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 29 januari 2011


A Dark and Stormy Night: Charlotte Brontë (1816–1855). Fed up with teaching young girls their lessons, future novelist Charlotte Brontë began a diary entry that grew into a fictional fantasy.

Charlotte Brontë's first job did not suit her fiery sensibility. At nineteen, with little heart for marriage and the need to earn a living, she began teaching at Roe Head School in the north of England, about twenty miles from her home in Haworth. She found the atmosphere stultifying and the pupils idiotic. Forced to maintain an outward semblance of professional grace, she concealed her considerable emotional energy and rage. One evening in February 1836, "after a day's weary wandering," she began a diary entry on a loose sheet of paper: "Well here I am at Roe-Head," she wrote, "it is seven o'clock at night, the young ladies are all at their lessons, the school-room is quiet, the fire is low, a stormy day is at this moment passing off in a murmuring and bleak night."

During this rare moment alone, Brontë confessed her feelings of alienation. "It is strange," she wrote, "I cannot get used to the ongoings that surround me. I fulfil my duties strictly & well," but "as God was not in the wind, nor the fire, nor the earth-quake, so neither is my heart in the task, the theme or the exercises." Over the course of her teenage years, Brontë had found a creative way to get through such uncomfortable moments. She had learned to listen to what she called the "still small voice alone that comes to me at eventide"—an imaginative voice that granted her escape and release. "It is that which wakes my spirit & engrosses all my living feelings," she wrote in this diary entry, "all my energies which are not merely mechanical, &, like Haworth & home, wakes sensations which lie dormant elsewhere."

Brontë recalled how the previous night's "stormy blast . . . whirled me away like heath in the wilderness for five seconds of ecstasy." While the others were at tea, she said, she approached an exotic palace in the kingdom of Angria, peered through the windows at a lushly appointed room, and observed a drunken man shamelessly stretched out on the queen's voluptuous ottoman. But this, of course, was pure invention. Having begun writing a straightforward diary entry—a real-time description of her life at Roe Head—Brontë had stepped seamlessly into fiction. She allowed her high-flown storytelling to provide an antidote to the dreary everyday, her diary serving as a gateway from the real world into the fantastical.

Ten years before she wrote this entry, Charlotte's brother Branwell had received a set of toy soldiers as a gift from their father. He and his sisters—Charlotte, Anne, and Emily—were delighted, and they did what children do: They named the soldiers and made up stories about them. But the stunningly imaginative Brontës took typical childhood play to a new level, spinning a complex series of interconnected tales in exotic settings, documenting their creations in tiny handmade books written in a minuscule script appropriate to the scale of their soldier-characters. Charlotte's and Branwell's invented world was called Angria, and it was to this kingdom (and this script) that she returned that evening in 1836 when took a much-needed break from her schoolroom duties.

This is one of several diary entries that Charlotte Brontë made during her three years teaching at Roe Head School. She folded the single sheet of paper to form four pages, each a bit smaller than a 5 x 7 inch photograph, and filled the space with nearly two thousand words. She packed explosive imagination into this miniature canvas, depicting herself as the breathless observer of the debauch of Quashia Quamina, one of the characters she and Branwell had created: "I watched the fluttering of his white shirt ruffles starting through the more than half-unbuttoned waistcoat." She emerged from the erotic reverie of the diary-story only when Miss Wooler—one of the schoolmistresses—appeared at the door with a plate of butter in her hand. "'A very stormy night my dear!' said she. 'It is ma'am,' said I."

woensdag 26 januari 2011

Manchester history

Manchester became the obvious place to build textile factories. Large warehouses were also built to store and display the spun yarn and finished cloth. The town's population grew rapidly. With neighbouring Salford, Manchester had about 25,000 inhabitants in 1772. By 1800 the population had grown to 95,000. The rich manufacturers built large houses around the Mosley Street area. At first the cheap housing for the factory workers were confined to New Cross and Newtown. However, as the population grew, close-packed houses were built next to factories all over Manchester.

The Stockton & Darlington line opened in 1825 successfully reduced the cost of transporting coal from 18s. to 8s. 6d. a ton. It soon became clear that large profits could be made by building railways. A group of businessmen in Manchester and Liverpool led by William James recruited George Stephenson to build them a railway.
The Liverpool & Manchester railway was opened on 15th September, 1830. The prime minister, the Duke of Wellington, and a large number of important people attended the opening ceremony that included a procession of eight locomotives. Large crowds assembled along the line and when the train entered Manchester the passenger carriages were pelted with stones by weavers, who remembered the Duke of Wellington's involvement in the Peterloo Massacre and his strong opposition to the the proposed 1832 Reform Act.

The Liverpool & Manchester railway was a great success. In 1831 the company transported 445,047 passengers. Receipts were £155,702 with profits of £71,098. By 1844 receipts had reached £258,892 with profits of £136,688. During this period shareholders were regularly paid out an annual dividend of £10 for every £100 invested.

The railway rapidly increased the population of Manchester. By 1851 over 455,000 people were living in the city. Housing conditions were appalling. It was reported that in some parts of the city the number of toilets averaged only two to two hundred and fifty people. Only forty per cent of the children living in this area reached their fifth year.

Manchester is famous for its libraries. The library founded by Humphrey Chetham (1580-1653) was the first free public library in Britain. Joseph Brotherton, a local MP, played an important role in 1849 in helping Salford become the first municipal authority in Britain to establish a library, museum and art gallery. The following year Brotherton joined William Ewart in persuading Parliament to pass the Public Libraries Act.

In 1846 John Owens, a successful Manchester cotton merchant, died and left most of his wealth to help establish a further education college for men that would not have: "to submit to any test whatsoever of, their religious opinions". His Unitarian friends, John Fielden and Thomas Ashton, also raised money for the venture and arranged to purchase the former home of Richard Cobden, in Quay Street, Deansgate. This became the first premises of Owens College when it was opened in 1851.

The Nonconformist business community in Manchester continued to raise money for the project and supported by Charles Prestwich Scott, the editor of the Manchester Guardian, the trustees were able to arrange the building of new premises at Oxford Street. Designed by Alfred Waterhouse, the new Owens College was opened in 1873. Seven years later, the college, along with those in Liverpool and Leeds, became Victoria University (Manchester University after 1902).

Manchester history

Elisabeth Gaskell and Manchester.

In 1832 Elizabeth married William Gaskell, who was at the time the assistant minister at Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester. They settled in Manchester and she joined him there in his work with the poor distributing food and clothes at Cross Street Chapel.

Cross Street Chapel,

Manchester 1835During their early married life the Gaskells were resident for a time in Dover Street which was on the south-west side of the town, off the busy Oxford Road in the Ardwick district of Manchester. In 1842 the Gaskell family moved to 121 Upper Rumford Street which was a slightly larger house still in the
same district.

42 (now 84) Plymouth Grove

In 1850 they moved to 42 (now 84) Plymouth Grove, a large house beyond the manufacturing district in view of open fields. Here Elizabeth tried to bring some countryside to the town by keeping a vegetable garden, a cow and poultry. The house was always bustling and they entertained a stream of visitors there over the years including many eminent literary personages of the day.
More domestic staff were needed at 42 Plymouth Grove, where there were seven bedrooms, two attics, three living rooms and kitchen premises in the basement. They took on a cook and several maids, at one time employing a staff of five including a man for outside work, and also using the services of a washer- woman and sempstress.

Although relieved of many domestic tasks Elizabeth never relinquished the running of the household and worked in close harmony with the staff, training them well and taking a keen interest in their welfare. It is perhaps sometimes forgotten that the Victorians who employed young domestic staff took on serious responsibilities, standing in loco parentis. William and Elizabeth were exemplary employers, taking a close interest in the personal problems of those who worked for them, readily granting leave of absence so that they could go home at times of family crises, and in 1851 their cook Mary was married by 'the Master'.

Once Elizabeth was established as an authoress and was earning money from her books she travelled a great deal with her daughters to further their education and it was imperative to have trustworth servants to keep the household running smoothly for William while she was away and his chapel duties kept him in Manchester. Of necessity their scale of entertaining increased in frequency and in numbers of visitors, so domestic help was essential. Their style of life was gradually changing and perhaps they sometimes looked back with nostalgia to the informalities of their early married life, such as the occasion when they thought nothing of walking, Elizabeth in great thick shoes and William in boots and without gloves, to a christening party in north Manchester, walking back home in daylight at 3.30 a.m., as she described in a letter in midsummer 1838.

The Manchester or the Gaskell’s time was a city of extremes. It was a great cultural and intellectual centre, boasting institutions like the Literary and Philosophical Society, the Mechanics Institute and the Athenaeum. It was also the symbol of the new industrial age and the rapid growth of industry made a huge impact on the landscape of the city. Uncontrolled urban development created extreme poverty and squalor. Friedrich Engels described the homes of the factory operatives in The Conditions of the Working Class in England in 1844 writing:-

“The workers dwellings of Manchester are dirty, miserable and wholly lacking in comforts. In such houses only inhuman, degraded and unhealthy creatures would feel at home.”

It was also a time of great political change with Manchester as a centre of Chartist activity. Elizabeth Gaskell observed all these social tensions intimately and used her observations (and the hypocrisy that she saw at work) in her novels that have become known since as her ‘industrial novel’ genre.

Elizabeth Gaskell house

Patrick Bronte cataract operation Manchester

Charlotte Bronte accompanied her father Patrick Bronte to Manchester when he underwent a successful cataract operation. Mr Wilson a famous oculist recommended comfortable lodgings which were ran by a former servant of his.

The Brontes lodged with an old servant of the surgeon. This house, as appears from a note of Mr. Shorter's, was 83, Mount Pleasant, Boundary Street, Oxford Road. "Mount Pleasant" was the name given to a terrace of houses, numbered 73 to 93. The houses have been taken down, and the back part of the Municipal School of Art stands on their site.

Read more about the operation.
More information about Manchester.
salutation pub.

The Real Story of 'O': Anonymity Has Its Perils - Newsweek

Many of the greatest writers in the English literary canon (Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, George Eliot) began by publishing anonymously or pseudonymously. Guessing the gender of an unknown author became part of the pleasure of reading.

Read more:
The Real Story of 'O': Anonymity Has Its Perils - Newsweek

To evade contemporary prejudice against female writers, the Brontë sisters adopted androgynous first names. All three retained the first letter of their first names: Charlotte became Currer Bell, Anne became Acton Bell, and Emily became Ellis Bell.

female and publishing under pseudonym


dinsdag 25 januari 2011


On this day in 1846
Emily Bronte wrote the poem,

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven's 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 men's hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thy 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 moon 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.


maandag 24 januari 2011

First Edition Jane Eyre An Autobiography in Three Volumes for sale on ""Antiq Book"

On Antiq book
CURRER BELL ( CHARLOTTE BRONTE) Jane Eyre An Autobiography in Three Volumes, for sale

London, Smith, Elder, & Co. 1847, First Edition. H. Back, 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. First edition - collated with text errors of first edition including title page of Vol III printed with no comma following the publisher Elder as in the first two volumes. Three volume set, bound in full dark green wavy rippled leather. Triple ruled gilt border to boards. Five raised bands to spine, gilt rule to raised bands, titling to the second compartment, volume number and author to the third compartment, tooled floral decoration to other compartments with date embossed towards bottom of spine. Spines of all three volumes are darkened and show slight rubbing/scuffing to top and tail and to raised bands. Upper board of Vol. I is lightly scratched/marked. Corners of all three volumes are a little bumped and scuffed. Binding is uniformly tight. Top edge gilt, gilt inner dentelles and marble endpapers. Contents are clean showing no inscriptions but fore edge and margins show the usual browning with age. A number of small tears to the bottom edge have been expertly repaired in all volumes. pp 304 + 304 + 311. A delightful first edition copy of Charlotte Bronte's first and greatest work.

GBP 35000.00 [Appr.: EURO 41225.25 US$ 55982.5
JP¥ 4627971]

-- St Marys Books. Book number: 049311

Keywords: Bronte First-Edition Leather Jane-Eyre

antiq book

zondag 23 januari 2011

At Juliet Barker

At Juliet Barker

Juliet Barker can see wild moorland and open countryside from almost every mullioned window of the 100-year-old former vicarage in the Yorkshire Pennines that has been her home for more than two decades. Not surprising, then, that the historian and biographer — her definitive The Brontës sold more than 70,000 copies shares a talent for predicting the weather with Charlotte, the eldest sister of the prodigious literary family, who lived just 12 miles away in the village of Haworth.

Charlotte’s first biographer and friend, Elizabeth Gaskell, noted: “I was struck by Miss Brontë’s careful examination of the shape of the clouds and the signs of the heavens, in which she read, as from a book, what the coming weather would be.” The Brontës were hugely affected by the landscape, so it ties me to them like an umbilical cord. (...)“

We had only seen a rather unprepossessing picture of the house,” she says. “When we turned off the main road, it was like heading into the land time had forgotten, and the house was fantastic.”
It was built in 1901 by Helen Strickland, the only daughter of a wealthy mill owner with with the wonderful name of Hinchliffe Hinchliffe, in his memory. A plaque on the end wall of the property, built using stone from one of her father’s burnt-out mills, records his name.

“Everything is so Brontë-esque, and Hinchliffe is such a Heathcliff name — yet it’s away from Haworth, with all the tourists ,” says the Yorkshire-born Barker.The daughter of a Bradford wool merchant, she was “obsessed with the Brontës as a child”, and later beat other Brontëphiles to the job of librarian and curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, at the house in Haworth that Charlotte, Anne, Branwell and Emily shared with their father, Patrick, a vicar.

Barker and James, a company director, settled in their own former church property. The six-bedroom family home is, says Barker, “large but very adaptable". She charted the lives of the Brontës from a first-floor study overlooking the church and rolling countryside. When her daughter, Sophie, was born, it became a bedroom. Next, she researched and wrote the life of the equally weather-obsessed Lakeland poet William Wordsworth, followed by Henry V, from a second-floor attic with views of bleak Yorkshire moorland. Her dedication prompted her son, Edward, then eight — he is now 25, and a lieutenant in the Royal Dragoon Guards — to write a school essay entitled, “the mad woman in the attic”. (...)Now the couple have decided it is time to downsize and are leaving the Pennines for a home in the Yorkshire Dales, one with open views.“I love living in Yorkshire,”

Barker says. “I like the anonymity — it’s something the Brontës appreciated. Charlotte enjoyed being lionised in London, but liked being anonymous in Haworth.” She also has no illusions about her status locally. “We were once approached by the churchwarden hosting the annual fête,” she recalls. “He said they were looking for someone famous to open it — I thought for a moment they were going to ask me. But instead they chose the local damp-proofing and dry-rot expert.” (Lynne Greenwood)The Old Vicarage is for sale at £1.1m with Charnock Bates.

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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