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

woensdag 18 augustus 2010

Ebor Mills Fire - Haworth

Ebor Mill

We hear today via The Telegraph & Argus of the sad fire (14 August) and demolition (17 August) of one of Haworth's last mills, Ebor Mill, which now housed not a worsted company as it did when it was first built in/around 1819 but a spring factory, Airedale Springs. In 1849, the mill was bought by the well-known Haworth family, the Merralls, who were prominent in the village and had many connections with the Brontës at differente points in their lives. Most famously, Branwell Brontë was friends with Hartley and/or Michael Merrall (sources differ; he probably knew both of them anyway). Branwell was dead by the time Michael Merrall took responsibility of Ebor in 1849 and the mill was in the Merrall family's hands until 1965 when it passed onto the current hands.

Ebor Mill is only the latest mill to have been devoured by the flames in recent years, which is a shame, apart from the loss to its current owner and workers, because it was part of the landscape the Brontës knew well and part of Haworth's history. The Haworth the Brontës lived in would have been dominated by the mills, both in the landscape and the lives of its inhabitants.

Picture: Ebor Mill, Haworth (Tim Green)

Ebor Mills in Ebor Lane, Haworth

The boss of a mill destroyed in a massive blaze today reassured his workforce over the firm’s future as demolition began on the factory. Timothy Parkinson, chairman of Airedale Springs, which owns Ebor Mills in Ebor Lane, Haworth, said the company would continue.
Many of the 44 people employed by the spring manufacturer had feared for their livelihoods.
But Mr Parkinson said today: “We had a meeting with the staff this morning. I told them that it was sad that it occurred, but reassured them that the insurance people are on with the job and in the long-term the company will continue.”

Structural engineers from Bradford Council made the decision to start the Victorian mill’s demolition after the blaze burned itself out.
The company has found a temporary home at The Masonic Lodge in Mill Hey.
At the height of the fire, flames could be seen leaping from the top three floors of the six-storey building and smoke billowed across the valley.

More than 70 firefighters were involved in bringing the fire under control following reports of the blaze at 8.20pm on Saturday.

West Yorkshire’s assistant chief fire officer Martyn Redfearne previously told the Telegraph & Argus the building could have been saved had its sprinkler system been working.

A West Yorkshire Fire Service spokesman said fire investigation officers were working with insurance investigators to establish the cause of the blaze.

e-mail: marc.meneaud@telegraphandargus.co.uk

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Anne Bronte 'The Bluebell' poem

maandag 16 augustus 2010

Breaking the Idol of the Marriage Plot in Yeast and Villette

Timothy L. Carens

Victorian Literature and Culture (2010), 38:337-353

Nineteenth-century Protestant culture generally held marriage in high esteem, and the notion that marriage was “made in heaven” often explicitly undergirds the conventional resolution of domestic fiction. Despite many indications of a harmonious relationship between human love and religious faith, a countervailing cultural trend reveals a deep conflict between the two. Victorian Protestants worried that passionate love for another mortal creature might lead to heretical extremes, that human love might slip into idolatry, the worship of false and material gods. Jane Eyre memorably confesses that she has “made an idol” of Rochester, although she, of course, looks back upon this transgression from the vantage of marital happiness (274). In this essay, I focus on works in which misgivings about idolatrous love arise with more disruptive force. The marriage plots of Charles Kingsley's Yeast: A Problem (1851) and Charlotte Brontë's Villette (1853) both abruptly collapse, bringing into sharp focus a Protestant religious anxiety that subverts the conventional device with which Victorian domestic novels achieve closure.

zondag 15 augustus 2010

Charlotte Bronte and the sea

In the summer of 1839, Charlotte Bronte, then working as a governess in Skipton, Yorkshire, wrote to her friend Ellen Nussey about her holiday plans. At the age of 23, she said, she'd never been to the coast, never seen a beach, never clapped eyes on rolling waves. The prospect of doing so, on a proposed trip to Bridlington, was intensely exciting: "The idea of seeing the sea – of being near it – watching its changes by sunrise, sunset, moonlight and noonday – in calm, perhaps in storm – fills and satisfies my mind. I shall be discontented at nothing." Did she feel a big anticlimax on finally clapping eyes on the briny? Not at all. According to Ms Nussey, she "was quite overpowered, she could not speak until she had shed some tears ... her eyes were red and swollen, she was still trembling ... for the remainder of the day she was very quiet, subdued and exhausted."

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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