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 14 september 2013

Critics, it appears to me, do not know what an intellectual boa-constrictor he is.


The devotion of Charlotte Brontë to Thackeray, or rather to Thackeray’s genius, is a pleasant episode in literary history.  In 1848 he sent Miss Brontë, as we have seen, a copy of Vanity Fair.  In 1852 he sent her a copy of Esmond, with the more cordial inscription which came of friendship.
TO W. S. WILLIAMS    Haworth, October 28th, 1847.
Dear Sir,—Your last letter was very pleasant to me to read, and is very cheering to reflect on.  I feel honoured in being approved by Mr. Thackeray, because I approve Mr. Thackeray.  This may sound presumptuous perhaps, but I mean that I have long recognised in his writings genuine talent, such as I admired, such as I wondered at and delighted in.  No author seems to distinguish so exquisitely as he does dross from ore, the real from the counterfeit.  I believed too he had deep and true feelings under his seeming sternness.  Now I am sure he has.  One good word from such a man is worth pages of praise from ordinary judges.
TO W. S. WILLIAMS
December 11th, 1847.
There are moments when I can hardly credit that anything I have done should be found worthy to give even transitory pleasure to such men as Mr. Thackeray, Sir John Herschel, Mr. Fonblanque, Leigh Hunt, and Mr. Lewes—that my humble efforts should have had such a result is a noble reward.
‘I was glad and proud to get the bank bill Mr. Smith sent me yesterday, but I hardly ever felt delight equal to that which cheered me when I received your letter containing an extract from a note by Mr. Thackeray, in which he expressed himself gratified with the perusal of Jane Eyre.  Mr. Thackeray is a keen ruthless satirist.  I had never perused his writings but with blended feelings of admiration and indignation.  Critics, it appears to me, do not know what an intellectual boa-constrictor he is.  They call him “humorous,” “brilliant”—his is a most scalping humour, a most deadly brilliancy: he does not play with his prey, he coils round it and crushes it in his rings.  He seems terribly in earnest in his war against the falsehood and follies of “the world.”  I often wonder what that “world” thinks of him.  I should think the faults of such a man would be distrust of anything good in human nature—galling suspicion of bad motives lurking behind good actions.  Are these his failings?
They are, at any rate, the failings of his written sentiments, for he cannot find in his heart to represent either man or woman as at once good and wise.  Does he not too much confound benevolence with weakness and wisdom with mere craft?
‘But I must not intrude on your time by too long a letter.—Believe me, yours respectfully,
C. Bell.

2 opmerkingen:

  1. I was glad and proud to get the bank bill Mr. Smith sent me yesterday, but I hardly ever felt delight equal to that which cheered me when I received your letter containing an extract from a note by Mr. Thackeray, in which he expressed himself gratified with the perusal of Jane Eyre

    This is a very characteristic passage imo

    As I say the Bronte girls valued a pound as much as anyone. But money would never be Charlotte's main motivation. It was always personal relations that moved her ...as she said such was " the most precious gem life can give"

    As a governess/teacher it seems to me she would take the job with a lower wage if personal relations were involved ( like the position at Miss Woolers, in Brussels etc )

    When her publisher George Smith sent a mere 500 pounds for Villtte without a note, it was the lack of a note that stung and upset Charlotte , not the lessor amount of payment .That disappointment worried her on her father's behalf. Charlotte herself said "500 pounds is not to be despised"

    I believe this was one of the things that estranged her from Branwell as he sat at Hawrorth awaiting for Mr. Robinson's death with undisguised anticipation . Because it was Thorpe Green itself as much as his Lydia he was longing for

    I believe if Branwell was full of just as foolish plans about Mrs. R and he running off together , if it was just the lady herself he wanted, Charlotte might of have had more sympathy for him.

    But the wealth as a motivator, as a goal, that was base to her and it degraded him . The former twin souls differed on a core level in that regard

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  2. and now a word about the post topic! lol

    There is a deeply mistrustful , cynical side to Charlotte( that every idealistic person has ) that delights in Thackeray's brilliant ability to skewer the false ...and in a way so artfully, they are not fully aware of it!

    But here is the balancing act Charlotte herself is engaged in

    for he cannot find in his heart to represent either man or woman as at once good and wise. Does he not too much confound benevolence with weakness and wisdom with mere craft?

    She did not want herself to tip too far to the cynical side

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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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