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 21 mei 2011

Charlotte Bronte travelling dresses after her marriage.

The bride's travelling dress was made with a plain skirt and a simple bodice fastened at the back, and trimmed with a narrow galloon trimming, which somewhat spoilt the effect.
She already had a plain grey silk dress, which she had been wearing as a best dress, and she had also a black satin one. She added a plain merino dress and a pink cotton dress, with a pattern of white flowers; this was simply a house dress for the summer. She had consulted Mrs. Gaskell about her trousseau, and, as an expert in choosing her own and her daughter's dresses, she was of great assistance to Charlotte Bronte, who never enjoyed shopping, or choosing her own clothes. This was the day of cottage bonnets and shawls, as the mid- Victorian pictures prove. She had a fine grey cashmere shawl for going- away, and on Sundays she wore a white one. Her bonnet was grey drawn silk, with very small pink roses.

She had also a black Spanish lace veil, and she also wore a jet necklace, a gift from her sister Anne. As a necktie she wore a length of a beautiful pink gauze ribbon, secured by a small pebble brooch over a fine lawn collar, which Ellen Nussey had given her. She had also dainty white cuffs to match.

Memorials of Two Sisters, by Margaret J. Shaen

Miss Catherine Winkworth, who was one of Mrs. GaskelPs  faithful friends, wrote a letter to her sister on 8th May, 1854, which was not published until 1908, in Memorials of Two Sisters, by Margaret J. Shaen, two years after Mr. Nicholls' death. This letter showed quite plainly that Charlotte Bronte had no real love for Mr. Nicholls, and the patronising tone in which she speaks of him is a revelation to those who thought
that the author of Jane Eyre and Villette would never give her hand without her heart.

 " It has cost me a good deal to come to this,' and " I cannot conceal from myself that he is not intellectual ; there are many places in which he could not follow me intellectually."

This is scarcely fair to Mr. Nicholls, who had been educated by his uncle, Mr. Alan Bell, at the Royal High School, King's County, and had afterwards graduated at Trinity College, Dublin.
Another remark which she made to her friends was,

" He is a Puseyite, and very stiff."

Miss Winkworth gives an account of her conversation with Charlotte Bronte, and also Mrs. GaskelPs opinion of Mr. Nicholls, which is all to the good, but the concluding remark shows that those who knew her were not satisfied, and thought of Lucy Snowe.

 " But I guess the true love was Paul Emanuel, after all, and it is dead ; but I don't know, and don't think that Lily (Mrs. Gaskell) knows."

In the footsteps of the Brontes

Butterflies and bluebells

May is a busy month as birds get down to the task of nest building and rearing their brood. The weather is warm but danger of frost at night can cause damage to tender plants.
Resident birds and the arrival of summer migrants such as Swallows, House Martins and Swifts are occupied with the task of building nests and rearing their young. Hawthorn also known as May hedge will be flowering in early to late May dependent on how cold spring has been.

Early in May Bluebells will be flowering in woodland. The leaves on trees will be open during the month. Butterflies such as the Orange Tip can be seen on grassland and the Green Hairstreak which is usually found on heath and moorland.

vrijdag 20 mei 2011

Catherine and Suzanne Winkworth.

Like the Bronte children, Catherine Winkworth and her sisters each imagined a continent and a kingdom of Natural History. Catherine kept a personal journal which was written in minute printed characters. In later years Catherine became a friend of Charlotte Bronte.

CATHERINE WINKWORTH,  (1827-1878), author, was born in London at 20 Ely Place, Holborn, on 13 Sept. 1827.

She was the fourth daughter of Henry Winkworth, a silk merchant.  Her mother, Susanna Dickenson, was daughter of a Kentish yeoman farmer. In 1829 the Winkworths removed to Manchester, and there Catherine's education was chiefly carried on by governesses at home; she studied also under the Rev. William Gaskell and Dr. James Martineau.

The family was always on intimate terms with the Gaskells, and Catherine declared that she owed to Mr. Gaskell her knowledge of English literature and her appreciation of style. On 21 April 1841 her mother died, and in 1846 her father married, as his second wife, Miss Leyburn. In the spring of that year Catherine went to Dresden to join an aunt who was living there in order to educate her daughters, and her residence there (she stayed until July 1846) gave an impetus to her study of German. In 1850 her father built himself a house at Alderley Edge, about fifteen miles from Manchester, where the family lived for about twelve years.

Though less distinguished in her literary achievements, Susanna Winkworth (1820-84) was the first of the sisters to devote herself to the art of translation, encouraged by the Gaskells' abiding interest in Germany and taught by William Gaskell (she helped E. Gaskell with her Life of Charlotte Brontë, 1857). In rendering the Theologia Germanica (1854, see Theologia Deutsch) and 25 sermons by J. Tauler (with a biographical note on his life, 1857), she conveyed basic aspects of German mysticism to a Victorian public. The combined work of the sisters thus represented ‘the two pillars of German devotional literature’ (P. N. Skrine).

SUSANNA WINKWORTH (1820-1884), translator, was born in London on 13 Aug. 1820, and received much the same education as her sister Catherine. About 1850 Susanna told Mrs. Gaskell that she would like to translate the life of Niebuhr. Mrs. Gaskell mentioned this to Bunsen, who encouraged the idea. A meeting with Bunsen followed at Bonn, where Susanna stayed from August 1850 until May 1851. The acquaintance so begun influenced the literary work of both Susanna and Catherine.
Miss Winkworth was a philanthropist as well as author and translator. She worked among the poor of Bristol, and in her district visiting was struck by the difficulty poor people found in getting decent lodgings. She therefore rented several houses in the poorest part of the town, put them into proper repair, and let them out in tenements. She was thus the first in Bristol to make efforts for the better housing of the poor. In 1874 she formed the company which built Jacob's Wells industrial dwellings, managing them herself till the time of her death. She took also a great interest in the education of women, and in 1878 succeeded her sister Catherine as governor of the Red Maids' school, and member of the council of Cheltenham Ladies' College.

Susanna was for some years a unitarian, bat returned to the English church in 1861

Photograph of the Jacob's Wells industrial dwellings: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2132333991/

Anne Bronte wrote 20-05-1845 her poem "If this be all".

God! if this indeed by all
That Life can show to me;
If on my aching brow may fall
No freshening dew from Thee,--

If with no brighter light than this
The lamp of hope may glow,
And I may only dream of bliss,
And wake to weary woe;
If friendships's solace must decay,
When other joys are gone,
And love must keep so far away,
While I go wandering on,--

Wandering and toiling without gain,
The slave of others' will,
With constant care, and frequent pain,
Despised, forgotten still;

Grieving to look on vice and sin,
Yet powerless to quell
The silent current from within,
The outward torrent's swell:

While all the good I would impart,
The feelings I would share,
Are driven backward to my heart,
And turned to wormwood, there;

If clouds must ever keep from sight
The glories of the Sun,
And I must suffer Winter's blight,
Ere Summer is begun;

If Life must be so full of care,
Then call me soon to Thee;
Or give me strength enough to bear
My load of misery.

dinsdag 17 mei 2011

Haworth Church calendar girls

Haworth Church calendar girls

People wanting to help raise the £1.2 million needed to refurbish Haworth’s parish church have hit upon a slightly saucy fundraising idea.They have announced plans to create a charity Calendar Girls-style calendar for 2012.When complete, it will feature people either living or working in Haworth. They will be pictured against familiar Brontë Country landscape, all wearing somewhat less than usual.Haworth woman Sarah Granby, who came up with the idea for the project, said she wanted the “alternative” village calendar to appeal to tourists and locals alike.She said: “Obviously, it will all be done in the best possible taste!“So far, we have had volunteers from various organisations including firefighters, bell-ringers, parish councillors, Haworth Main Street traders and other individuals from the village.

Plays, teasing Tabby and intelligent answers. The Brontes as children

The battles were played out for real in the garden or on the moors.

The parsonage cellars could be turned into dungeons fot political prisones or cells for punishing naughty school children.

In acting their early plays, they performed them with childish glee, and did not fail at times to ' tear a passion to tatters.' They observed that Tabby did not approve of such extraordinary proceedings; but on one occasion, with increased energy of action and voice, they so wrought on her fears that she retreated to her nephew's house, and, as soon as she could regain her breath, she exclaimed,

William ! yah muu gooa up to Mr. Bronte's, for aw'm sure yon childer's all gooin mad, and aw darn't stop 'ith hause ony longer wi' 'em; an' aw'll stay here woll yah come back!'

When the nephew reached the parsonage, ' the childer set up a great crack o' laughin',' at the wonderful joke they had perpetrated on faithful Tabby.

When my children were very young/ says Mr. Bronte, ' when, as far as I can remember, the oldest was about ten years of age, and the youngest about four, thinking that they knew more than I had yet discovered, in order to make them speak with less timidity, I deemed that, if they were put under a sort of cover, I might gain my end ; and, happening to have a mask in the house, I told them all to stand and
speak boldly from under cover of the mask. I began with the youngest (Anne, afterwards Acton Bell), and asked what a child like her most wanted ; she answered, " Age and experience." I asked the next (Emily, afterwards Ellis Bell) what I had best do with her brother Branwell, who was sometimes a naughty boy; she answered, " Reason with him, and, when he won't listen to reason, whip him. 1 ' I asked
Branwell what was the best way of knowing the difference between the intellects of man and woman; he answered, " By considering the difference between them as to their bodies." ' In answer to a question as to which were the two best books, Charlotte said that ' the Bible,' and after it the ' Book of Nature,' were the best. Mr. Bronte then asked the next daughter, ' What is the best mode of education for a woman ;' she answered, ' That which would make her rule her house well.' He then asked the eldest, Maria, ' What is the best mode of spending time ;' she answered, ' By laying it out in preparation for a happy eternity.' He says he may not have given the exact words, but they were nearly so, and they had made a
lasting impression on his memory.


A Wuthering Heights bargain and other Brontëana

A Wuthering Heights bargain and other Brontëana

It is one of the best-selling novels of all time. But a sharp-eyed bargain hunter has managed to turn a €8,000 profit on a copy of a book that is found in homes up and down the country.The tourist spotted the first edition copy of 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Brontë at a flea market in Limerick and quickly snapped it up for just €3. Jason Ludlow then brought the book to his native South Africa where he was paid 77,000 rand for the copy -- the equivalent of more than €8,000. Mr Ludlow is keenly interested in antiques and rare books, and couldn't contain his excitement at what he found during this trip to Ireland."I was in Ireland and Limerick in March and April, and was very lucky to have found such a great old book at the flea market," he said. "It was a rare copy of Wuthering Heights printed in 1848 that I've subsequently sold for a substantial amount." [...] Experts have expressed amazement that the rare American first edition turned up in Ireland. David Cunningham of antique book dealers Cathach Books said it may have been the only such copy in the country. "You just don't know how books turn up and how it arrived in this country, but that's the nature of books -- you can find almost anything anywhere. "Local efforts to track down the original seller of the book have been unsuccessful. [...] The manager of the Milk Market, David O'Brien, described the rare book find as "an incredible windfall. This is one in a million, I don't know what else to say. "Nick Nicholson, Consultant Valuer with Adam's auctioneers in Dublin expressed surprise that the book had not been spotted by local book sellers. "Books by the Brontes are very sought after, they are sort of hot property," he said. Mr Nicholson predicted that the book might find its way back to America, where it could fetch an even higher price. "That's why people still go to auctions and keep hunting because not everything is kept track of and this chap obviously had a bit of luck," he told the Irish Independent. "Things turn up, so the public should keep looking, they should go to auctions. It's not an exact science, even with computerisation and everything, these things still happen." (Kevin Keane)

Stereotype vrouwenbeelden in Engelse literatuur gebruikt voor bewust..

Stereotype vrouwenbeelden in Engelse literatuur gebruikt voor bewust..

Muda onderzocht hoe schrijfsters de twee beelden in hun teksten gebruikten. Ze selecteerde romans van vier vrij verschillende auteurs, te weten: Shirley van Charlotte Brontë, De Ontnuchtering van Kate Chopin, De Jaren van Onschuld van Edith Wharton en Na Meneer Mackenzie van Jean Rhys. Zowel de overeenkomsten als de verschillen in het gebruik van beide beelden en hun spiegeling maken deze romans tot interessante casestudies. Via de gehanteerde beelden kregen contemporaine lezers een duidelijk beeld van de geldende normen, waarden en sociale rollen voor vrouwen. Tegelijkertijd kreeg men echter ook een goede indruk van mogelijke alternatieven.

zondag 15 mei 2011

First examples of fan fiction

First examples of fan fiction

“The worlds of Glass Town, Angria and Gondal might be considered alternative universes but there is nothing futuristic or scientific about them,” Juliet Barker says. “Charlotte and Branwell’s tales of Glass Town and Angria are youthful literary experiments in imitation and parody, wild romance and realistic journalism.” The writings have long divided critical opinion. To Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte’s friend and biographer, the Brontës’ early work was “wild weird writing”, of interest only to “the bright little minds for whom it was intended”.Andy Sawyer, on the other hand, says: “I find a lot of the stories quite enjoyable, especially The Green Dwarf by Charlotte. It’s clearly kids and teenagers having literary fun; they’re not meant for publication or detailed analysis.“the writing can be crude but reading Charlotte’s poem The Foundling and her short story The Green Dwarf, you’d say that person had the potential to become a great writer.”Juliet Barker agrees: “You can see where the brilliance of Charlotte as a writer came from. The stories suck you in. They can be hard work at times, though.”She also draws attention to the way in which the early works informed the sisters’ published novels. “They’re obsessed with strong male characters and young children, especially Charlotte, while there’s an outlaw called Douglas in Emily’s early stories who is very much like Heathcliff.”Christine Alexander says of one of Charlotte’s Glass Town characters: “Lord Charles Wellesley plays the same cat-and-mouse games with his readers as the narrator Lucy Snowe does in Charlotte’s last novel Villette. It’s a very sophisticated imaginary world.”Elizabeth Gaskell described Branwell Brontë as “to begin with, the greatest genius in this rare family” but bitter disappointments in his work and love life saw him turn to alcohol and laudanum. He died of tuberculosis aged 31. While we can only speculate about what Branwell might have written had he harnessed his early promise, the Brontës’ youthful writings undoubtedly laid the groundwork for some of the most powerful and enduring novels in the English language. As Christine Alexander says: “The stories reveal the Brontë children to be young artists of extraordinary energy, tenacity and vision.” (Charlotte Heathcote)


The Bronte children and toys.

The Bronte children had plenty of toys. They has painted wooden alphabet blocks, a wooden lion, a toy barrel, and a set of ninepins. For the girls there were wax headed dolls with hats and frocks, a wickerwork doll's cridle,
 a children's tea service and even a tiny working model of an iron in brass.
Branwell, too, acquired at least three sets of wooden soldiers from Bradford, Keighley and Leeds, two sets of Turkisch musicians from Keighley ans Halifax and one set of Indians from Haworth.

The barrel and the lion were found under the parsonage floorboards in 1949.
The tiny tea service, with on it: "'Ladies all I pray make free. And tell me how you like your tea.
 From the book ""The Brontes,"" from Juliet Barker.

  •  I was looking for photographs of Victorian dolls and found this great weblog dolls from the attic

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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