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 6 juli 2013

Critical study of Charlotte Brontë

Patsy Stoneman has just published her critical study of Charlotte Brontë in the Writers & Their Work collection of Northcote House Publishers:
Charlotte Brontë
Patsy Stoneman
Northcote House Publishers. Writers & Their Work series
ISBN: 9780746311950

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is one of the most famous novels in the world; its heroine’s spirited response to hardship and temptation has engaged an eager readership since its publication in 1847. Jane Eyre, however, was not Charlotte Brontë’s only novel, and Patsy Stoneman’s book traces the development of her work from her exuberant early writing to her disturbing last work, Villette. A final chapter considers Charlotte Brontë’s shifting popular and academic reputation and the various adaptations and imitations of her work. Reading the novels in the context of Charlotte Brontë’s life and times, Stoneman emphasises her persistent engagement with power relations – within families, between classes and between men and women – and the changing narrative strategies with which she explores them. While keeping close to the words of the page, the book is informed by the critical perspectives of feminism, cultural materialism and postcolonialism. bronteblog

3 opmerkingen:

  1. ....from her exuberant early writing to her disturbing last work, Villette

    One must always remember the last 1/3rd of Shirley and all of Villette was the only writing Charlotte ever did without a Bronte audience listening to it and commenting on it as she composed

    That had to effect the writing I think...it may have made her bolder. There was no one to call her to account . Who knows?

    Charlotte perhaps would not have been so bold as to say of her rival Madame Heger/Beck

    .... Not the anony in Gethsemane , not the death on Calvary, could have wrung from her eyes one tear "

    One can see Anne lending over in a voice laced in irony

    Truly Charlotte? Not one tear?

    I commend Madame Heger's forbearance for not taking the first boat over to confront the tiny Brit in love with her husband with a well chosen frying pan lol

    In this love experience Charlotte reminds me of Branwell in that years of living in the wild world of Angria did not prepare either of them for normal human love relations. Once they ventured out from Glass Town , huge, prat falls awaited...

    This brother and sister went down the same road. They fell hard, as hard as only a Bronte can, for a totally unsuitable, unavailable person . Branwell was her twin still

    Thanks to the forbearance of the Hegers, and the fact she was made of sterner stuff, CB was able to recover, Branwell did not .
    But I think can be said he did not want to , that he could not leave
    Angria after all

  2. I wish to add the difference in the fate of Genius Tallie ( which means Princess and or dew) and Genius Branny was not simply Charlotte had more fortitude and the spectacularly unavailable object of her love was wiser than Branwell's ....both true, but there was more and it's something Anne was at pains to point out in her work as well

    That is, the far more circumscribed lives of woman in the Bronte era.

    Branwell could get drunk and wallow at the Bull night after night and the next day be treated as Mr. Branwell , fine gentleman

    If Charlotte did that for one night, she would soon find herself in a cart on her way to Bedlam

    I'm over stating to make a point, but not by much...while less freedom is not to be desired, it helped Charlotte somewhat in this case and was a check on her behavior when in crisis

    If Branwell had something like this , his fate might of been different....But he was a gentleman and allowed to do whatever he wanted with no real social consequences ...add a Angria style love affair, ( whether just in his mind or in reality, the effect was the same ) and you have a highly explosive mix .

    Branwell ultimately couldn't leave Angria

    But Charlotte eventually did....so who had more freedom really ?

  3. I was thinking more on this and one could say Charlotte's and Branwell's first love experience were strikingly similar events. It looks different from each other, but that because each were the mirror image of the other

    Charlotte did not join Branwell in his descent at the Bull and lay out her broken heart for all to see in a tap room, or Yorkshire village .

    However her just as wild heartache was indeed put on display and for all to see. She wrote Villitte .

    Thanks to the alchemy of genius, Charlotte could turn her heartbreak in to art , .and for whatever reason, Branwell could not . It had to play out in his life

    It's fascinating to view these two next to each other in regards to their love experience . On the surface Charlotte and Branwell's paths look very different...but they were twins still , just in reverse.

    There seemed little sympathy between them for the three years of Branwell's decline at Haworth ..However we usually cannot sympathize with another person going though the same event, but who chooses a very different method of dealing it

    Instinctual hackles rise and a deep level of self protection kicks in , it's almost out of one's control

    When Branwell had passed, Charlotte could then be alive to her love for him.But before it was simply too dangerous and she had to protect herself . She could have been swept away like he was if just a few things were different


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.



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