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 oktober 2011

The Bronte Sisters - Listen to the Wind


a day at haworth

Elizabeth Branwell died on 29 October 1842

This portrait was sketched by J. Tonkin in 1799 - when Elizabeth would have been 23 years old 
Elizabeth Branwell died unmarried at the age of 66 on 29 October 1842, after a short, but agonising illness (believed to be a blockage of the bowel). At the time, Anne was working at Thorp Green, and Charlotte and Emily were away at school in Brussels. All returned home for the funeral. The whole Brontë family were devastated; in particular Branwell, who, later, on the day she died, wrote to his friend Grundy:

'I am incoherent, I fear, but I have been waking two nights witnessing such agonising suffering as I would not wish my worst enemy to endure; and I have now lost the guide and director of all the happy days connected with my childhood.' 49

Elizabeth Branwell  (1776 - 1842)
The daughter of Thomas Branwell and Anne Carne, and elder sister of Maria Brontë, Elizabeth Branwell was born in 1776 in Penzance, Cornwall. When Maria was terminally ill with cancer in 1821, Elizabeth travelled up to Yorkshire and moved into the Parsonage to nurse her dying sister and help run the household. She subsequently spent the rest of her life there raising the Brontë children - to whom she was known as 'Aunt Branwell'. She provided much of the children's education, including needlework and embroidery for the girls. Many years later, Ellen Nussey declared that Anne was her aunt's favourite.mick-armitage

Anne Bronte at Roe head.

At fifteen, it was Anne's first time away from home. She was quiet and hard working, and determined to stay and get the education that would allow her to support herself.[33][34] Anne stayed for two years, winning a good-conduct medal in December 1836, and returning home only during Christmas and the summer holidays. Anne and Charlotte do not appear to have been close during their time at Roe Head (Charlotte's letters almost never mention Anne) but Charlotte was concerned about the health of her sister. At some point before December 1837, Anne became seriously ill with gastritis and underwent a religious crisis.[35]

Towards the end of 1837, and while still at Roe Head School, the 17 years old Anne suffered a very serious illness. Charlotte described her symptoms as 'pain' and 'difficulty of breathing', the latter was assumed to be a symptom of asthma, from which she had suffered since early childhood. Concurrent with her illness, she also underwent a religious crisis: 56  she was experiencing deep depression and fear on account of the hard-line preachings of the local churches: a circle of clergy that tended to follow the scriptures to the letter, and made great emphasis on the Calvinist doctrines of hell-fire and eternal damnation, with the suggestion that only the 'elect few' would earn themselves a place in heaven. This was far removed from the much milder convictions of her Wesleyan aunt, and those preached by her father; whose emphasis was on the 'goodness and infinite mercy of God', and the belief that salvation was attainable by anyone who sought it. With the acute illness she was experiencing, Anne must have felt that death was near, and desperately needed reassurance on these religious matters. In the event, she did not turn for help to the local Methodist churches, of whose clergy were known to her and her father, but to a stranger. 

James La Trobe

The stranger in question was one reverend James La Trobe - the minister of the Moravian chapel at Wellhouse in Mirfield. The Moravian sect preached doctrines more akin to Patrick Brontë's, than those being advocated at Roe Head. They firmly believed in Universal Salvation, where, 'after a period of purifying purgatory, all men, however wicked, could attain heaven'. Many years later, in 1897, La Trobe sent a letter to his friend and Brontë biographer, William Scrutton of Thornton, and in it recited the occasions he had attended Anne at Roe Head so many years earlier. The extract relating to Anne reads:
'She was suffering from a severe attack of gastric fever which brought her very low, and her voice was only a whisper; her life hung on a slender thread. She soon got over the shyness natural on seeing a perfect stranger. The words of love, from Jesus, opened her ear to my words, and she was very grateful for my visits. I found her well acquainted with the main truths of the Bible respecting our salvation, but seeing them more through the law than the gospel, more as a requirement from God than His gift in His Son, but her heart opened to the sweet views of salvation, pardon, and peace in the blood of Christ . . . and, had she died then, I should have counted her His redeemed and ransomed child. It was not till I read Charlotte Brontë's 'Life'that I recognised my interesting patient at Roe Head, where a Christian influence pervaded the establishment and its decided discipline.' 57
In December Patrick withdrew Anne from the school, and back at home she made a gradual recovery. James La Trobe went on to attain 'bishop' status: he died in 1897 at the age of 95.

A Word To The Calvinists

You may rejoice to think yourselves secure,
You may be grateful for the 
gift divine,
That grace unsought which made your black hearts pure
And fits your earthborn souls in Heaven to shine.
But is it sweet 
to look around and view
Thousands excluded from that happiness,
Which they deserve at least as much as you,
Their faults not greater nor their virtues less?

And wherefore should you love your God the more
Because to you alone his smiles are given,
Because He chose to pass the many o'er
And only bring the favoured few to Heaven?

And wherefore should your hearts more grateful prove
Because for all the Saviour did not die?
Is yours the God of justice and
of love
And are your bosoms warm with charity?

Say does your heart expand to all mankind
And would you ever to your neighbour do,
-- The weak, the strong, the enlightened and the blind -­
As you would have your neighbour do to you?

And, when you, looking on your fellow men
Behold them doomed to endless misery,
How can you talk of joy and rapture then?
May God withhold such cruel joy from me!

That none deserve eternal bliss I know:
Unmerited the grace in mercy given,
But none shall 
sink to everlasting woe
That have not well deserved the wrath of Heaven.

And, O! there lives within my heart
A hope long nursed by me,
(And should its cheering ray depart
How dark my soul would be)

That as in Adam all have died
In Christ shall all men live
And ever 
round his throne abide
Eternal praise to give;

That even the wicked shall at last
Be fitted for the skies
And when their dreadful doom is past
To life and light arise.

I ask not how remote the day
Nor what the sinner's woe
Before their dross is purged away,
Enough for me to know

That when the cup of wrath is drained,
The metal purified,
They'll cling to what they once disdained,
live by Him that died.

Anne Bronte 

vrijdag 28 oktober 2011

Old pictures Haworth

Heald's House, Dewsbury Moor.

Heald's House
The house was taken on in 1837 by Miss Margaret Wooler, to be a new home for the girls' school she had previously run at Roe Head.
The new school was in a house that has interesting associations. Heald's House, Dewsbury Moor, had been used by the followers of George Fox, the Quaker, as a meeting place in an earlier period, and later it was the birthplace of the Rev. W.M. Heald, the clergyman who is supposed to have possessed many of the characteristics of the Rev. Cyril Hall [of Charlotte Brontë's novel Shirley].
Thomas James Wise and John Alexander Symington (eds), The Brontës: Their Lives, Friendships and Correspondence (Oxford: Basil Blackwell for the Shakespeare Head Press, 1932) vol I, p. 159
Charlotte Brontë had been a star pupil at Roe Head in 1831-32, and a teacher with Miss Wooler since 1835. Among the pupils were her two younger sisters, Emily and Anne.
According to Charlotte Brontë's biographer, Elizabeth Gaskell, the change was not for the better:
"About this time Miss Wooler removed her school from the fine, open, breezy situation of Roe Head, to Dewsbury Moor, only two or three miles distant. Her new residence was a much lower site, and the air much less pure and exhilarating to one bred at the wild hill-village of Haworth. Charlotte felt the change extremely, and regretted it not merely on her own account, but for the sake of her sister Anne. ...[Charlotte] bent her whole energy towards the fulfilment of the duties in hand; but her occupation was not sufficient food for her great forces of intellect, and they cried out perpetually, "Give, give," while the flat and comparatively stagnant air of Dewsbury Moor told upon her health and spirits more and more. ...
She had another weight on her mind this Christmas [1837]. I have said that Dewsbury Moor was low and damp, and that the air did not agree with her, though she herself was hardly aware how much her life there was affecting her health. But Anne had begun to suffer just before the holidays, and Charlotte watched over her younger sisters with the jealous vigilance of some wild creature, that changes her very nature if danger threatens her young. Anne had a slight cough, a pain at her side, a difficulty of breathing. Miss Wooler considered it as little more than a common cold; but Charlotte felt every indication of incipient consumption as a stab at her heart, remembering Maria and Elizabeth, whose places once knew them, and should know them no more.
Stung by anxiety for this little sister, she upbraided Miss Wooler for her fancied indifference to Anne's state of health. Miss Wooler felt these reproaches keenly, and wrote to Mr. Bronte about them. He immediately sent for his children, who left Dewsbury Moor the next day. Meanwhile, Charlotte had resolved that Anne should never return as a pupil, nor she herself as a governess. But, just before she left, Miss Wooler sought for the opportunity of an explanation of each other's words, and the issue proved that "the falling out of faithful friends, renewing is of love." And so ended the first, last; and only difference Charlotte ever had with "good and kind Miss Wooler".

Wooler, Margaret (1792–1885):

Margaret Wooler was the headmistress at Roe Head, where Charlotte was first a pupil and later a teacher. She was the daughter of a prosperous maltster and part of a large family with strong and lasting bonds. Charlotte’s time as pupil at the school was unusually happy: there was a small core of other pupils, among whom she found two lifelong friends, and Miss Wooler was cultivated, something of a linguist, and presented an attractive front to her pupils, with her beautiful voice and her story-telling abilities, exercised especially during the evening, when she would walk up and down the large rooms of the house with favored pupils around her to converse with. The syllabus of the school seems conventional, but it was broader than that of most good boys’ schools of the time, where classics dominated. Margaret Wooler seems to have been not the flamboyant, personality-impressing kind of teacher, but genuinely one of those for whom “education is a leading out” (Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1961, where Miss Brodie is a poor example of her principle). Her personality was retiring, quietly impressive, and her moral judgment was something that Charlotte would always want to take into consideration. Later on the relationship went through some bad patches, notably when Charlotte was teaching at Roe Head and was herself going through crises both religious and personal. 

Charlotte Bronte as pupil at Roe Head

In January 1831, Charlotte was sent to school again. This time she went as a pupil to the Miss Woolers, who lived at Roe Head.  Although Roe Head and Haworth are not twenty miles apart, the aspect of the country is as totally dissimilar as if they enjoyed a different climate. The soft curving and heaving landscape around the former gives a stranger the idea of cheerful airiness on the heights, and of sunny warmth in the broad green valleys below.

Mary Taylor tells of the first appearance of Charlotte at Roe Head, on January 19th, 1831.
"I first saw her coming out of a covered cart, in very old-fashioned clothes, and looking very cold and miserable. She was coming to school at Miss Wooler's. When she appeared in the schoolroom, her dress was changed, but just as old. She looked a little old woman, so short-sighted that she always appeared to be seeking something, and moving her head from side to side to catch a sight of it. She was very shy and nervous, and spoke with a strong Irish accent. When a book was given her, she dropped her head over it till her nose nearly touched it, and when she was told to hold her head up, up went the book after it, still close to her nose, so that it was not possible to help laughing."
This was the first impression she made upon one of those whose dear and valued friend she was to become in after-life. Ellen Nussey  recalls her first sight of Charlotte, on the day she came, standing by the school-room window, looking out on the snowy landscape, and crying, while all the rest were at play. Charlotte was younger than she, and her tender heart was touched by the apparently desolate condition in which she found the oddly-dressed, odd-looking little girl that winter morning, as "sick for home she stood in tears," in a new strange place, among new strange people. Any over-demonstrative kindness would have scared the wild little maiden from Haworth; but Ellen managed to win confidence, and was allowed to give sympathy.

To quote again from "Mary's" letter:--
"We thought her very ignorant, for she had never learnt grammar at all, and very little geography."

This account of her partial ignorance is confirmed by her other school fellows. But Miss Wooler was a lady of remarkable intelligence and of delicate tender sympathy. She gave a proof of this in her first treatment of Charlotte. The little girl was well-read, but not well-grounded. Miss Wooler took her aside and told her she was afraid that she must place her in the second class for some time, till she could overtake the girls of her own age in their knowledge of grammar, etc.; but poor Charlotte received this announcement by so sad a fit of crying, that Miss Wooler's kind heart was softened, and she wisely perceived that, with such a girl, it would be better to place her in the first class, and allow her to make up by private study in those branches where she was deficient. egaskell-cbronte

donderdag 27 oktober 2011

Jams, Chutneys and Brownies-Christmas Fair Prep!

Since the end of the summer we have been asking local people if they had any surplus fruit they would like to donate to us. The idea behind this was to make it into jams, jellies and chutneys to sell at our Christmas Fair. We have been inundated with (literally) buckets of apples from people's gardens and our harvest festival and these kind donations have been made into a multitude of different apple based jams and chutneys. We are still looking for more fruit donations, so if you have the ends of your fruit tree crop hanging around that you are not sure what to do with, drop them off at Haworth Church and we will turn them into delicious treats for our fair.

woensdag 26 oktober 2011

Maak een blogpost over jou 'all time favourite'!
Ik lees nu pas dat er brocante item staat.
De Bronte sisters
kan ik moeilijk ""brocante"" noemen
maar wel schrijfsters van vroeger
En als ik aan mijn
""all time favourite""
denk, dan zijn dat wel
the Bronte Sisters

Voyage à Haworth (2010)

Nice pictures of Haworth (autumn). 

dinsdag 25 oktober 2011

1905 ten-volume set of the works of the Brontë sisters, valued at more than $1,000

Public Opinion has an alert for this weekend in Chambersburg, PA:
bronte blog
Franklin County Library System's Fall Book and Bake Sale will be held this weekend in the Norlo Park community building off U.S. 30 in Guilford Township.
The sale has more than 20,000 items, including 100 collectible books. Proceeds will benefit library improvements at all Franklin County Library System locations.
A silent auction features first editions and notable items such as a 1905 ten-volume set of the works of the Brontë sisters, valued at more than $1,000; The Carpenter's New Guide, 1854, featuring designs by Samuel Sloan, 19th century architect, valued at $600; and a 1928 collection of gospel poetry written by Rev. Walter R. Gobrecht, pastor of St. John's Reformed Church, Chambersburg. Bidding closes 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The sale will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

BRUSSELS BRONTË BLOG. Jane Eyre in context

On 15 October the Brussels Bronte Group heard a talk from Dr Sandie Byrne of the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. Rather than taking one theme for her presentation, Dr Byrne gave her audience of students and Bronte fans an overview of the context in which Jane Eyre was written.
This began with a reminder of the historical background to Charlotte Bronte’s most famous novel. Chartism, Catholic emancipation, and the Irish Famine were just some of the issues in the newspapers of Charlotte’s day. In addition, Dr Byrne told listeners that the 1840s – the decade in which Jane Eyre was published – are known as ‘the hungry 40s’, and follow the beginning of economic depression in the mid-1830s. The Napoleonic wars meanwhile had left Britain with a shortage of men.

Jane Eyre is not, as many have claimed, a feminist novel, added Dr Byrne. Rather it is an individualist novel, created in an age when the romantic idea of ‘self’ was being formed. This linked to the “romantic eye”, seen also in Wordsworth and Byron, with the self the centre of all things.  brusselsbronte.blog

Welcome to Voice of the Valleys on-line

I received the following message:
I really am happy with this information. Thank you very much for sending me.
Voice of the Valleys is a free, honest to goodness, old fashioned newspaper covering local issues, history, trade and the views of the community. It is available from selected outlets in the Worth & Aire Valleys, Spar, Co-op, shops & information centres.
Our current issue can be read online by clicking on the front page. 
On this site you will also find more in depth coverage of the articles in the newspaper, so please click on the links below to delve deep into the heart of one of Britain's most famous and exciting locations. 
Voice of the Valleys.

maandag 24 oktober 2011

Patrick Bronte teaching methods

Lessons were an integral part of life in the Brontë household. Patrick gave instruction to his children at regular times each day, “adapted to their respective ages and capacities” (Dearden 1857, qtd. in Barker 1994, 855), but he expected them to take responsibility for managing the outcomes. They were encouraged to commit their lessons to memory and they did so by discussing, playing and weaving new information  into their latest stories and journals. This was a far cry from the dull reciting of numbers and grammar practised in most schools at the time and satirised by Dickens in  Hard Times. At Crofton Hall, Maria and Elizabeth had used Mangnall’s Historical Questions, a standard textbook for repeated question and answer lessons that Charlotte again encountered with less rigour at Roe Head. Patrick Brontë’s teaching methods were radically different. The early biographer Mrs. Chadwick, possibly on the authority of the servant Nancy Garrs, reported that he regularly “made a practice of telling them stories to illustrate a geographical or history lesson, and they had to write it out the next morning. Consequently they thought it out in bed—a habit Charlotte continued all her life in connection with her stories” (63). His accent on storytelling and the primacy of the imagination marks Patrick Brontë as an inheritor of the Romantic tradition. For him, storytelling was as important in cultivating the mind as history and globes. He delighted in tales of adventure and regaled his  children and their friends with “strange stories . . . of the extraordinary lives and doings of people who resided in far off out of the way places but in contiguity with Haworth—stories which made one shiver and shrink from hearing, but they were full of grim humour & interest for Patrick Brontë and his children” (Brontë 1995, I: 600). It was just such local histories of family scandal and usurpation that later fed into the strange events of Emily’s Wuthering Heights. No doubt Patrick also entertained them with tales of Ireland. Charlotte’s mix of political allegory and  fairytale in  Tales of the Islanders (Brontë 1987, I: 21, 99, 140, 196) displays the same fascination for the gothic and the supernatural. Despite her shyness, she had inherited her father’s gift for storytelling and gained a reputation at Roe Head for regaling her schoolmates with stories of sleepwalkers, combining “all the horrors her imagination could create, from surging  seas, raging breakers, towering castle walls, high precipices, invisible chasms and dangers” (Brontë 1995, I: 592). 
A study of natural history and a love of nature was also part of Patrick Brontë’s Romantic ethos. Natural Theology sanctioned the study of nature as a means of revering the earthly grandeurs and design of Creation. Natural history could be justified as morally useful, and the Evangelical movement, which Patrick Brontë supported, gave religious sanction to such pursuits as bird watching and geology. Thus he subscribed to Wordsworth’s view that the beauties of nature were a beneficent force, and he allowed his children to roam freely on the moors accompanied by a servant and later by the family dog. Locals reported that he himself took the children with him on his own “rambles among the hills” (Barker 1994, 108), drawing attention to particular birds, plants or geological formations. 
His books by the naturalists Bewick, Audubon, Goldsmith, and “White of Selbourne” (recommended by Charlotte to one of her  school friends) indicate the extent of his interest in this field and his belief that the hand of providence was in every page of the “great book of  Nature”, the young Charlotte’s second “best book” and a phrase often repeated in the Brontë juvenilia (Alexander and Smith 2003, 338). Patrick’s own verse typically proclaims the beauty of nature as a manifestation of God: 
With heart enraptured, oft have I surveyed, 
The vast, and bounteous works, that God has made. 
The tinkling rill, the floods astounding roar, 
The river’s brink, and ocean’s frothy shore

The Brontes and the Bible.

In all his teachings and writing Patrick had emphasised the importance of reading the Bible and his children knew their Bibles inside out. The children each had their own Bible and Prayer Book. Emily was given a bible by her father. Anne had a Book of Prayer from her godmother Fanny Outhwaite and a Bible by her other godmother Elisabeth Firth. Charlotte's New Testament was a gift of the Morgans. 
Patrick was to use the various copies of the Bible and Prayer Books as a tool for instructing the children in the classics. 
the Brontes and religion
The Evangelical Revival

Diary of Charlotte Bronte, teacher in Roe Head School page 1 and 2

 Roe Head School

View from Roe Head School
Favorite is the diary of Charlotte Bronte at 19. 
Charlotte is teaching in a bleak Yorkshire school called Roe Head.  She’s 20 miles from home and family and most unhappy with her pupils and her situation. Each night she retreats to her room for the day’s solace  – her diary, which she writes in minuscule, barely readable handwriting.
Bronte begins like  a typical diarist with her day in school: Well, here I am at Roe-Head. 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.
A few more sentences roll along in this vein and then suddenly she shift gears, and we see more than a glimmer of the romantic novelist who will write Jane Eyre in 12 years.. As curator Christine Nelson tells us, Bronte, her sister Emily, and brother Branwell from childhood on had concocted elaborate fantasy stories about mythical realms based on her brother’s toy soldiers. Here in her diary Charlotte steps from the drudgery of school into another world, triggered by her experience of a storm.
There are 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."
Note: Brontë's entry has been lightly punctuated for readability.

Well, here I am at Roe-Head. 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. I now assume my own thoughts; my mind relaxes from the stretch on which it has been for the last twelve hours & falls back onto the rest which no-body in this house knows of but myself. I now, after a day's weary wandering, return to the ark which for me floats alone on the face of this world's desolate & boundless deluge. It is strange. I cannot get used to the ongoings that surround me. I fulfil my duties strictly & well, yet, so to speak, if the illustration be not profane, 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 exercise. It is the still small voice alone that comes to me at eventide, that which like a breeze with a voice in it [comes] over the deeply blue hills & out of the now leafless forests & from the cities on distant river banks of a far & bright continent. It is that which wakes my spirit & engrosses all my living feelings, all my energies which are not merely mechanical, & like Haworth & home, wakes sensations which lie dormant elsewhere. Last night I did indeed lean upon the thunder-wakening wings of such a stormy blast as I have seldom heard blow, & it whirled me away like heath in the wilderness for five seconds of ecstasy, and as I sat by myself in the dining-room while all the rest were at tea the trance seemed to descend on a sudden, & verily this foot trod the war-shaken shores of the Calabar & these eyes saw the defiled & violated Adrianopolis shedding its lights on the river from lattices whence the invader looked out & was not darkened. I went through a trodden garden whose groves were crushed down. I ascended a great terrace, the marble surface of which shone wet with rain where it was not darkened by the mounds of dead leaves which were now showered on & now swept off by the vast & broken boughs which swung in the wind above them. Up I went to the wall of the palace to the line of latticed arches which shimmered in light, passing along quick as thought, I glanced at what the internal glare revealed through the crystal. There was a room lined with mirrors & with lamps on tripods, & very darkened, & splendid couches & carpets & large half lucid vases white as snow, thickly embossed with whiter mouldings, & one large picture in a frame of massive beauty representing a young man whose gorgeous & shining locks seemed as if they

[p. 2] would wave on the breath & whose eyes were half hid by the hand carved in ivory that shaded them & supported the awful looking coron[al?] head—a solitary picture, too great to admit of a companion—a likeness to be remembered full of luxuriant beauty, not displayed, for it seemed as if the form had been copied so often in all imposing attitudes, that at length the painter, satiated with its luxuriant perfection, had resolved to conceal half & make the imperial Giant bend & hide under his cloudlike tresses, the radiance he was grown tired of gazing on. Often had I seen this room before and felt, as I looked at it, the simple and exceeding magnificence of its single picture, its five colossal cups of sculptured marble, its soft carpets of most deep and brilliant hues, & its mirrors, broad, lofty, & liquidly clear. I had seen it in the stillness of evening when the lamps so quietly & steadily burnt in the tranquil air, & when their rays fell upon but one living figure, a young lady who generally at that time appeared sitting on a low sofa, a book in her hand, her head bent over it as she read, her light brown hair dropping in loose & unwaving curls, her dress falling to the floor as she sat in sweeping folds of silk. All stirless about her except her heart, softly beating under her satin bodice & all silent except her regular and very gentle respiration. The haughty sadness of grandeur beamed out of her intent fixed hazel eye, & though so young, I always felt as if I dared not have spoken to her for my life, how lovely were the lines of her small & rosy mouth, but how very proud her white brow, spacious & wreathed with ringlets, & her neck, which, though so slender, had the superb curve of a queen's about the snowy throat. I knew why she chose to be alone at that hour, & why she kept that shadow in the golden frame to gaze on her, & why she turned sometimes to her mirrors & looked to see if her loveliness & her adornments were quite perfect. However this night she was not visible—no—but neither was her bower void. The red ray of the fire flashed upon a table covered with wine flasks, some drained and some brimming with the crimson juice. The cushions of a voluptuous ottoman which had often supported her slight, fine form were crushed by a dark bulk flung upon them in drunken prostration. Aye, where she had lain imperially robed and decked with pearls, every waft of her garments as she moved diffusing perfume, her beauty slumbering & still glowing as dreams of him for whom she kept herself in such hallowed & shrine-like separation wandered over her soul, on her own silken couch, a swarth & sinewy moor intoxicated to ferocious insensibility had stretched his athletic limbs, weary with wassail and stupefied with drunken sleep. I knew it to be Quashia himself, and well could I guess why he had chosen the queen of Angria's sanctuary for the scene of his solitary revelling. While he was full before my eyes, lying in his black dress on the disordered couch, his sable hair
the Morgan Library
the Morgan Diaries

Roe Head Diaries
Series of six fragments written while Charlotte was a teacher at Roe Head, 1836–7. They shift obsessively between her life as a teacher and the glorious intensity of the Angrian visions which she can indulge in only in occasional free time or while the girls are working by themselves. They are sometimes hysterical and self-pitying, and are full of contempt for the “dolts” she teaches – these are the passages frequently quoted by biographers. The six fragments are usually known by their first words. 1. “Well here I am at Roe Head” starts in the schoolroom but shifts to a magnificent palace where Zamorna’s wife awaits him while he is away at the war. The picture is superseded by another, as the palace apparently falls to Zamorna’s enemies, and the ottoman the Duchess had sat lonely on is now occupied by “a swart and sinewy Moor” (Quashia, in transition from a near-comic villain figure to one of Byronic sexual appeal with violent overtones). As the fragment climaxes with “his broad chest heaving wildly as the breath issued in snorts from his distended nostrils” Miss Wooler interrupts the reverie: “‘A very stormy night, my dear’ said she.blackwellreference

Diary of Charlotte Bronte, teacher in Roe Head School. p 3 and 4

[p. 3] dishevelled on his forehead, his tusk-like teeth glancing vindictively through his parted lips, his brown complexion flushed with wine, & his broad chest heaving wildly as the breath issued in spurts from his distended nostrils, while I watched the fluttering of his white shirt ruffles starting through the more than half-unbuttoned waistcoat, & beheld the expression of his Arabian countenance savagely exulting even in sleep, Quashia triumphant Lord in the halls of Zamorna! in the bower of Zamorna's lady! while this apparition was before me, the dining-room door opened and Miss W[ooler] came in with a plate of butter in her hand. "A very stormy night my dear!" said she. "It is ma'am," said I.

Feby the 4th 1836

Friday afternoon. Now as I have a little bit of time, there being no French lessons this afternoon, I should like to write something. I can't enter into any continued narrative—my mind is not settled enough for that—but if I could call up some slight and pleasant sketch, I would amuse myself by jotting it down. Let me consider the other day. I appeared to realize a delicious, hot day in the most burning height of summer, a gorgeous afternoon of idleness and enervation descending upon the hills of our Africa, an evening enfolding a sky of profoundly deep blue & fiery gold about the earth. Dear me! I keep heaping epithets together and I cannot describe what I mean. I mean a day whose rise, progress & decline seem made of sunshine. As you are travelling you see the wide road before you, the field on each side & the hills far, far off, all smiling, glowing in the same amber light, and you feel such an intense heat, quite incapable of chilling damp or even refreshing breeze. A day when fruits visibly ripen, when orchards appear suddenly change from green to gold. Such a day I saw flaming over the distant Sydenham Hills in Hawkscliffe Forest. I saw its sublime sunset pouring beams of crimson through magnificent glades. It seemed to me that the war was over, that the trumpet had ceased but a short time since, and that its last tones had been pitched on a triumphant key. It seemed as if exciting events—tidings of battles, of victories, of treaties, of meetings of mighty powers—had diffused an enthusiasm over the land that made its pulses beat with feverish quickness. After months of bloody toil, a time of festal rest was now bestowed on Angria. The noblemen, the generals and the gentlemen were at their country seats, & the Duke, young but war-worn, was Hawkscliffe. A still influence stole out of the stupendous forest, whose calm was now more awful than the sea-like rushing that swept through its glades in time of storm. Groups of deer appeared & disappeared silently amongst the prodigious stems, & now and then a single roe glided down the savannah park, drank of the Arno & fleeted back again.

[p. 4] Two gentlemen in earnest conversation were walking along in St Mary's Grove, & their deep commingling tones, very much subdued, softly broke the silence of the evening. Secret topics seemed to be implied in what they said, for the import of their words was concealed from every chance listener by the accents of a foreign tongue. All the soft vowels of Italian articulation flowed from their lips, as fluently as if they had been natives of the European Eden. "Henrico" was the appellative by which the talker & the younger of the two addressed his companion, & the other replied by the less familiar title of "Monsignore." That young signore, or lord, often looked up at the Norman towers of Hawkscliffe, which rose even above the lofty elms of St Mary's Grove. The sun was shining on their battlements, kissing them with its last beam that rivalled in hue the fire-dyed banner hanging motionless above them. "Henrico," said he, speaking still in musical Tuscan, "this is the 29th of June." Neither you nor I ever saw a fairer day. What does it remind you of? All such sunsets have associations." Henrico knitted his stern brow in thought & at the same time fixed his very penetrating black eye on the features of his noble comrade, which, invested by habit and nature with the aspect of command & pride, were at this sweet hour relaxing to the impassioned & fervid expression of romance. "What does it remind you of, my lord," said he briefly. "Ah! Many things, Henrico! Ever since I can remember, the rays of the setting sun have acted on my heart, as they did on Memnon's wondrous statue. The strings always vibrate, sometimes the tones swell in harmony, sometimes in discord. They play a wild air just now, but, sweet & ominously plaintive Henrico, can you imagine what I feel when I look into the dim & gloomy vistas of this my forest, & at yonder turrets which the might of my own hands has raised, not the halls of my ancestors like hoary morning [illeg.]. Calm diffuses over this wide wood a power to stir & thrill the mind such as words can never express. Look at the red west—the sun is gone & it is fading. Gaze into those mighty groves supernaturally still & full of gathering darkness. Listen how the Arno moans!

Charlotte Bronte, diary Roe Head School

Charlotte Bronte, engraved portrait by James Charles Armytage, after a painting by George Richmond. 

Fed up with teaching young girls their lessons, future novelist Charlotte Brontë began a diary entry that grew into a fictional fantasy.
About the Diary
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.

Charlotte's and Branwell's invented 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.

Go here to read the complete entry and see Charlotte's handwritten page.

two nerdy history girls

zondag 23 oktober 2011

Wuthering Heights

Reviews of the screening of Wuthering Heights 2011 at the BFI London Film Festival are appearing:

Wuthering Heights' most successful aspect is the eponymous place itself. Whereas previous versions could easily have been re-titled 'Cathy and Heathcliff', Arnold's new version is very much aboutWuthering Heights itself, rather than simply being set there. Winds blow, rains lash down and the nights are as black as the inside of a buried corpse. The film isn't just earthy - it is muddy and soiled. Arnold is fantastic at conveying a tactile world of rough edges - wood grain, bracken and rock - a gritty world inhabited by moths, beetles and watched over by hovering birds of prey.
Despite Brontë's passionate original text, the film itself almost refuses to present passion. There are no startling scenes which will really move you, and Arnold has perhaps consciously downplayed the text's melodrama. If this was her aim, then she has succeeded. Her Wuthering Heights is a film which will certainly beguile and interest, and demands at least one revisit - given the magnitude of any adaptation's task, perhaps that is enough. (John Bleasdale in CineVue)
Aand more on: Wuthering Heights, by Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre and Bewick

In the Reeds' house, notably said to be at Gateshead, the young Jane Eyre looks at British Birds, as in the novel. But it is the kingfisher that attracts her attention rather than the Arctic scenes that particularly moved her in the original.  At least British Birds reappears when Jane returns to the deathbed of Aunt Reed, indicating that the director had noticed something of the extent to which 'Jane Eyre' is structured around Bewick and bird metaphors.
Jane Eyre 1847 Chapter One.
"The words in these introductory pages connected themselves with the succeeding vignettes, and gave significance to the rock standing up alone in a sea of billow and spray; to the broken boat stranded on a desolate coast; to the cold and ghastly moon glancing through bars of cloud at a wreck just sinking. I cannot tell what sentiment haunted the quite solitary churchyard, with its inscribed headstone; its gate, its two trees, its low horizon, girdled by a broken wall, and its newly-risen crescent, attesting the hour of eventide.The two ships becalmed on a torpid sea, I believed to be marine phantoms. The fiend pinning down the thief's pack behind him, I passed over quickly:  it was an object of terror.So was the black horned thing seated aloof on a rock, surveying a distant crowd surrounding a gallows.
Each picture told a story; mysterious often to my undeveloped understanding and imperfect feelings, yet ever profoundly interesting:  as interesting as the tales Bessie sometimes narrated on winter evenings, when she chanced to be in good humour; and  when, having brought her ironing-table to the nursery hearth, she allowed us to sit  about it, and while she got up Mrs. Reed's lace frills, and crimped her nightcap borders, fed our eager attention with passages of love and adventure taken from old fairy tales and other ballads; or (as at a later period I discovered) from the pages of Pamela, and Henry, Earl of Moreland.
With Bewick on my knee, I was then happy:  happy at least in my way.
I feared nothing but interruption,”

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.



Related Posts with Thumbnails