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 24 mei 2013

Biographers from 1900 Part II ( Under construction)

I am reading the Bronte Myth of Lucaste Miller
In the years after Elisabeth Gaskell from 1900 till........
  • Release of the Hegers papers.
  • Vanaf 1920 Psychobiography
  • Influence of Freud (Hidden working of the unconscious mind) and Lytton Stracey ( uncovering of the revealing unedifying motives behing revered façades).
  • Why Charlotte attracted such an un usual prevalence of psychoanalytic interpretation? Her rich symbolic of her novels and the legacy of  Gaskell' s "" Life"".
  • It became fashionable to redefine the Victorian virtue of self denial as a sick symptom of masochisme.
  • Psychobiographers: Subtilety and complexity were often sacrificed for the sake of fitting. It detach the subject from the social, cultural and literary influences.
  • Hollywood transformed Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights in to the greatest love stories ever told.
  • Suffragettes, before the First World War, claimed Charlotte Bronte as a pioneer.
  • Later feminism: Charlotte, a parable of victimhood oppressed by the men in her life, het father, her brother, her husband and her teacher
  • 1980-1990 For the first time since Gaskell biographers stop routinely seeing Charlotte  as a victim.

1912    May Sinclair     The Three Sisters

  • Had an enormous influence on perceptions of Emily
  • Charlotte sublimate desires by redirecting them in to a spirituel channel. Charlotte became spiritual superiority.
  • Reaction against the caricature of Charlotte as a frustrated spinster ( a seks-starved hysteric).
  • She believed in the concept of the ideal women artist.

1914    Frederica Mac Donald     gutenberg/files/The secret of Charlotte Bronte

1919    Esther Alice Chadwick   In the Footsteps of the Brontës

  • A few years after Esther Alice Chadwick (fl. 1882-1928) - who wrote under the name Mrs Ellis H. Chadwick - had read a copy of Elizabeth Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontë, she moved to a house near the Haworth vicarage where the Brontë family had lived. As a result, Chadwick was able to speak to many people who had known the family, and in 1914 she published this extensive biography of the family.
  • Emily, the innocent recipient of mystical experiences which came direct from God.
  • Emily could not have created Heatcliff without the inspiration  of real-time romance. This biographer came up with Constantin Heger!!!!!

 1920 Lucille Dooley
   Psycho analysis of Charlotte Bronte. As a type of woman of genius
  • Charlotte had a father fixation. Electra complex.
  • Lucile Dooley was the first commentator to suggest that Charlotte' s death was caused by "psychogenic reactions" linked to her father fixation. Charlotte could not become a mother without a destroying conflict.
  • The unconscious artist. Charlotte'snovels hadrisen whole and unalterable from ""the Unconscious"".
  • Dooley subtler than many other psychobiographers.
1927 Isabel C. Clarke  Haworth parsonage. A picture of the Bronte family
  • William Weightman awoke the passion to create Heatcliff
  •  Emily must have been a Roman Catholic
  •  Comparing Emily to catholic mystics

1928 Romer Wilson  The Life and Private history of Emily Jane Bronte.
  • Romer is a Yorkshirewoman
  • She boasted that she paid especial and respectful attention to primary sources.

 1929 Rosamond Charlotte  
  • Wanted to explode the foolish fashion of canonising Charlotte Bronte.
  • If Charlotte's life was sad, it was her own fawlt
  • The key to Charlotte's problem "surpressed personality"
  • Lack of interest in the literary evidents of Charlotte's writings.
  • Charlotte is prim, priggish and a prude
  • Rosamond invented the idea Charlotte liked green and Emily purple

1932  E.F.Benson
  • Calling Charlotte ruthless, bitter, ungracious and black censoriousness of others is the root of much of her unhappiness.
  • Charlotte' s hardness contrasts Emily' s superior generous nature. 
  • Charlotte forfeited Emily' s love.
  • Charlotte remained detached from her works.
  • Not to gain a deeper understanding of het literary imaginazing but to judge het personal life. 
  • He put Charlotte as bitch on the map.
  • Emily Bronte lesbian.

1936   Virginia Moore   The Life and Eager Death of Emily Bronte
  • She wrote Glendale poems instead of Gondal Poems
  • Masculinity of Emily's prose
  • Heathcliff is a self-portrait
  • She had difficulty reading old handwriting.
  • She misread the title of a poem "Love's Farewell" as ''Louis Parensell" and went on to invent alover of that name


  • The Brontes web of Childhood
  • First in -depht study of the juvenilia
  • Pioneering work

1948   John Maynard   Charlotte Bronte and sexuality
  • Sexual desire was rooted in her reading Byron' s Don Juan and Shakespeare' s comedies and through het intuition and introspection. 

1953 Muriel Spark

  • Emily' s poems and novel, not anything that happened in het external life, formed the principal facts of her biography.
  • Emily is a self-created being centered in the universe of her own imagination.
  • Gondal and Wuthering Heights became so central to Emily' s life that she ceased to distinguish between the realand the imaginary.
  • Emily believed she was at liberty to will or not to will death from a fatal disease. She suffered
  • from delusions about the power of her own genius, dramatizing her own dying.

1960 Millicent Collard. Wuthering Height- the Relevation, a Psychical Study of Emily Bronte.
  • What was it that Emily Bronte was hiding from the World? A strong psychic nature, contact with the death, second sight.
  • This book seem like a lone eccentric, but it reflects the process of mystification, established during the interwar period.

1967  Winifred Gerin. Lived on the edge of Haworth moor. The evolution of genius

  • Combinated passion and erudition in her books
  • The first who used footnotes, documented her sources
  • Her main aim to trace the evoling process by which Charlotte became a novelist
  • Visitations deserted Emily
  • Emily close to Branwell

1969   John Hewish    A Critical and Biographical Study

  • Skepticism. Did Emily bake the bread or is a story Gaskell made up?
  • Law Hill "problem". Excactly how many month did Emily spend teaching at Law Hill?

1976    Helene Moglen The Self Conceived 

  • Charlotte was doomed because, as a woman, she could not be Zamorna.
  • Nicolls is an authority figure, though it internalizes Charlotte' s needs to be dominated.

1976   Margot Peters Unquit Soul.

Life and Art, both an eloquent protest over the cruel and frustrating limitations imposed upon women,
Life could not be other than  a battle between conformity and rebellion.

Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar The_Madwoman_in_the_Attic 
  • Bertha Mason is Jane Eyre's doppelganger, able to express what Jane cannot
  • The Red Room: the figure in red represent the passionate rage of Jane 


Placed Charlotte in the context of nineteenth rather then twentieth century wrinting of gender
Interested in recognizing those aspects of Charlotte''s personality which enabled her to become an ambitious artist.

    1994  Stevie Davies

  • Emily' s poetry embedded in a whole web of other literary sources analogues
  • German Philosophy
  • Gives a vived picture of the relationschip between biographer and biographee
  • Emily may have has a lesbian  consciousness, but cannot prove it.

8 opmerkingen:

  1. 1932 E.F.Benson

    Boy, I really dislike this fellow and I can't read his book much because of his overflowing bitterness that stamps every page .

    This is like the newer book that says Arthur and Charlotte poisoned everyone lol ...then Arthur poisoned Charlotte...why he then took care of Patrick for six years until Rev Bronte died of natural causes is never explained lolol

    Charlotte' s hardness contrasts Emily' s superior generous nature.

    Like Mr. Benson would know. Does he mention Emily was the one who beat Keeper to a pulp? Brontes are both hard and soft

    Emily attracts those who wish to make a Bronte to their own liking
    Since there is much we cannot know , the idea of Emily is used like clay to fashion a made up image...and of course the far better known human being comes off the worse for it.

    His book has far more to do with E.F. Benson, than the Brontes imo

    1920 Lucille Dooley

    Psycho analysis of Charlotte Bronte. As a type of woman of genius

    Lucile Dooley was the first commentator to suggest that Charlotte' s death was caused by "psychogenic reactions" linked to her father fixation. Charlotte could not become a mother without a destroying conflict.

    lol of course Tabby's typhoid fever was a non factor lol. We know Charlotte was nursing Tabby because CB wrote to a doctor about Tabby's illness and said "she voids without warning " ie CB got covered. I think one can say infection was a factor in her passing...which followed Tabby's with the same time period of illness and death

    The unconscious artist. Charlotte's novels had risen whole and unalterable from ""the Unconscious"".

    That is ridiculous and a great disservice to Charlotte If today one's reads Elizabeth Imay's amazing book

    Charlotte Bronte and the Mysteries of Love: Myth and Allegory in "Jane Eyre"

    One is shown Charlotte was a super conscious artist, astonishing so .By the time she wrote Jane Eyre, Charlotte was a master craftswoman ..saying she was not is a means to bring her down a peg or two while not having to do research oneself .

    Why it took near the end of the 20th century for folks to READ the vast amount of source material there all along is a mystery. But thankfully they have

    The 20's was the beginning of a time of the over dominance of Psychoanalysis speculation...which we are still in, but not as deeply thank goodness .

    It was crafted to take the place of exhausted religion as a value system.

    By both are of not much worth if they are allowed to thoroughly dominate humans and crush creativity . There is a saying in the bible.

    " the Sabbath was made for man, man was not made for the Sabbath"

    Meaning any system that crushes the human being is being used wrongly and it then loses its value.

    People in the 20's said God is dead, but then worshiped Freud...where is the progress in that? One simply has a new God and religion...and one without the great art lol

    The Brontes were and are ripe for treatment from such then and now because they are so emotional alive. They crackle with feeling still...many are attracted to that, but must contain it somehow...must pin the butterfly to a board to study it .

    I have to say of the many psychologists I have met ( they seem drawn to the art field as a way to feel ) a good many have a difficult time with just feeling their feelings...that the Brontes do not have this difficulty is an outrage lol

  2. Thanks for updating this post!

    I think Winifred Gerin is a must read for the Bronte fan for as you say she

    Combined passion and erudition in her books

    making her rare then and now imo... Her work has an amazing balance
    that makes it a standout

    Being human and a genius, CB is vastly more multifaceted than many treat her.

    Was Charlotte was doomed because, as a woman, she could not be Zamorna.? Well perhaps...but
    that over looks the fact she still was Zamorna within ...plus that is but a small part of this woman...people tend to have pet theories and make too much of them when an allusion to the idea would provide insight .

    They often tend to see things as wholly negative...I believe CB liked being lorded over because she liked being a rebel..One can hardly do so when in charge, as increasingly she was as Papa's health was declining ...

    Charlotte writes" Arthur says this and Arthur says that" just as all her life before she wrote " Papa says this or that" but for the most part, and certainly since her success, she hid behind them as she did exactly what she wanted . They are a marvelous convenience when you don't want to do something...like getting the vapors .

    A good part of Ellen's fury over the letters is towards Charlotte. Because CBN did not dream of fighting Arthur over the issue ...but simply laughed at him , "obeyed" and moved on ...she picked her fights and did not waste powder on those she deemed not worthy.

    I believe Charlotte regularly burned other's letters and this "order" did not register as an overbearing one. Charlotte's main response seems to have been "Whatever".

    Of course Ellen transferred her anger about it to Arthur solely.... Charlotte was a wretched and helpless victim. That view does not flatter Charlotte or her judgment to marry Arthur.... and it rather makes him more powerful than he was.

    One can call Charlotte alot of things , but by that time in her life "helpless" would not be one of them imo. However by making Charlotte a total victim, Ellen does not have to face the fact Charlotte indeed chose Arthur over herself...in this incident and other wise

    It's marvelous to have so many books about the Brontes... and from so many eras . Reading them, old and new, and rereading them over time is very enjoyable for the Bronte fan .

    You can't read books from just one era. One should employ the full spectrum of Bronte scholarship ....because all worthy Bronte biography informs the rest imo

  3. Hey Geri, It took me some days to realize it , but the photo you have for John Maynard is
    actually of John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) British economist.

    I think a book about Charlotte's sexuality by John Maynard Keynes however would have been interesting lol

    I'm awaiting my copy of John Maynard's book from inter library loan

  4. 1928 Romer Wilson The Life and Private history of Emily Jane Bronte.

    She had difficulty reading old handwriting. She misread the title of a poem "Love 's Farewell" as " Louis Parensell" and went on to invent a lover ( for Emily Bronte) of that name.

    That is hilarious... ouch

  5. Hi Anne,

    O dear, o, dear, I toke away John Maynard Keynes........ Thank you for mentioning it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And Louis Parensell is from Virginia Moore. i changed this as well.

    It was fun collecting all these biographers with their different ideas.

    Thank you for your comment.

  6. You are welcome. I was looking at his photo for days thinking" I didn't know John Maynard Keynes wrote a book about Charlotte's sexuality? ... he was part of the Bloomsbury group so I thought well maybe lol Then I read the name more carfully

    I do like reading everything and deciding for myself and how great we have so many years of Bronte books
    to choose from ?

    And Louis Parensell is from Virginia Moore. i changed this as well

    Well whoever wrote it, it shows it does not take much to create an Emily myth as one wishes lol

    Another interesting aspect to study is how each Bronte faced having to leave and go into the world beyond the Parsonage once they grew up ...some did better than others. But it was a crisis for each ...which Anne seemed to master more than the others.


  7. I have started John Maynard's " Charlotte Bronte and sexuality"
    and I'm very impressed.

    Maynard sees Charlotte as a conscious, serious artist
    " the first author in English to deal with this topic before Hardy " ....

    So already I like it

    But then he takes on the physiologically (mis)treatment CB had been subjected to
    and says much what I said earlier in the comments , only vastly better

    I 'm so impressed, I have utilized my lone typing finger to tap out some choice quotes

    Psychological studies of Bronte have tended , however, to attempt more than some further insights into the life behind the work; they have offered themselves as a central mode of interpreting her work .

    As such , they have regularly encouraged readers of Bronte to interpret her sexual and psychological insights not as a major aspect of her art but as the uncontrolled drama of her own inner life spilling over into her writing


    " The very ways of looking at experience that lead to Bronte anticipate broadly the assumptions of Freudian psychology , the massive symbolic and psychological content of her fiction , attract the psychological biographers and critics as a well designed playground attracts children

    LOL how true

    The psychological studies of Bronte show in aggravated form many of the problems with psychopathology as a whole . The practicing analyst asks questions that bring his living patients to knowledge that they may try out in their on going lives ; the biographical shrink on the contrary arbitrarily imposes psychological interpretations on the dead without any possible test of their validity

    alot of wisdom there

    Anyone who takes the trouble to read over the psychological studies of Bronte will not find it difficult to maintain comic perspective on the issues raised so gravely , unless indeed he has his own ax to grind

    Lord yes

    I have to thank you Geri. I didn't know of this book before reading about it here!

  8. John Maynard's " Charlotte Bronte and sexuality"

    Update: This book continues to impress..I feel I know CB better after reading Prof. Maynard's book

    and '

    Elizabeth Imay's " Charlotte Bronte and the Mysteries of Love: Myth and Allegory in "Jane Eyre"

    Both of them see CB as a fully conscious artist/ author , makes her choices in a fully conscious way ....not swept up unknowingly .

    She had severed too long an apprenticeship for that .

    Charlotte Bronte : Master Craftswoman Writer .

    She herself contains the true Master within


The Parlour

The Parlour



Charlotte Bronte

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

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

Poem: No coward soul is mine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emily Bronte

Family tree

The Bronte Family

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

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

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

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

Patrick Bronte married Maria Branwell on 29th December 1812.

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

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

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

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

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

Top Withens in the snow.

Top Withens in the snow.



Related Posts with Thumbnails