Emily iedere week het deeg terwijl ze haar Duits leerde. Het keukengerei en serviesgoed dat hier te zien is, was eigendom van de Bröntes.

5. Mr. Nicholls studeerkamer


De studeerkamer was oorspronkelijk een voorraadkamer die alleen via de achterkant van het huis bereikbaar was.
In mei 1854 liet Charlotte, met de bedoeling een studeerkamer voor haar toekomstige echtgenoot te maken, de hoogte van de vloer veranderen, een haard inbouwen en een nieuw raam plaatsen. Aan de muren bevinden zich kerkbankdeurtjes uit de oude parochiekerk van Haworth die in 1879 werd afgebroken.

Bezoekers die nu de trap op te gaan, waar ze een reproductie kunnen zien van Branwells beroemde portret van Anne, Emily en Charlotte.
Hier staat tevens de klok die Mr. Brönte iedere avond opwond als hij naar bed ging.

6. de slaapkamer van de Dienstboden

Deze kamer kon men aanvankelijk alleen binnenkomen via een stenen trap aan de achterzijde van het huis. Tabitha Aykroyd kwam in 1825 voor de Bröntes werken en is 30 jaar lang bij hen in dienst geweest. Ze overleed in 1855 en is begraven nabij de tuinmuur van de pastorie. Martha Brown kwam op tienjarige leeftijd bij de familie werken en deed het huishouden tot de dood van Mr. Brönte dit gedeelte van het huis werd veranderd ten tijde van de Bröntes: het raam met de verticale, stenen stijlen in de westelijke muur werd afgesloten (een gedeelte van het kozijn is nog zichtbaar rechtsboven de haard) en vervangen door het huidige raam aan de zuidzijde.

7.Charlottes kamer

Rechts, aan de voorzijde van het huis, bevindt zich de kamer waar Mrs. Brönte in 1821 is overleden.
Haar zus Elisabeth Branwell nam na haar dood de zorg voor de nog jonge kinderen op zich en trok bij de familie in. In deze kamer leerde tante Branwell de meisjes nauwkeurig borduurwerk en huishoudelijk werk. U ziet hier de kleine schoentjes en een jurk van Charlotte, evenals vele persoonlijke bezittingen van de zussen en een deel van het familieservies. De kamer bevat tevens een opmerkelijk haardrooster.





Kinderkamer, later Emily's kamer

Voor de verbouwing in 1850 was deze kamer groter. De kinderen brachten hier vele gelukkige uren door terwijl ze speelden, lazen en avonturen verzonnen voor hun speelgoedsoldaatjes. Later werd deze kamer waarschijnlijk Emily's slaapkamer.











9. Mr. Bröntes slaapkamer

Mr. Brönte gebruikte deze kamer na de dood van zijn vrouw. Later deelde hij hem met Branwell. Het bed is een moderne reproductie, gebaseerd op een tekening van Branwell waarop hijzelf, slapend op bed, te zien is. De andere meubels en kledingstukken in de slaapkamer waren eigendom van de Bröntes.


10. Branwells Atelier

Zo genoemd omdat zich hier voorbeelden bevinden van Branwells werk als schilder. Hij kreeg tekenles in Keighley en had eveneens les van William Robinson, een bekend kunstenaar uit Leeds. Het beroemde portret van Emily en dat van de drie zussen is te zien in de National Portrait gallery in Londen. Branwell verdiende wat geld door korte tijd als portretschilder te werken in Bradford.

vrijdag 25 september 2009

Branwell Brontë died 161 years ago

Branwell Brontë died 161 years ago, finding his much-needed peace at last. This year has seen him alive once again in the pages of several books dealing with his sisters in fictional tales. He's usually a secondary figure needing, nevertheless, to be treated very carefully, being after all a key figure too, bearing in mind that he was the driving force behind the 'scribblemania'. And yet, despite his own alter ego's incursions in fiction, we can hardly believe that he ever imagined himself as a character in a novel.

Branwell states in this week's weekly quote that he does not 'sigh after fame', and indeed, despite modern reappraisals, he reached fame by being the the brother of the three most famous sister-writers in the world. How would he have liked that? His sisters expected great things from him, perhaps they even imagined posterity knowing them through him.

That's one thing that can be said - for better or for worse - of all Brontës: things did never quite turn out as they expected them to.

donderdag 17 september 2009

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article6838353.ece

Until lately biography of literary people has been looked upon as a sort of poor relation to literary criticism, catering for private inquisitiveness rather than intellectual curiosity. More recently, however, the functions of biographer and critic have become very close, and at times indistinguishable. The extent to which the study of a writer’s life can aid the understanding of his works has perhaps been over-estimated in the general concern about psychoanalysis, but its application was never more justified than it is in the case of the Brontë writings.

The outward events of the Brontës’ lives are reflected particularly in the novels of Charlotte and Anne; a deeper search must be made in Emily’s work for signs of her actual experience. But a pronounced factor which links the lives and works of all the Brontës is the atmosphere of storm and agitation—a motif running through the fabric of their experience and thought. The recurrent storm symbol is one of the main points of similarity between the writings of the three sisters, providing as well a connecting element between them and their heredity; the Brontë father’s letters, poems, tales and even his sermons show a preoccupation with the storm image that is echoed in Jane Eyre, Villette, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It expresses, in fact, the temperamental climate of the family.

The question of their mental inheritance—the Celtic strain from a Cornish mother and Irish father—is closely examined by Miss [Phyllis] Bentley in her introduction to the new edition of the Brontë works. The Celtic heredity of the Brontës, she suggests, conflicted in their minds with the more solid indigenous nature of Yorkshire, at a time of transition between the agrarian and the industrial systems. The conflict present in the Brontës, which they ultimately resolved in imaginative terms, was perceived earlier by Mr. Herbert Read; but whereas he attributes their “neurosis” to an inferiority complex arising from “the early rupture of the maternal bond of affection and protection” and “the counteraction of a stern, impassive father,” Miss Bentley’s theory offers a more specific clue to the Brontë genius. Miss Bentley is as successful in her understanding of the early nineteenth-century ethos as she is of the West Riding countryside and people:

"The Brontës saw around them, in their own kitchen and Sunday School class, in the village street and on their walks, in the homes of their parishioners, Yorkshire people behaving in a strongly Yorkshire way, speaking strong Yorkshire dialect. The Brontës from early childhood wrote this dialect with admirable accuracy and ease, but their speech retained a faint Irish accent at any rate into their youth, and their writing retained an Irish fluency throughout. This bilinguality is in my opinion a reflection of a process in the Brontë minds which covered the whole range of their experience: a contrast, a conflict, ultimately a fusion, between their Irish heredity and their Yorkshire environment."

Three tales from Charlotte’s prolific juvenile writings have been selected for this edition by Miss Bentley, who indicates in them the anticipation of some of the chief characters in Charlotte’s later novels. The “daydream” compositions of the young Brontës, falling roughly into the categories of the Angrian legend invented by Charlotte and Branwell, and the Gondal myth of Emily and Anne, have become highly absorbing to the Brontë student, giving an insight into the development of their creative talents and revealing the separate processes that distinguish their individual achievements. In making these distinctions Miss Bentley might perhaps have implemented her arguments and defined her terms to advantage . “Gondal,” she writes, "is an imaginary world, but it is not a daydream world in quite the same sense as Angria; it is a fiction, not a Freudian fantasy; . . . Charlotte was ashamed of Angria, teeming as it did with sexual passion which her mentar censor would not admit into her Haworth life . . . But Emily was not ashamed of Gondal, where her usual stern ethic held inexorable sway . . . ".

If Miss Bentley’s intention, as implied by her curious juxtaposition of the words “fiction” and “Freudian,” is to prove the comparative innocence of Gondal as a factor of distinction between the two legendary worlds, she fails to make her point: what she does succeed in showing, unwittingly as it seems, is an essential difference between Charlotte and Emily — the tendency in Charlotte towards convention, and the innocence, the complete absence of humbug, in Emily.

Angria and Gondal are the early products of genius flourishing in isolation, of which not a few examples exist in literature. Just as their childhood, devoid of normal family friendships, moved in a teeming imaginary world, so in later life their novels evolved from a nucleus of loneliness, outside the influence of literary or social relationships. Miss Bentley, in her extremely able assessment of the Brontë novels, illustrates how the combination of isolation with highly developed imaginative powers contributed simultaneously to the fulfilment of the sisters’ early promise, and to the failure of their brother Branwell; her observation, "Certainly the day-dream habit helped to ‘ruin Branwell. The lonely boy with his over-active brain, never sent to school, wasted his energies and retarded his manhood on Angrian creation, and, finding Haworth intolerable after Angria, took to drink and unsuitable companions to assuage the day-dreamer’s ennui,’ leads to the reflection that the fact of their sex played no small determining part in the Bronte’ sisters’ creative functioning. Branwell’s misfortune seems to have been that he was a man; had he been constrained, as were his sisters, by prevailing conventions, had he been compelled to write for want of alternative outlet, his conflicts might have been resolved in terms other than neat brandy.

Branwell’s is the portrait that, surprisingly, emerges with the greatest clarity, from Mr and Mrs Hanson’s study of the four Brontës. His case history, of course, possesses an intrinsic psychological interest since Branwell Brontë is one of the more spectacular failures in literary history. The pursuit of this theme, however, is not the authors’ intention; Branwell’s appearance as the most coherent character in their work is accidental, for their publishers announce: “Here, for the first time, all the Brontës are studied in detail in a single volume.” (The claim is not quite accurate: Miss Laura Hinkley has, in her biography, dealt with all four Brontës very attentively.) Mr and Mrs Hanson have, indeed, studied all the Brontës in detail; the striking circumstance, however, is that their subjects compel conviction, in inverse proportion to the amount of detail introduced.

The thousand-odd notes to which passages in this volume refer, seem to defeat their own purpose; instead of helping to elucidate, a complicated family history, they confuse it. The more so since the authors themselves seem at a loss to decide which authorities are reliable. For example, we are told that Emily “looked with mingled contempt and pity upon the struggles which were beginning to convulse the tender but conventional religious conscience of Anne" - a statement for which the authority given is Mrs Elsie Harrison’s Haworth Parsonage. Later, however, we find Emily and Anne working in collaboration “even closer, together than Charlotte and Branwell,” and learn that” unlike the elder couple this collaboration was never broken.” Next, a passage from Emily’s diary offers its own evidence: “And now I must close, sending from far an exhortation, ‘Courage, courage,' to exiled and harassed Anne, wishing she was here “—an expression of feelings difficult to reconcile with the alleged “pity and’ contempt.”

It is unfortunate, too, that the authors have not avoided such small factual inaccuracies as that where Charlotte is seen leaving Brussels for the last time: “. . . in a short while she was on the seas, heading towards England, which she was never again to leave.” She did, in fact, leave England once more, to spend her honeymoon in Ireland. Again, Anne is said to have endured six years as a governess at Thorp Green, whereas her stay there actually lasted four years. The references to Hartley Coleridge as “Coleridge” are also misleading. These small errors, although not over-important, are none the less inauspicious for larger issues.

Possibly because, as we learn from the preface, this book has been some eighteen years in preparation, or perhaps because of some disinclination or inability of the authors to sum up, there is little possibility of identifying a standard of criticism with the biography as a whole. Some chapters show originality and intuitive judgment; others are banal and pedestrian. Even the prose style is inconsistent, moving swiftly and with vigour when some fresh idea is offered, but sagging heavily over the effort to assemble the theories of other biographers. The passages on Gondal and Angria, for instance, are exhilarating; they present those comparisons and distinctions without which the most “impartial” writing is hardly worth reading’. It is refreshing indeed to find such percipient observations as:

"Both the Gondal and Angrian chronicles are, superficially, biood and thunder concerned with savage struggles for love and power; but while the Angrian tales are amoral, even when they are no longer told by children, the Gondal poems, even at their most bloodthirsty, show a clear sense of right and wrong."

Such critical acuteness does not extend to the chapters devoted to analysis of the novels. Emily, we are informed, was primarily an intellectual writer.

"Unlike Charlotte, she shows no sign in her book that she had ever felt sexual passion. And although she deals in scenes of naked passion, fierceness and brutality, and although the supernatural is implied throughout the book, it is all described so calmly and in so matter-of-fact a manner that the story is given a reality and a credibility that it would never have told by another hand and in another way."

The idea of Emily as an intellectual writer is a provocative one, further consideration of which is soon arrested by the attempted justification, first by a comparison with Charlotte and then by reference to the style of Wuthering Heights. To say simply that Emily "shows nosign in her book that she had ever felt sexual passion,” merely to point out that her most passionate scenes were recounted calmly, is not to prove an intellectual attitude; and the reader suspects that the conception of Emily as an intellectual rather than an emotional author arises out of a loose assumption that, sexual passion is the only, or the most profound, human emotion. A reader may also find the definition of Emily’s prose style — “matter-of-fact” — as strange as the subsequent introduction of Jane Austen as a parallel, to Emily. More than seven pages of full quotation from Wuthering Heights adorn, but fail to elucidate, the authors’ argument; while their study of Villette is neither adorned nor elucidated by such inadequate critical verbiage as “It is true, it is moving and it is beautiful.”

One of the most important aspects of Brontë biography is the correlation of each member of the family to the others. Around Charlotte, the most ambitious and practical, speculations concerning the other members seem, always to congregate. To say that Charlotte was practical; is not to suggest that she was a realist; her approach to, human relationships was profoundly idealistic and consequently foredoomed. Her marriage was probably the only major realistic action of her life, for she entered it without illusion. Charlotte’s reluctance to accept the fallible in human nature had an effect, both on herself and on her relations with her brother and sisters, which many sentimental biographers have chosen to ignore. Mr and Mrs Hanson are not guilty of this fault, recognizing in Charlotte’s lack of sympathy with Branwell’s misfortunes the precipitation of his downfall, and noting her failure to understand the monolithic “otherness” of Emily.

But Charlotte’s attitude to her youngest sister Anne is one which neither Mr and Mrs Hanson nor Miss Bentley have fully investigated, nor do they give an adequate interpretation of Anne’s character. In this they are not alone. Charlotte’s curiously concealed deprecation of Anne’s personality and talent, in letters and prefaces written before and after the latter’s death, has built up a conception of a “pious, gentle” creature with a tendency to morbidity, that has coloured almost all subsequent critical opinion of Anne Brontë, though this conception is hardly commensurate with the facts of her life and work.

Although both Mr and Mrs Hanson’s biography and Miss Bentley’s introduction have done justice to Anne’s audacious novel Wildfell Hall, the same cannot be said of their, approach to her poetry, their respective verdicts being merely an echo of Charlotte’s preface to a selection of her youngest sister’s verse. “I find,” Charlotte wrote, “mournful evidence that religious feeling had been to her but too much like what it was to Cowper.” It is to be regretted that Miss Bentley has chosen to include this preface in her edition, and that her selection of Anne’s poems does not improve, upon Charlotte’s. Among Anne’s poetical works can be found many fine, imaginative and well-constructed lyrics which in no way give “mournful evidence” of the religious morbidity alleged to be the principal defect of her poetry. And though Anne’s ability is overshadowed by the superior talents of her sisters, the character and spirit which moved her to answer her critics with the words,

"I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man."

should not be regarded as inferior to theirs.

Since Charlotte was the most prolific correspondent of her family, it is from her letters and pronouncements that most data on the Brontës must be taken; it is through her eyes, for the most part, that we observe their movements. The greatest task of the Brontë biographer and critic is to find, so far as possible, the facts and feelings behind Charlotte’s complex subjectivity. Happily, neither Mr and Mrs Hanson nor Miss Bentley indulge in the alternative extreme of baseless conjecture, which has too often cluttered Brontë biography in the past.





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maandag 14 september 2009

Parsonage

Think Brontemania and you’re likely to think of a windswept parsonage standing against bleak moorland, overlooking the cobbled streets of Haworth. The Brontes’ former home has been a museum for more than 80 years, and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.
Numbers have been boosted by the ITV adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic Wuthering Heights, shown last week. Costumes from the drama, including dresses worn by actress Charlotte Riley as Cathy and a long black coat worn by Tom Hardy as Heathcliff, are on display at the museum until the end of the year.
But the Bronte trail doesn’t just lead to Haworth. The literary family left a mark across the district, from Thornton, where the sisters’ birthplace stands in Market Street, to Apperley Bridge, where Charlotte taught, to the Spen Valley, which provided much of the inspiration for her novel, Shirley.
In the TV adaptation of Wuthering Heights, also starring Andrew Lincoln and Sarah Lancashire, both East Riddlesden Hall and Oakwell Hall had a starring role as the Earnshaw family’s moorland home.
Exterior shots of East Riddlesden’s imposing facade were featured, and filming at Oakwell Hall took place in the kitchen, with its huge stone fireplace, parlour, wood-panelled dining-room, used as Mr Earnshaw’s study, the painted chamber and a servant’s room upstairs. Artefacts from the TV drama currently on display at Oakwell Hall include a signed script, a portrait of Cathy, a headboard carved with the names Cathy and Heathcliff, and the deeds to Wuthering Heights which Heathcliff made a drunken Hindley sign.
There was already a Bronte connection to Oakwell Hall long before the Wuthering Heights film crew rolled up. Charlotte Bronte visited the house in the 19th century and it was the inspiration for Fieldhead in Shirley.
Built in 1583, the manor house is set out as it would have been in the 1690s, when it was home to the Batt family. A mix of original and reproduction furnishings provide an insight into late 17th century life. Outside, dotted around a pretty courtyard, is a visitor centre, shop, cafe and ‘Discover Oakwell’ gallery.
The house is set in 110 acres of country park, with delightful walks, nature trails, a period garden and a wildlife area.
Over at Gomersal, an 1830s former cloth merchant’s home, Red House, also has a Bronte link. The home of Charlotte’s friend Mary Taylor, it is featured as Briarmains in Shirley.
“There was no splendour, but taste was everywhere,” wrote Charlotte about the pretty red-brick house, which looks much as it did in her day. Each room brings you closer to the 1830s, from the elegant parlour to the stone-flagged kitchen with its old range and jelly moulds, to the stained glass windows, described in the novel. Charlotte’s Spen connections and friendship with Mary are explored in an exhibition in the barn.
Wandering around the Parsonage Museum, with the sound of crows outside, there’s a fascinating flavour of the Brontes’ domestic and creative lives.
Items on display include Charlotte’s writing materials and their father Patrick’s magnifying glass.
Pre-booked guided tours allow visitors to see treasures from the Bronte Society’s world-famous collections not always on display, including miniature books, made from sugar paper stitched together, which the siblings created as children.
Outdoor activities include guided walks around Haworth, starting in the Parsonage garden, which remains pretty much as it was during the Brontes’ time. A Cyprus Pine tree has grown from saplings planted by Charlotte acquired on honeymoon in Ireland.
Peter Bowker, screenwriter of ITV’s Wuthering Heights, will be at West Lane Baptist Church, Haworth, on September 24 to talk about the process of adapting a classic novel for television.
Next Saturday, novellist Barbara Taylor Bradford will be at Haworth’s Old Schoolroom talking about her love of the Brontes.
Factfile The Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth, is open from April to September, 10am-5.30pm and October to March, 11am-5pm. For more, ring (01535) 642323 or bronte.org Oakwell Hall, Nutter Lane, Birstall, is open weekdays, 11am-5pm, and Saturdays and Sundays, noon-5pm. Ring (01924) 326240 or visit kirklees.gov.uk East Riddlesden Hall, Bradford Road, Riddlesden, is open Saturday to Wednesday, 11am-5pm. Ring (01535) 607075 or visit eastriddlesdenhall.co.uk Red House Museum, Oxford Road, Gomersal, is open Monday to Friday, 11am-5pm and Saturdays and Sundays, noon-5pm. Ring (01274) 335100. (Emma Clayton)

zondag 13 september 2009

First editions


























Currer Bell ( Charlotte Bronte). Jane Eyre An Autobiography in Three Volumes.
London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1847. First Edition. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. H. Back. First edition - collated with text errors of first edition including title page of Vol III printed with no comma following the publisher Elder as in the first two volumes. Three volume set, bound in full dark green wavy rippled leather. Triple ruled gilt border to boards. Five raised bands to spine, gilt rule to raised bands, titling to the second compartment, volume number and author to the third compartment, tooled floral decoration to other compartments with date embossed towards bottom of spine. Spines of all three volumes are darkened and show slight rubbing/scuffing to top and tail and to raised bands. Upper board of Vol. I is lightly scratched/marked. Corners of all three volumes are a little bumped and scuffed. Binding is uniformly tight. Top edge gilt, gilt inner dentelles and marble endpapers. Contents are clean showing no inscriptions but fore edge and margins show the usual browning with age. A number of small tears to the bottom edge have been expertly repaired in all volumes. pp 304 + 304 + 311. A delightful first edition copy of Charlotte Bronte's first and greatest work. £35,000.00
                                                                            















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Bookseller: B & B Rare Books, Ltd (New York, US)
Jane Eyre
* Edition: 1st Edition
* Binding: Hardcover
* Publisher: London: Smith, Elder and Co.
* Date published: 1847

Book Description

London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1847. Edited by Currer Bell. First edition. Three volumes. Finely bound by Bayntun-Riviere in a very attractive half dark green crushed morocco, gilt lining on front and rear covers. Spines in 6 gilt-tooled compartments, with 5 raised bands. Top edge gilt. Bound without half titles, 32pp. publisher's advertisements, fly-title and advertisement leaf in volume 3. Three leaves supplied in facsimile in vol. 3, B1, F6, and F7. A number of leaves cleaned and repaired. Housed in a fleece-lined slipcase. Parrish pp.87; Sadlier I. 346; Wolff 826; Smith 2.. 1st Edition. Hardcover. Fine.

Price: $12,000.00





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The once neglected creator of Cranford is to be commemorated in a window above Poets' Corner

Sunday, 13 September 2009
The works of Mrs Gaskell have achieved renewed popularity, thanks to the BBC adaptation of 'Cranford', starring Dame Judi Dench
The gossiping ladies of Cranford were embraced by the nation when they first graced our TV screens. Now the novelist who created Miss Matty and friends is to receive the ultimate recognition, 145 years after her death.
Elizabeth Gaskell is to be commemorated in Westminster Abbey next year after the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, agreed to add her name to a stained-glass window overlooking Poets' Corner.

Her details will appear in the window alongside memorials to such literary worthies as Christopher Marlowe, Oscar Wilde, Alexander Pope, Fanny Burney and A E Housman. A dedication will be held on 25 September next year, four days before the bicentenary of Gaskell's birth.

Sue Birtwistle, producer of the BBC's adaptations of Gaskell's Wives and Daughters and Cranford, said the author, who was buried in Knutsford, Cheshire, in 1865, is "still underrated" and her writing is still relevant.

She added: "It feels terribly modern... she's completely non-judgemental... a very attractive quality. There are very few people – I think Shakespeare does this – where you can actually laugh and cry at the same time. Her characters can make you do this... and I think that's a real skill."

Actress Deborah Findlay, who read Cranford as a child and reprises her role as Miss Tomkinson for a two-part special this Christmas, said: "Barbara Flynn and I were playing the Miss Brownings and I think everybody on the set took us to their hearts really... I was talking to Sue [Birtwistle] about that and I said, 'well there's a whole town of these women in Cranford'."

The Gaskell Society, which promotes her work, first approached the abbey about her inclusion in Poets' Corner and Joan Leach, its founding honorary secretary, said it was "quite an accolade" to get the go-ahead considering the pressure on space.

Cranford screenwriter Heidi Thomas said Mrs Gaskell would be "thrilled to find herself in such a jostling spot. She was as great a social historian as Charles Dickens and as emotionally bold as Charlotte Brontë... she knew and loved them both and it is absolutely fitting that she should take her place beside them."

Mrs Gaskell's books include the industrial novel Mary Barton and Ruth, a story about an unmarried mother deemed so controversial on publication in 1853 that the author banned it from her home and several contemporary readers reportedly burnt copies.

Alan Shelston, who edited Further Letters of Mrs Gaskell and a number of her novels, and is working on a biography of Gaskell, said: "She was always called Mrs Gaskell... an indication that she had a family life – four children and a husband – and, in some ways, that rather prejudiced against her reputation as a practising novelist." He said she had come into her own only in the past 50 years, after feminist interest in her grew. Then came those TV adaptations starring Dame Judi Dench as Cranford's Miss Matty, pictured far left.

Dame Judi is now patron of the Manchester Historic Buildings Trust, which began work this month to restore the author's former home.
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dinsdag 8 september 2009

Jane Eyre

"My first aim will be to clean down (do you comprehend the full force of the expression?) -- to clean down Moor House from chamber to cellar; my next to rub it up with bees-wax, oil, and an indefinite number of cloths, till it glitters again; my third, to arrange every chair, table, bed, carpet, with mathematical precision; afterwards I shall go near to ruin you in coals and peat to keep up good fires in every room; and lastly, the two days preceding that on which your sisters are expected will be devoted by Hannah and me to such a beating of eggs, sorting of currants, grating of spices, compounding of Christmas cakes, chopping up of materials for mince-pies, and solemnising of other culinary rites, as words can convey but an inadequate notion of to the uninitiated like you. My purpose, in short, is to have all things in an absolutely perfect state of readiness for Diana and Mary before next Thursday; and my ambition is to give them a beau-ideal of a welcome when they come."
~ Jane Eyre (ch. XXXIV), by Charlotte Brontë

Overgenomen van: http://bronteblog.blogspot.com/

By the mid-19th century, women such as Charlotte Brontë could also self-diagnose a disease that in its symptoms was perhaps close to what we would today call depression. [...]
Charlotte Bronte: Author
Brontë claimed to have suffered a fit of hypochondria while teaching at Roe Head, Mirfield, West Yorkshire, aged 19. She fell into "a most dreadful doom", which she believed had little to do with the sickly and doomed family milieu in which she lived. Rather, Brontë meant by "hypochondria" a dismal combination of sorrow, worry and resignation that arose, so she thought, from the fact that she now had no time to write or to think. Later, in 'Jane Eyre', she had Rochester accuse Jane of hypochondria when she expressed her fears about their planned wedding. In real life Brontë outlived her five siblings.

Bertha Mason. Overgenomen van: http://bronteblog.blogspot.com/

“Charlotte Brontë’s portrait of Bertha Mason, the ‘mad, bad and embruted’ wife of Rochester in Jane Eyre has taken on iconic value. But by the time Brontë penned it, she was drawing on what were already old images of madness, probably garnered from the notorious Bedlam”. Lisa Appignanesi

Lisa Appignanesi will be talking about her latest book MAD, BAD and SAD: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800. Including writers such as Charlotte Brontë, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, this is the history of the study of the female mind over the past two centuries. The book has been shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson, the Warwick, the MIND and has won the Medical Journalist’s Award.

Lisa Appignanesi is a novelist, writer and broadcaster, she is former deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, chair of the Freud Museum and president of English PEN.

zaterdag 5 september 2009

'Tis Strange To Think , by Anne Brontë (1843)

And when the blessed dawn again
Brought daylight to the blushing skies
We woke, and not reluctant then
To joyless labour did we rise,
But full of hope and glad and gay
We welcomed the returning day.
~

dinsdag 1 september 2009

female literary legends

In the battle of the female literary legends, ITV1's new adaptation of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights beat BBC1's terrestrial movie premiere about Jane Austen to win the Sunday ratings.
Peter Bowker's take on Wuthering Heights pulled in 4 million and a 19% share between 9pm and 10.30pm, while BBC1's Becoming Jane drew 3.3 million and a 15% share between 8pm and 9.55pm, according to unofficial overnight figures.

Patrick in faded sepia

A rare photograph of the proud father of the most famous literary family in the world has recently been bought at auction in Surrey and donated to the Parsonage.

The faded sepia image of this remarkable old man taken before his death in 1861 is one of the very few photographs known to exist of Patrick Brontë. Still in its original oval gilt frame, the photograph was discovered among papers in an old film box.

The photograph was once part of a collection of items sold off at auction in 1898 originally belonging to the Brown family- Martha being one of the Brontë servants. Over 110 years later, the photograph returned to the auction room and was bought by a first time auction bidder who donated it to the Brontë Parsonage Museum.

Very few original images of the Brontë family exist so we are delighted that this special and rare find can now be displayed for thousands of our visitors to see from Wednesday 2nd September 2009 until January 1st 2010.

maandag 24 augustus 2009

The Brontë Parsonage Museum

The Brontë Parsonage Museum has received funding to develop a series of projects that celebrate and showcase women's writing, as part of a vibrant contemporary arts programme that already exists at the museum. The Brontës were pioneering women writers and we hope that this project will enable a variety of writers, readers and visitors, to explore the museum, the Brontës and their work in new ways, but also to inspire new responses and creativity. There will be event days at the museum, as well as readings by prominent and emerging women writers (which will hopefully be podcasted on this site) and a writer in residence who will create a special project for teenage girls in the local community. All the events will be recorded here on this blog... (Jenna)

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donderdag 13 augustus 2009

2009 Conference, Men in the Brontës' Lives

A report by Charlotte Jonné

(Note: I have done my best to give an accurate report of the speakers' ideas. If any inaccuracies have slipped in I apologise and will correct them if pointed out.)

As I am writing this, I am sitting on my bed in the lovely York Youth Hostel pondering events past, and basically not wanting to go back home. Home, which is – granted – a few degrees warmer, but not as appealing as a conference room filled with Brontë enthusiasts. A lot has happened over the past weekend. I have listened to eminent scholars making their points (accompanied by the occasional plugging of a book), I have got to know very nice people from all over the world (including fellow country…women I should say), and I have had heated discussions about the actor to play Heathcliff / Mr. Rochester in the perfect screen adaptation. The perfect screen adaptation which of course only exists in our mind’s eye (which is, I believe a submerged reference to Shakespeare’s Hamlet – an inside joke never hurts, but I’ll stop now, I promise). What I am trying to say, in this rather roundabout way, is that there was something for everyone at last weekend’s Brontë Conference at the University of York, the topic being Men in The Brontës' Lives - Influences, Publishers, Critics and Characters.

The very first lecture was by Christine Alexander, who talked about hero-worship and Charlotte Brontë. She agreed that there is a lot of hero worship in Brontë's work, because it was fashionable at the time, and because children model their behaviour on people they admire. The Brontë circle being as closed as it was, Charlotte had to look elsewhere, and found the Duke of Wellington among her father’s heroes. However, Alexander argues, Brontë always found a way of putting her admiration into perspective. Alexander then showed how this was done in throughout Brontë’s juvenilia and in Shirley.

The second lecture was given by Dudley Green, an expert on Patrick Brontë. He shed some light on the characteristics the Brontë children inherited from their father. Reverend Brontë made sure they had proper schooling and encouraged them to read, write, paint and play music. His religious influence can also be seen in the many biblical references in his children’s works. A special place in his heart was reserved for Emily, with whom he went shooting. He imprinted on Charlotte his sense of determination to succeed, which she would need when going to Belgium and when looking for a publisher. Patrick was paid a beautiful compliment on his parenting skills by M. Heger, who was impressed by the remarkable character of Charlotte and Emily.

The third lecture on Friday did not have a literary basis. Jane Sellars, an art historian, told us about the Brontë family portraits, of which there are two: Branwell's Pillar Portrait and Gun Group, which has been severely damaged. Sellars reviewed Branwell’s artistic influences and presumed intentions in painting his sisters, but also tried to look at the paintings afresh. She pointed out that the Pillar Portrait was painted when none of the sisters were famous, before the family tragedies. And yet, she argues, our modern-day perception of the portrait is distorted, because in our eyes, it has absorbed all the biographical information we now have about the Brontës.

On Saturday, Miriam Bailin gave us her views on the relationship between Charlotte Brontë and the critic George Henry Lewes. Lewes was the first person to characterise fictional realism, and that is what he wanted out of Charlotte Brontë: realism. He warned her about melodrama and was of the opinion that she should stick to her own experience. Charlotte recognised Lewes’s wisdom but did not accept it, since that was exactly what she had done in writing The Professor, a novel everyone was reluctant to publish. Brontë and Lewes had a lively correspondence, until he judged Shirley harshly, and revealed that the author was a woman. Charlotte felt wronged, since he had judged her as a woman and not as an author. Their frank interchange came to an end.

Michael O’Neill subsequently gave us a talk on Emily Brontë’s poetry and Romanticism, firmly establishing the ties between the Romantics (especially Shelley) and Emily’s poetry. He showed how Brontë reworked Romanticism, and how she responds to her predecessors.

Lucasta Miller, author of The Brontë Myth, gave us an introduction to Letitia Elizabeth Landon, an English poet and novelist, whose celebrity turned into notoriety after a series of scandals. Miller connects L.E.L.’s world with that of Charlotte Brontë. One similarity is the gossip: Charlotte Brontë was the alleged mistress of Thackeray. Unlike Landon, Brontë refused the part of the scandalous woman, and allowed no flirtation with anyone whatsoever. It is, however, interesting to ask the question: if Charlotte Brontë had lived in London, would she have been tempted?

Then Patsy Stoneman took the stage with her lecture on Rochester and Heathcliff as romantic heroes. As in earlier romantic stories, e.g. Jane Austen's, the relationship of Jane Eyre and Rochester is very Oedipal, Stoneman argues. He is an older man. He is also dark, moody, powerful, with hidden sorrows, not unlike Zamorna, Brontë’s Romantic hero. Whereas in the earlier stories it is often the heroine who changes, Jane Eyre revolves around the reformation of the hero. This has become a defining feature of modern romance writings. Rochester is gentler than many Byronic heroes and is prepared to share his life with his wife.

Heathcliff, however, is different from the traditional hero of romance and the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff is far from Oedipal, Stoneman claims. It stems from an earlier psychological phase, the mirror phase, where the child needs another person as a mirror to reflect it back to itself. This love, comparable to love between siblings, is a heritage from the Romantics, and explains the doubt as to whether there is adult sexual attraction between Heathcliff and Cathy. Heathcliff is a Romantic hero with a capital ‘R’, his story being sad and epic, while Rochester has more of the traditional romantic hero with a small ‘r’; his is a more appealing storyline.

Next, Paul Edmondson established the tie between Shakespeare and Anne Brontë’s novels. He showed that Anne has digested and reworked Shakespeare’s work. She had a copy of his work and the creases in its pages indicate what she read, where she paused, etc. The plays she alludes to most are Hamlet and Othello.

Richard Mullen subsequently analysed the relationship between William Makepeace Thackeray and Charlotte Brontë. The two of them had several meetings and an animated correspondence. Theirs was a very ambivalent relationship; Charlotte was at the same time very pleased and displeased with him. Even after Thackeray had revealed her identity in public, she continued to go to his lectures, but five years after that, she was tired of him, and he of her, and their correspondence ended. Charlotte had got too close to her idol.

On Sunday, Mr and Mrs Cochrane, two local historians, lectured on Arthur Bell Nicholls, Charlotte Brontë’s husband. Nicholls has been neglected in Brontë studies, has always stayed on the periphery, because Brontë admirers in general have had a strong antipathy towards him. The Cochranes emphasised that this does not do him justice, and that we should be grateful to him, since he gave Charlotte one of the happiest years of her life.

After which Sue Lonoff brought up M. Heger. She split her subject up into four parts. Firstly, Constantin Heger, the busy, Catholic man who lost his first wife and child. Secondly, Charlotte and Emily’s professor, an inspiring man with remarkable teaching methods. Thirdly, Heger is transformed into M. Paul Emanuel in Villette. This is a radical revision of reality: in Villette, Emanuel is a bachelor, whereas M. Heger was very much a family man. Fourthly, Heger was very responsive to Brontë fans, answering questions and giving them Charlotte’s essays as souvenirs.

The last lecture was one from Margaret Smith, who talked about George Smith and William Smith Williams and their connection with Charlotte Brontë. Smith was a very good friend, gave her advice on financial matters and was even an alleged love interest, although he wasn’t in the least attracted to Charlotte. William Smith Williams sent her books and advised her to write a three-part work (Jane Eyre) rather than another two-part work like The Professor. Charlotte dissolved their correspondence with a rather cold letter.

To conclude the conference we were asked our opinion, and our suggestions for future Brontë Conference topics. Suggestions were: “Branwell”, “The influence of the Brontës on their contemporaries”, “Brontë and Shakespeare”, “Brontë influences”. In sum, there is enough material to keep on talking for many, many years to come!

Charlotte Jonné is a member of the Brussels Brontë Group (http://www.thebrusselsbrontegroup.org)
.

A new Brontë portrait?


James Gorin von Grozny, from Devon, paid £150 for the work which he believes was painted by Sir Edwin Landseer in 1838.
But art experts say Landseer would have had no call to paint the sisters who were not famous at that date.
The only known portrait of the sisters was painted by their brother, Branwell.
In the painting, the figure believed to be Emily Bronte holds a pen and notebook, whilst Charlotte stands and Anne looks away to one side.
Mr Gorin von Gronzy had originally bought a different picture of three sisters from an auction house, but when he went to collect it, it had disappeared.
He said the auction house offered him a refund, or the picture he now believes is of the Bronte sisters.
Professor Francis O' Gorman, of the University of Leeds, an expert in Victorian Literature, said he was doubtful that the painting depicted the Bronte sisters.
"The Brontes were unheard of outside their family circle in 1838.
"There was nothing in the public domain which might have attracted one of the most famous painters of the early Victorian period to stop by and paint them", he said.
However, Mr Gorin von Grozny said that Landseer could have travelled through the Brontes' home town of Haworth whilst visiting his friend John Nussey at Bolton Hall in Yorkshire.
Nussey was the also brother of Charlotte Bronte's friend Ellen.
Mr Gorin von Gronzy said a small 'EL' monogram and the date 1838 visible in the crook of 'Charlotte's' arm, led to his belief that Landseer was the artist.
It is thought that the key to the painting's authenticity could lay in a sketch of a knee on the back of the portrait.
The sketch apparently shows a leg with a three inch scar just below the knee.
Mr Gorin von Grozny argued that a painting by Charlotte Bronte depicting a shepherdess, apparently with a similar scar on her leg, could have been a self-portrait.
The painting of the shepherdess by Bronte, based on Solitude at Dawn by Johann Henry Fuseli, appeared in a book called The Art of the Brontes.

And that would all be really exciting if there weren't big, huge 'but's to everything. And there's practically no need to write the arguments as a quick look at the picture clearly tells that these are not the Brontë sisters. Being three and holding a pen - when they were nearly 10 years away from becoming published authors - is not enough: the dresses, the faces, etc. seem to be all wrong, not to mention that the Edward Landseer - John Nussey - Ellen Nussey - Charlotte Brontë theory is a bit tenuous to put it mildly.
.

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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