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 29 november 2013

Gaskell and Unitarianism:

A reaction from Anne  It was Kelli B. Trujillo, in the original article that said

( Gaskell, who was a Unitarian, further skews Bronte’s beliefs as she interprets them through her own less-than-orthodox theological lens.)

I said
Few also seem to ponder if Mrs G 's attack on Patrick Bronte was in part an attack on the Established church itself...I think that has to be considered. People don't know how bitter the dispute between different groups was.
The reaction of Anne makes me wonder about Elisabeth Gaskell and Unitarisme.

Gaskell and Unitarianism:
During her formative years Gaskell had been brought up amongst Unitarians of a Priestleyan cast. These included Turner, Robberds, and her husband. These "old school" Unitarians believed in a deterministic—called by Priestley "necessarian"—universe in which human error inevitably led to suffering, and suffering infallibly brought about reconciliation with God. The plots of her more serious novels conform to the necessarian pattern, sometimes apparently compromising the logic of her social messages. In a crucial scene in North and South she depicts three people, an Anglican, a Dissenter, and an "infidel," kneeling together in mutual tolerance and reconciliation. According to scholar R. K. Webb, "Mrs. Gaskell's Unitarianism is not to be found in her characters but in the dynamics of her narratives and in her comments upon her characters' actions." Not wishing to be identified as a "Unitarian novelist" as this would severely limit her readership, Gaskell was careful not to tell her stories in explicitly Unitarian terms. In her personal letters, however, there are many clear expressions of her religious opinions and affinities. In a letter to her daughter Marianne she wrote, "one thing I am clear and sure about is this that Jesus Christ was not equal to His father." Gaskell preferred devotional to doctrinal preaching. About doctrines, she wrote to Charles Eliot Norton, "I am more and more certain we can never be certain in this world." She rejected "dogmatic hard Unitarianism, utilitarian to the backbone" and protested that she was not "(Unitarianly) orthodox!" See wrote a friend how she had tried to avoid seeing James Martineau, whom she did not like personally and whose "new school" Unitarian theology differed from her own. Gaskell frequently attended Church (Anglican services) as well as Chapel. She enjoyed the spiritual feeling of the high church service. "I wish our Puritan ancestors had not left out so much that they might have kept in of the beautiful and impressive Church service," she confided to Marianne. "But I always do feel as if the Litany—the beginning of it I mean,—and one or two other parts did so completely go against my belief that it would be wrong to deaden my sense of its serious error by hearing it too often." In Gaskell's estimation, true Christianity was not to be found in organized denominations nor in liturgy nor in theology. She believed and acted on a religion of works, "the real earnest Christianity which seeks to do as much and as extensive good as it can." Local action for change by those most intimately concerned, not government legislation, was her solution to social problems. Those who have should help those who have not. For her such charity began at or near home. She took her motto from Thomas Carlyle, "Do the duty that lies nearest to thee." Unitarian rationalist feminist journalist Frances Power Cobbe, after reading a story by Gaskell, wrote, "it came to me that Love is greater than knowledge—that it is more beautiful to serve our brothers freely and tenderly, than to hive up learning with each studious year." The originals of Elizabeth Gaskell's surviving correspondence are scattered in many collections throughout Britain and America. They have been gathered and issued in print, however, in J.A.V. Chapple and Arthur Pollard, editors, The Letters of Mrs Gaskell (1966). The Knutsford Edition, The Works of Mrs. Gaskell, edited by A.W. Ward (1906), 8 volumes, is the most complete edition of Gaskell's works. It does not, however, include The Life of Charlotte Brontë. Gaskell's novels and Charlotte Brontë are readily available in many editions, notably those issued by Penguin and Oxford University Press. Works not mentioned above include a set of serialized stories, My Lady Ludlow (1858); an historical novel, Sylvia's Lovers (1863), and a short novel, Cousin Phillis (1864). Among Gaskell's short stories are "The Poor Clare" (1856), "Lois the Witch" (1859), and "The Grey Woman" (1861). These and some others are collected in Laura Kranzler, editor, Gothic Tales (2000). The contemporary critical response to Gaskell has been compiled by Angus Easson in Elizabeth Gaskell: The Critical Heritage (1991). Two valuable recent biographies of Gaskell are Winifred Gérin, Elizabeth Gaskell, a Biography (1976) and Jenny Uglow, Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories (1993). Coral Lansbury, Elizabeth Gaskell, the Novel of Social Crisis (1975) and Angus Easson, Elizabeth Gaskell (1979) are works of criticism with a strong biographical emphasis. Easson has a treatment of Gaskell's Unitarian background and beliefs. More theologically sophisticated, however, is Robert K. Webb, "The Gaskells as Unitarians," in Joanne Shattock, Dickens and Other Victorians (1988). There are shorter treatments of Gaskell in Concise Dictionary of British Literary Biography, Vol. 4: Victorian Writer, 1832-1890 and in Ruth Watts, Gender, Power and the Unitarians in England, 1760-1860 (1998). The fullest treatment of Gaskell's husband is Barbara Brill, William Gaskell, 1805-1884 (1984). The story of her relationship with Charles Dickens is briefly told by Sally Ledger in Paul Schlicke, editor, Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens (1999).

1 opmerking:

  1. Thank you , Geri!!

    But it was Kelli B. Trujillo, in the original article that said

    ( Gaskell, who was a Unitarian, further skews Bronte’s beliefs as she interprets them through her own less-than-orthodox theological lens.)

    I said

    Few also seem to ponder if Mrs G 's attack on Patrick Bronte was in part an attack on the Established church itself...I think that has to be considered

    People don't know how bitter the dispute between different groups was! Thank you for highlighting this topic!


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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