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

donderdag 24 februari 2011

Bronte Juvenilia

Childhood fantasy is often stifled by the imposition of adult demands. The Brontë children escaped such censure, however. Writing without the requirement to put neat handwriting before creative expression, they developed storytelling skills that are reflected in their adult writings. Michael J. A. Howe describes the imaginary world chronicled by the Brontë children, revealing their sources of inspiration in the experiences of real people and the places they read about.

The imaginary worlds had their beginnings around 1826, when Charlotte and Emily, who shared a bed, invented simple unwritten plays, not unlike those created in many children's imaginary play. The very first of the Brontks' plays took most of the characters from toys, especially their brother Branwell's toy soldiers. The earliest surviving play that was written down, by Branwell, is set in Lorraine and concerns the imaginary intrigues and battles between would-be rulers, in the course of which the imagined events include a rebellion and a siege. As the Brontës' biographer Juliet Barker notes, most of the essential elements of their juvenile writings were already in place at that time, including political rivalries, battles, and rebellions that are played out within fantasy kingdoms (Juliet Barker, The Brontës, 1994, p. 152). Numerous sources were drawn upon. A particularly important inspiration was Blackwood's Magazine, a monthly journal containing a wide mixture of articles ranging from fiction to political satire and humour. Branwell's toy soldiers were given names and pressed into service as fictional characters.

Read more:  http://www.fathom.com/feature/122071/index.html

Our plays were established; Young Men, June, 1826; Our Fellows, July, 1827; Islanders, December, 1827. These are our three great plays, that are not kept secret. …The Young Men's play took its rise from some wooden soldiers Branwell had; Our Fellows from Æsop's Fables; and the Islanders from several events which happened. I will sketch out the origin of our plays more explicitly if I can. First, Young Men. Papa bought Branwell some wooden soldiers at Leeds; when Papa came home it was night, and we were in bed, so next morning Branwell came to our door with a box of soldiers. Emily and I jumped out of bed, and I snatched up one and exclaimed, 'This is the Duke of Wellington! This shall be the Duke!' When I had said this Emily likewise took one up and said it should be hers; when Anne came down, she said one should be hers. Mine was the prettiest of the whole, and the tallest, and the most perfect in every part. Emily's was a grave-looking fellow, and we called him 'Gravey.' Anne's was a queer little thing, much like herself, and we called him 'Waiting-boy.' Branwell chose his, and called him 'Bonaparte.' [1]

During this time Branwell acquired several sets of toy figures such as soldiers, Turkish musicians, and Indians. These toys were the impetus for the founding of the imaginary lands of Angria and Gondal. The children began to write plays about the figures, with Emily and Charlotte composing "bed plays" that they kept secret from the adults as well as from Branwell and Anne. In "Tales of the Islanders" (1829) Charlotte gave a history of the early plays, underscoring Emily's early affiliation with the works of Sir Walter Scott, for she chose the Isle of Arran for her island and Scott for her "cheif [sic] man." This affinity grew with Aunt Branwell's 1828 New Year's gift to "her dear little nephew and nieces," a copy of Scott's The Tales of a Grandfather (1827-1829). In addition to Scott's works the Brontë children drew material for their plays from the family library of Aesop's Fables, The Arabian Nights' Entertainment, and wood-engraver Thomas Bewick's History of British Birds. Their most important influence during these early years was most likely Blackwood's Magazine, whose satires, political commentaries, and extensive book reviews provided them with a wealth of detail that seeded their imaginations throughout their early years of creativity.

In 1831, after Charlotte left for Roe Head School, Emily and Anne began to concentrate their energies exclusively on the Gondal saga, distinct from the Angrian fantasies of their brother and sister, a special form of imaginative play in which the two younger sisters alone engaged for the remainder of their lives. Emily's first mention of Gondal occurs in her diary paper for 24 November 1834, a series of notes written by Emily and Anne about every four years and the earliest piece of Brontë's writing to have survived.

Read more:  www.poetryfoundation.org/

 November the 24
1834 Monday
Emily Jane Brontë
Anne Brontë
I fed Rainbow, Diamond, Snowflake Jasper phesant (alias this morning Branwell went down to Mr. Drivers's and brought news that Sir Robert peel was going to be invited to stand for Leeds Anne and I have been peeling apples for Charlotte to make an apple pudding and for Aunt's [? - unreadable] and apple Charlotte said she made puddings perfectly and she was of a quick but lim[i]ted intellect Taby said just now come Anne pillopuate (ie pill [peel] a potato Aunt has come into the kitchen just now and said where are you feet Anne Anne answered onthe on the floor Aunt papa opened the parlour Door and said B gave Branwell a Letter saying here Branwell read this and show it to your Aunt and Charlotte - The Gondals are disc discovering the interior of Gaaldine.
Sally mosley is washing in the back kitchin. It is past Twelve o'clock Anne and I have not tid[i]ed ourselvs, done our bed work or done our lessons and we want to go out to play We are going to have for dinner Dinner Boiled Beef Turnips potato's and applepudding the Kitchin is in avery untidy state Anne and I have not Done our music exercise which consists of b majer Taby said on my putting a pen in her face Ya pitter pottering there instead of pilling a potate I answered O Dear, O Dear, O Dear I will derectly with that I get up, take a Knife and begin pilling (finished pilling the potatos papa going to walk Mr Sunderland expected. Anne and I say I wonder what we shall be like if all be well and what we shall be and where we shall be this year if all goes on well in the year 1874 -- in which year I shall be in my 57th year Anne will be going in her 55th year Branwell will be going in his 58th year And Charlotte in her 59th year hoping we shall all be well at that time We close our paper.
Emily and Anne November the 24 1834

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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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