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 31 oktober 2015

"May have " and so much "simply".


I didn't read the new biography ""Charlotte Bronte"" from Claire Harman. Off course not, because it is only two days ago it is published. But I am a little surprised by the reactions I am reading. For instance this one:

From: Charlotte Brontë: A Life by Claire Harmann review – a well-balanced, unshowy biography
theguardian

In the pragmatic 1990s, Juliet Barker worked hard to clear away the consequences of Gaskell’s well-meaning gothicisation by rebuilding the Brontës’ story on solid historical grounds. In particular Barker challenged her portrayal of Patrick Brontë as a storybook ogre. Charlotte too was transformed from a sequestered tragic heroine into a chippy spinster who carefully stage-managed her rise to literary fame by persistently pushing herself and her work, even the duff stuff, before the public.

As a highly experienced biographer, Harman has too much integrity to suggest that this idea of her subject as a proto-modernist is entirely fresh. Nor does she even hint that she has uncovered any new documentary sources about her. Instead, she wisely concentrates on rounding out and deepening aspects of the author’s life that have been previously scanted or skewed. Particularly fine is Harman’s reading of how the tortuous, sexless love affair between Héger and Brontë could ever have been allowed to reach such heights – or depths. Previous biographers have tended either to castigate Héger as a married flirt who led Brontë on, or they have painted her as a disordered spinster, randy with celibacy, quite capable of spitefully destroying a man who refused to make love to her. (...)

Harman, by contrast, suggests that what we may be looking at is primarily a cultural misunderstanding. Héger routinely lavished his pupils with a repertoire of kisses, pats and affectionate glances. Brontë, raised with brisk Yorkshire non-showiness, may simply have misread pseudo-parental tenderness as a special favour. What’s more Mme Héger, far from being as sly and vengeful as her fictional avatar Mme Beck, was simply a sensible businesswoman who realised the damage to her school’s reputation if gossip emerged about a tendresse between her husband and the plain, nervy English governess. Deciding not to respond to the stream of yearning, abasing letters that Brontë wrote once she had returned to Haworth wasn’t a vicious move on the Hegers’ part, but simply self-preservation. Read all:  theguardian

I am an admirer of the biography of Juliet Barker and I really don't recognize that I ever thought:


Charlotte is transformed from a sequestered tragic heroine into a chippy spinster who carefully stage-managed her rise to literary fame by persistently pushing herself and her work, even the duff stuff, before the public.


"May have " and so much "simply" in:

Harman, by contrast, suggests that what we may be looking at is primarily a cultural misunderstanding. Héger routinely lavished his pupils with a repertoire of kisses, pats and affectionate glances. Brontë, raised with brisk Yorkshire non-showiness, may simply have misread pseudo-parental tenderness as a special favour.

What’s more Mme Héger, far from being as sly and vengeful as her fictional avatar Mme Beck, was simply a sensible businesswoman who realised the damage to her school’s reputation if gossip emerged about a tendresse between her husband and the plain, nervy English governess. Deciding not to respond to the stream of yearning, abasing letters that Brontë wrote once she had returned to Haworth wasn’t a vicious move on the Hegers’ part, but simply self-preservation. theguardian

Is everything really that "simply"?

vrijdag 30 oktober 2015

Mr. Heger's most personal and thoughtful gift yet...........

On the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth, Penguin is publishing the definitive biography of this extraordinary novelist, by acclaimed literary biographer Claire Harman.
 
This beautifully-produced, landmark biography is essential reading for every fan of the Brontë family's writing, from Jane Eyre to Wuthering Heights. It is a uniquely intimate and complex insight into one of Britain's best loved writers. penguin.co.uk
  
I am a little bit surprised. A definite biography?
 
It is a nice idea to publish a new biography on the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth, but "" definitive biography ""? After the excellent biographies of Juliet Barker and Rebecca Fraser?  Is it possible to write better biographies then these? I wonder, is there something new in this biography we didn't hear of?
 
New to me is what I am reading in an article of Claire Harman in the telegraph.co.uk:
 
One Friday afternoon, 11 days before the end of term, Heger came into the classroom where Charlotte was teaching and handed her a small object wrapped carefully in a piece of thin writing paper. She opened it as soon as he left. Inside the zigzag wrapping was a small piece of pale wood, too thin to be anything other than crating. It was a piece of Napoleon’s coffin, or, rather, since Napoleon was famously coffined in tin within mahogany within lead, possibly a piece of the outer casings in which the great man’s remains had been brought back to France three years earlier, under the command of his son, the Prince de Joinville, whose former secretary, Joachim-Joseph Lebel, was Heger’s friend and principal of the Athénée. Out of the fog of disregard, Heger had reached out to her with his most personal and thoughtful gift yet, a relic at once to be revered for its connections and regarded with a touch of pleasant mutual cynicism, a continuation of their conversation about the emperor and his British nemesis, and a reminder of her triumphant essay on the subject; a small gift which could be slipped into her hand without fuss, which Madame Heger would never notice, and which, above all, was a token of her abiding place in his thoughts. While the girls were still busy, Charlotte wrote on the spread-out wrapper the exact coordinates of place and time of this precious new possession: “August 4th 1843 – Brussels – Belgium/ 1 o’clock pm/ Monsieur Heger has just been into the 1st Class/ and given me this relic – he bought it from/ his intimate friend M. Lebel.”

 
On the website of the Bronte Parsonage Museum I find this information
Object numberBS20a
Titlefragment from one of Naoleon's coffins
Descriptionsmall strip of wood that formed part of one of Napoleon's coffins; inscribed in ink in French; fair; complete; 106mm l x 21mm w x0.5 mm d;
Materialwood, ink
Dimensions
  • coffin fragment 106  mm
  • coffin fragment 21  mm
  • coffin fragment 0.5  mm
  • bronte.adlibsoft

  •  

    From the Treasure Trove: Napoleon's coffin.
    The Brontes had been fascinated by both Wellington and Napoleon. On 4th August 1843, Charlotte's tutor M. Heger presented her with this fragment from Napoleon's coffin. Here, it is pictured with a note written by Charlotte, authenticating the item.

    August 4th 1843 - Brussels - Belgium
    1 o'clock pm...
    Monsieur Heger has just been into the 1st class and given me this relic - he bought it from his intimate friend Mr Lebel.
    C Bronte
    Mr Lebel was the Secretary of the prince Achille Murat - The Prince de Joinville son of Louis Philippe brought over the remains of Bonaparte from St Helena.


     
    I am going to search on the internet. Can I find more descriptions about this present Mr Heger has given to Charlotte Bronte? Because it seems very romantic the way it is written here. But as I always understood the romance came from one site, the site of Charlotte.
    •  So I am curious why Mr. Heger gave Charlotte this present
    • Did Mr. Heger had reached out to her with his most personal and thoughtful gift yet, a relic at once to be revered for its connections and regarded with a touch of pleasant mutual cynicism, a continuation of their conversation about the emperor and his British nemesis, and a reminder of her triumphant essay on the subject; a small gift which could be slipped into her hand without fuss, which Madame Heger would never notice, and which, above all, was a token of her abiding place in his thoughts.
     

    donderdag 29 oktober 2015

    Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. New found portrait Charlotte Bronte.

     
    I wonder when and why Claire Helman started to think this is a self-portrait of Charlotte Bronte? I was searching on the internet but I didn't find an answer till now. I wonder, because I am reading this:

    The drawing was known to be by Brontë, not least because it was sketched on her school atlas. But it has remained unpublished until now, recorded without an image in the 1995 scholarly volume The Art of the Brontës as “possibly a sketch of a fellow pupil in Brussels”. It is owned by the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. theguardian

    So, from ""possibly a sketch of a fellow pupil in Brussels"" to ""a self portrait?"" It makes me curious, what happened?

    Questions about this item?:Please include all the starred fields in this record in your enquiry or request
    *Location:Printed Books Collection (RB1)
    *Call Number: 129886
    Status:Charged
    *Bookmark for This Record:http://corsair.themorgan.org/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=267605
    *Record ID:267605
    *Accession Number:PML 129886
    *Author/Artist: Russell, J. C.
    *Title: Russell’s general atlas of modern geography / by J.C. Russell, geographer.
    *Published/Created:London : Baldwin & Cradock, [ca. 1836]
    Description:44 p. : 25 foldout maps ; 22 cm.

    Credit:Formerly with MA 2696; transferred from the Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts, 2007.
    Notes:This volume is undated but contains the plates and index of Russell’s atlas of modern geography, London, 1836.
    Contains sketches by Charlotte Brontë, and two notes by her, one on the fixed back endpaper dated Brussels, Oct, 14, 1843, and one on the free back endpaper. See Mildred Christian, "Census of Brontë Manuscripts in the United States," part I, The Trollopian, vol. 2, no. 3, Dec. 1947, p. 197, for transcriptions.
    Binding:Half red calf.
    Provenance:Charlotte Brontë; Bonnell Brontë Collection, 1969 .
    Associated Names: Brontë, Charlotte, 1816-1855, former owner.

    Bonnell, Henry H. (Henry Houston), 1859-1926, former owner.

    Baldwin & Cradock, publisher.
    Formatted Place:England London.
    Accompanying Material:With one folded leaf containing the last three pages and table of contents for a Continental edition of Mme. de Staël’s novel Corinne, ou l’Italie.
    Subjects: 1836.
    Dept./Collection:Pierpont Morgan Library Dept. of Printed Books corsair.themorgan.org atlas+charlotte+bronte


    Henry Houston Bonnell was a life member of the Brontë Society and collected Brontë material from the 1890s. During his lifetime this collection was considered one of the most valuable and representative in existence. He expressed a wish to see much of his collection return to Haworth and when he died in 1926 his wife carried this out. She made a further donation of the remains of his collection to the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, in the 1960s. nationalarchives.gov.uk

    dinsdag 27 oktober 2015

    Charlotte Brontë sketch identified as self-portrait


    Pencil sketch by Charlotte Brontë, which new research reveals is a self-portrait alongside George Richmond’s portrait. Composite: Pierpont Morgan Library/Getty Images

    Experts say author made drawing, sketched on her school atlas, years before writing Jane Eyre in which protagonist draws herself in similar fashion.

    A sketch of a woman’s head by Charlotte Brontë, previously thought to be of another pupil drawn while the author was at boarding school in Brussels, has been identified as a self-portrait.

    The literary biographer Claire Harman said the drawing, which she suggests shows Brontë looking into a mirror, preceded the novel Jane Eyre, in which the protagonist also draws herself in a similar fashion.

    The sketch dates from 1843, four years before Brontë published Jane Eyre, one of English literature’s great masterpieces, and when the young writer was suffering the agonies and insecurities of unrequited love.

    The drawing was known to be by Brontë, not least because it was sketched on her school atlas.

    Harman’s discovery is “massively significant” as there are only two other known lifetime portraits of Brontë.

    Despite the sketch’s small size – barely 1.5 inches high – its facial details resemble those in an 1850 image by George Richmond, now in the National Portrait Gallery, although the artist was known to flatter his sitters. Read more: theguardian/charlotte-bronte-sketch-identified-self-portrait

    Ann Dinsdale, collections manager of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth, says that it is hard to prove the identity conclusively, but the sketch 'does certainly resemble the sitter in the Richmond portrait' dailymail./New-self-portrait-Charlotte-Bronte-discovered-drew-looking-mirror-just-like-great-heroine-Jane-Eyre

    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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