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

donderdag 11 februari 2016

From Haworth to New York. How the 200th birthday of Charlotte Brontë will be celebrated

 
 

To mark the bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte, a huge programme of events is taking place which will reach audiences around the country and beyond.

It begins this week at the sisters’ former Haworth home, the Brontë Parsonage Museum, where an exhibition opened yesterday, entitled Charlotte Great and Small, exploring the contrast between her constricted life and her huge ambition. Highlights include her child-size clothes, tiny books and paintings she made and a scrap from a dress she wore to an important London dinner party.

Some of the Brontë Parsonage Museum’s collection goes on display as part of a National Portrait Gallery exhibition which opens this month. Celebrating Charlotte Brontë will run until April before transferring to the Morgan Library in New York. Northern Ballet are presenting the world premiere of a new version of Jane Eyre in May and Sally Wainwright’s Brontë drama To Walk Invisible will air on BBC1 in the autumn.

And two award-winning authors will also help with the celebrations. Novelist Grace McCleen will respond to the Brontë Parsonage’s collection as a writer in residence while much-loved children’s author Jacqueline Wilson will be an ‘Ambassador for Charlotte’ during 2016. Wilson said: “I’m delighted to be a special ambassador for the bicentenary celebrations in 2016. Jane Eyre is my all-time favourite novel. Jane continues to be an inspiration to us all, especially women - I admire Paula Rego’s powerful artistic interpretation and Sally Cookson’s imaginative stage version at the National Theatre. I first read the book when I was ten and have reread it many times since with increasing enjoyment. I’ve devoured more Brontë novels and many biographies, visited the Parsonage Museum half a dozen times, and I’ve walked across the moors breathing in the bracing air. Perhaps there’s a hint of Jane in several of the child characters in my own books.” Both authors will visit the museum during the year.

The Charlotte Great and Small exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage has been curated by writer and Brontë enthusiast Tracy Chevalier, who is working with the Brontë Parsonage Museum as a Creative Partner throughout 2016.  She said: “I have long loved Charlotte Brontë and am thrilled to be involved in the celebration of her bicentenary. The Parsonage is a unique house; it’s incredible to see the place where so much creativity arose. I’m hoping to sprinkle some surprises in amongst the dresses and writing desks – including a Twitter tour of the house and exhibition, and even a knitted Jane Eyre.” Tracy will talk about the exhibition and the inspiration behind it at an event in Haworth in early February. She has also edited a new collection of short stories influenced by the writing of Charlotte Brontë. ‘Reader, I Married Him’ is published by Borough Press and comprises stories by international women writers including Helen Dunmore, Susan Hill, Emma Donoghue, Audrey Niffenegger and Jane Gardam. The collection will be launched in Haworth in April.

Charlotte’s 200th birthday falls on Thursday April 21 and will be celebrated throughout the day in Haworth and nearby Thornton, where she was born. Visitors to the Brontë Parsonage Museum will be invited to hear talks on Charlotte’s life and offered the opportunity to view some of Charlotte’s letters, manuscripts and personal possessions in the library. At the Old School Room, where Charlotte once taught, the Society is hosting a birthday party . A wreath-laying ceremony for invited guests will follow on Friday April 22 at Westminster Abbey. Brontë biographers Juliet Barker and Claire Harman will give lectures in Haworth in May and June respectively.
The arrival of 2016 also marks the launch of Brontë200, the society’s programme of events celebrating the bicentenaries of the Brontë siblings: Charlotte in 2016, Branwell in 2017, Emily in 2018 and Anne in 2020. The Society also plans to commemorate Patrick Brontë in 2019, 200 years after he was invited to take up the parson’s role in Haworth.

John Thirlwell of the Brontë Society Council said: “The bicentenaries of the Brontë siblings provide a tremendous opportunity for the Brontë Society to celebrate the legacy of the Brontës across the globe. We recognise that arts organisations, museums and individuals will want to help us mark these special anniversaries and are excited about building new partnerships and reaching new audiences during the five-year programme.” yorkshirepost

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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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