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

zaterdag 3 maart 2012

Mary Taylor: Strong-minded Woman and Friend of Charlotte Brontë

The Red House Museum has been in the news a lot lately for all the wrong reasons. But here's one of the right reasons: the exhibition Mary Taylor: Strong-
minded Woman and Friend of Charlotte Brontë opens tomorrow March 3rd. As reported by the Yorkshire Post.

AN exhibition exploring the life of a pioneering Yorkshire woman is coming back to a West Yorkshire museum after touring to a museum in New Zealand.
Entitled Mary Taylor: Strong-minded Woman and Friend of Charlotte Brontë, it will be at Red House Museum, Gomersal, from Saturday, March 3, to March 25.
The museum was under threat of closure by Kirklees Council but will now remain open but could be subject to admission charges from June 1st.
The exhibition will coincide with International Women’s Day celebrations.
Mary Taylor, who was born into a Yorkshire woollen merchant’s family at Red House, has attracted international attention for her unusually independent lifestyle and writings.
“Leading mountain climbing expeditions to Switzerland; emigrating to New Zealand; setting up a business and teaching in Germany would represent an adventurous life even today. For a woman to do it in the 1800s was extraordinary,” says museum officer, Helga Hughes.
The exhibition was created in partnership with Joan Bellamy, a former lecturer who was born in Liversedge and is author of Mary Taylor’s biography More Precious Than Rubies.
The exhibition has shown in Wellington, New Zealand, for 18 months. bronteblog/mary-taylor-strong-minded-woman-

vrijdag 2 maart 2012

Bronte weather

O out of interest Charlotte mentions the wind the most - a total of 62 times. Closely followed by rain at 52 times and temperature at 46 times. There is also descriptions of the sky (28 times); the sun (25 times); clouds (24 times); snow (23 times); frost and ice (21 times); the moon and stars (cloudless nights - 19 times); storms and gales (12 times); thunder and lightening (6 times); mist (6 times); dew (5 times); and fog (3 times).*Bronte weather

Emily Bronte


How fascinating her writing is with minuscule text, ink blots and doodles. It's the smudges and idle little sketches that seem to bring it to life - Emily Bronte made those marks. 
Bronte weather

woensdag 29 februari 2012

Thousands of cobbles

The stone setts on which the Brontës trod are being dug up, repaired and relaid. Thousands of cobbles on historic Haworth Main Street are being repaired by Bradford Council. The work, which began yesterday, is the final phase of a £600,000 project to preserve the character of the village, the former home of the Brontës and a major visitor attraction. The latest phase of the scheme will cover the length of Main Street between The Old White Lion Hotel and The Fleece pub and is expected to last until the summer. Last year new seats, direction posts and planters were installed in the village.  ain Street will be closed in short sections while the work is carried out.
Pedestrians will be allowed access at all times. The road will be reopened at weekends and no work will be carried out on bank holidays.
Look for a video on yorkshirepost

Lost Brontë manuscript discovered in Belgian museum by member of Brussels Brontë Group

Some months ago Brian Bracken discovered a ‘lost’ Brontë manuscript, which is now published in the renowned London Review of Books. It is the first devoir written by Charlotte at the Pensionnat Heger, on 16 March 1842. The little story is a sort of fable about a young rat, entitled L’Ingratitude. 
The manuscript was found in the Musée Royal de Mariemont, near Charleroi, along with some other Brontë related papers. In 1915 Paul Heger had given them to Raoul Warocqué, a wealthy collector. He also managed to acquire letters from, for instance, Rembrandt, Mozart and Erasmus. 
For many decades these papers were accessible to anyone, but it was a fairly coincidental finding by Brian that led to this great discovery.
Special thanks go to Sue Lonoff, the expert on the Brusselsdevoirs, who also provided the translation of the manuscript.
The article will be available on the website of the London Review of Books. The paper version, dated 8 March, will be available this Thursday, 1 March. brusselsbrontelost-bronte-manuscript-discovered

A long-lost short story

A long-lost short story written by Charlotte Brontë for a married man with whom she fell in love is to be published for the first time after being found in a Belgian museum a century after it was last heard of.
The tale, written in grammatically erratic French and entitled L'Ingratitude, is the first-known piece of homework set for Brontë by Constantin Heger, a Belgian tutor who taught both her and her sister Emily, and is believed to have inspired such ardour in the elder sibling that she drew on their relationship for her novel Villette.
Brian Bracken, a Brussels-based archivist and Brontë expert, found the manuscript in the Musée Royal de Mariemont. He said the short story had been last heard of in 1913, when it was given to a wealthy Belgian collector by Heger's son, Paul. The London Review of Books (LRB) is to publish the story in full on its website on Wednesday and in its paper edition on Thursday.
"It was finished a month after Charlotte arrived in Brussels and is the first known devoir [piece of homework] of 30 the sisters would write for Heger," writes Bracken in the LRB. "It contains a number of mistakes, mainly misspellings and incorrect tenses … he [Heger] often returned their essays drastically revised – sadly, there are no comments on this copy of L'Ingratitude."
The fable-like story is dated 16 March 1842 and is about a thoughtless young rat who escapes his father's protective care in search of adventure in the countryside and comes to a sorry end. The tale contrasts the solemn paternal devotion of the father with the reckless abandon of his "ingrate" offspring.
Bracken believes it could well have been based on the works of the celebrated French fabulist, La Fontaine.
"By all accounts a gifted and dedicated teacher, [Heger] gave Emily and Charlotte homework … based on texts by authors they had studied in class," he writes. "They were to compose essays in French that echoed these models, and could choose their own subject matter."
After her first stay in Brussels was brought to an abrupt halt in November 1842 by the death of her aunt, Brontë returned to the city the following year to become an English teacher at the boarding house run by Heger's wife, Claire Zoë Parent. She left for good in 1844, "worn out", writes Bracken, "by her infatuation with Heger, and his wife's hostility towards her."
Brontë's feelings were made public when, in 1913, Paul Heger gave permission for four letters she wrote from Yorkshire to her teacher to be published.
"I would not know what to do with a whole and complete friendship – I am not accustomed to it," she says in one. "But you showed a little interest in me when I was your pupil in Brussels – and I cling to the preservation of this little interest – I cling to it as I would cling to life."
The Brussels period is recognised by Brontë scholars as being pivotal in the careers of both sisters – particularly for Charlotte, who was 25 when they first arrived in Belgium. "Charlotte's novel Villette, published in 1853, reworks her experiences in Brussels, with the difference that the teacher returns the heroine's love," Bracken writes. In The Professor, too, a novel written shortly after her return from Belgium but only published posthumously, she explores the dynamic between pupil and teacher. Unlike her real life infatuation, it ends happily.www.guardian.co.uk

maandag 27 februari 2012

Elizabeth Gaskell's house opens for history festival


The former home of Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell is opening to the public as part of a history event.
The Cranford author lived in the Grade II listed villa in Plymouth Grove, Victoria Park, Manchester, from 1850 until her death in 1865.
It is open to visitors on Sunday for the Manchester Histories Festival, which aims to reveal new and hidden histories across Greater Manchester.
The house, which was restored in 2010, will be open until 16:00 GMT.
Gaskell wrote most of her novels in the house and authors including Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte are known to have visited and stayed there.
Festival visitors can see slide shows and listen to readings from Mrs Gaskells' novels and letters. www.bbc.co.uk

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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