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

dinsdag 30 juli 2013

There is a letter, printed by Mrs. Gaskell, from Charlotte Bronte to Ellen Nussey, in which Miss Bronte, when a girl of seventeen, discusses the best books to read, and expresses a particular devotion to Sir Walter Scott.

Scott gathered the disparate strands of contemporary novel-writing techniques into his own hands and harnessed them to his deep interest in Scottish history and his knowledge of antiquarian lore. The technique of the omniscient narrator and the use of regional speech, localized settings, sophisticated character delineation, and romantic themes treated in a realistic manner were all combined by him into virtually a new literary form, the historical novel. britannica

Walter Scott also had the creative and technical brilliance to reassert the place of romance at the heart of a literary culture, nationally and internationally. To read Scott is to be made aware of the strong shaping force of stories in a wider culture, and in literary history. It is fitting, then, that the period in which he was so prominent has been modeled along fictional lines of special interest to readers and historians of romance. blackwellreference

Walters Scott's study hall
It was Byron, the story goes, who forced Sir Walter Scott to invent Romantic fiction
The difference between Waverly and a Gothic novel is that the setting is more than a spooky backdrop—the local people and history are crucial to the development of the story. In a sense, they are the story. This regional, folk-oriented writing, rich in quaint habits and dialect, was pioneered by Maria Edgeworth.
Walter Scott died in 1832. Most of his best fiction—Rob Roy, The Heart of Midlothian, Ivanhoe—had been written in the decade immediately following Waverly, and his final years saw both Sir Walter’s talents and finances in decline. Yet Romantic fiction’s last flowering was still to come, close by on the barren Yorkshire heath. This is the setting for Wuthering Heights (1847), a novel about an isolated farming family with deep, inbred passions, and their struggle against the civilizing influences of the outside world. Emily Brontë could hardly have been more different from Sir Walter Scott. Solitary and obscure, she, like her character Catherine Earnshaw, spent most of her life in the isolation of rural Yorkshire, and was close only with her father, brother, and her two sisters Charlotte and Anne. And her book was a very different sort of book from Waverly. Gone is the history, the marching troops, the curious rustic customs and the Byronic hero waylaid by adventure. Wuthering Heights, with its setting of a few square miles of moors, is Romantic fiction distilled to a simple flame.
Wuthering Heights is a singular masterpiece, a wild and haunting novel that disturbs even modern readers desensitized by graphic images and cinematic blood. It represents an introspective farewell for the Romantic tradition that, even then, was fading. walter_scott

3 opmerkingen:

  1. Terrific article. If one wants to understand the Brontës better, one must read at least some of Byron and Scott. These men were their mentors.

    Having an older father and living in a remote area, they learned their writing craft from an older tradition than their contemporaries

    ..... Wuthering Heights, with its setting of a few square miles of moors, is Romantic fiction distilled to a simple flame.

    Very true . Like an urgent message to be sent before the Romantic flame goes out .

    It represents an introspective farewell for the Romantic tradition that, even then, was fading

    The Romantic tradition may have been fading .

    But the Brontës made sure it ended with a bang !

    1. Offcourse I knew about their love for Scott and Byron and a long time ago I was reading about the Romantic period.

      Now, when I start to read it again I understand The Brontes better. AS you said, they lived in the first period of the Victorian times, but in their minds they lived in another period/ world.

      I feel even more sorry for Charlotte, who had to be a Victorian lady with a heart of a Byronic hero.

    2. I feel even more sorry for Charlotte, who had to be a Victorian lady with a heart of a Byronic hero.

      Exactly. This why she was called "course " when her Byronic heart couldn't help but peek though and why the label stung her so. It was true. At least in the Victorian world she found herself in . Charlotte was both too old fashioned and too far ahead for her own times.

      Charlotte lived in two very different worlds. Her inner, free Byronic world and her outer, Anglican clergyman's daughter world . It's hard to imagine spheres of more different natures.

      Charlotte's genius bought them together in her books . Hence their power and success that goes on to this day and will go on ....and controversy back in her own times

      But personally all Charlotte's life, beyond the Parsonage, these worlds were kept strictly apart .

      Then Arthur Bell Nicholls, am amazingly solid citizen of her outer world, displayed strong Byronic traits of her inner world and put her "in a kind of shock" .

      Charlotte's two worlds suddenly met, one could say, collided , on the personal level on Dec 13th 1852. She exactled the clash of the front door, but another one happened

      Charlotte would never be able to marry if her true, Byronic heart was not given at least some acknowledgment. Living in the times she did , she could not ask for what she needed . But Arthur Bell Nicholls's great love gave it her without her asking.

      He didn't have the fine words, but he had the raging love and wbought his own Byronic truths into the everyday world successfully. That is, Arthur did his duties fully and faithfully , yet put Haworth in an uproar and would not listen to "reason" .

      All Charlotte had known before was her own policy of separation and repression or Branwell's disastrous , free mixing of the two . This was something complely diffrent

      Nicholls's being able to to take over Papa's work sweeten the pot. But imo that would never be enough to cause Charlotte to go down church lane" that dim June morning " to be wed.

      It was because in large measure her groom ,by example, showed Charlotte that one could mix a Byronic nature with the everyday world and find happiness. At least she knew it for a time.


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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