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 20 oktober 2012

Weblogs and the Brontes

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree."
-Emily Bronte

The moors we walked that day were blustery, windy, rainy and cold. It was perfect. Few others braved the elements, but we were determined to reach our destination .

The ruins of Top Withens came into sight and I bounded ahead, anxious for a few minutes alone with the place. As I approached, a fierce wind blew through, rattling the one wooden door still in place and startling a baby sheep and her family, which went running away.
I'm wearying to escape into that glorious world, and to be always there; not seeing it    dimly through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart; but really with it, and in it.
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte had a dog named Keeper. 

A romantic name for a canine companion pet to one of the best writers in the English language - very fitting. I imagine him to be her keeper while she roamed those moors beyond the safety of her parsonage home.

"Here all the faults of Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Brontëare magnified a thousand fold, and the only consolation which we have in reflecting upon it is that it will never be generally read."
~ James Lorimer, North British Review, 1847
"...wild, confused, disjointed and improbable ... the people who make up the drama, which is tragic enough in its consequences, are savages ruder than those who lived before the days of Homer."
~The Examiner
, 1847

It's a shame that the authors of these dismissive remarks never knew the success the Brontës' novels have had in the intervening years. Nor that their overwhelming longevity speaks to the universal themes that course through both books. "Love conquers all," would be putting a romance novel spin on them, but really, when it comes right down to it, these two books set the bar very high few "romance" writers since have attained.

A documentary on the Brontë sisters

On 13 October 2012 Dr Lyndall Gordon (St Hilda’s College, Oxford; author of several biographies including of Virginia Woolf and Emily Dickinson) gave a talk called The Hidden Face of Charlotte Brontë in which she explored some of the insights she gained in writing her biography Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life.

Lyndall Gordon told  that in a few days’ time she was to be filmed in the British Museum, talking about the Heger letters, for a documentary on the Brontë sisters to be shown as part of ITV’s Perspective series.  Read all  brussels bronte

vrijdag 19 oktober 2012

300 images taken inside the 3 Graces masonic lodge, Haworth.

One of a set of 300 images taken inside the 3 Graces masonic lodge, Haworth. This is the lodge where Branwell Bronte was a member and it was a masonic member who originally reported that it was infact Branwell who penned Wuthering Heights (at least in part) and heavily influenced Jane Eyre. Local band Huu Juu (ahem :-) )are planning an electro rock opera based on the story of Branwell, the freemasons and a bit of magical hokery pokery. Should be ready early 2013. There's some research and a taster of the story here.


William Dearden

Cross Roads Inn

William Dearden


Around 1842, he challenged Branwell Brontë to a poetry-writing contest which was to be held at the Cross Roads Inn between Haworth and Keighley, and judged by his associate, J. B. Leyland. Dearden recorded the event in a poem entitled  ""A Retrospect"".
The moon again was on the wane when I
Met at Cross Roads my Brontë challenger,
To speed to Shinar on our hippogriffs,
And break a lance in a poetic tilt,
In armour such as sons of Tubal-cain
Wrought for the "mighty men which were of old,
Men of renown," before the Deluge came.
Our censor, Leyland, with his meerschaum lit,
And goblet crowned, assumed the judgment-thrown,
And bade each combatant, with arms in rest,
Display the legend on his shield impressed,
For which he would "do battel" as true knight.
Brontë's read "Azrael or Destruction's Eve";
And mine the "Demon Queen." "The challenger,
Sir Patrick of the Thunder-bruit, begin
The onslaught!" cried the umpire. Brontë drew
(To sink the metaphor) from out his hat
A manuscript, which, when his eyes beheld,
He stood aghast; and turning rapidly
The quivering leaves, he said; "O friends, I've made
A strange mistake! This is a novel on which,
Some time ago, I tried my 'prentice hand,
And which, in my hot haste, I must have snatched
Instead of 'Azrael' from my private drawer."
"A ruse! A ruse! Pat!" Leyland thundered through
A cloud of smoke, as from a cannon's mouth;
"Thy spider-muse, if but the truth were known,
Has not from his own meagre bowels spun
A single line of his poetic web."
Read on:history.rootsweb
At Crossroads, between Haworth and Keighley. Branwell and William Dearden met here to have literary contests. Here Branwell, it was claimed, read from the manuscript of Wuthering Heights , giving rise to the belief that he was the novel’s author. This claim resurfaces regularly, but has never been given credence by any Brontë expert. 
The Cross Roads Inn has the dubious honour of being the place where the 'was Wuthering Heights actually written by Branwell Brontë' question was born. Lucasta Miller, in The Brontë Myth (ch. 8), explains it very concisely:
Under the headline 'Who wrote Wuthering Heights?' Dearden described a meeting which had taken place in the summer of 1842 between himself, Branwell and their sculptor friend Joseph Leyland at the Cross Roads Inn between Haworth and Keighley. A month earlier, the two poets had each agreed to produce a verse composition set in the mythical time before the Deluge. But when Branwell arrived at the appointed pub to show off his handiwork, he found that he had accidentally picked up the wrong manuscript. What he read out was not the antediluvian poem 'Azrael or the Eve of Destruction' he had written in answer to Dearden's challenge, but a fragment whose scene and characters 'so far as then developed' were, according to Dearden, 'the same as those in Wuthering Heights, which Charlotte Bronté [sic] confidently asserts was the production of her sister Emily'. bronteblog/wuthering-heights-at-cross-roads-inn

On this day in 1860

"The village of Haworth is so situate that one part of its single steep street is quite inaccessible to anything like a vehicle. At the time when Grimshaw came there, the country was wilder, and the inhabitants far more savage in their habits than at Todmorden. The scenery is peculiarly beautiful, quite as picturesque as the Lower Alps. The country was very lonely; a man might travel on horseback for a whole day and scarcely see a house or a human being. Round Haworth there is an unenclosed moor, with stones reared at intervals of several miles to mark the place of the road when it is covered with snow. There were a few worsted mills at which the people of the district worked (for Yorkshire is always famous for its woollens), and there were hand-looms in some of the cottages, but cotton-mills were not then dreamt of."
Extract from The Bradford Observer Thursday Oct 18th 1860 Haworth-village

woensdag 17 oktober 2012

Bronte Parsonage Museum to receive major make over after historical work

The Bronte Parsonage Museum is to be redecorated so that it looks more like the famous sisters’ home than ever before. Decorators will draw on the research of specialists into what the building’s interiors looked like in the mid-19th century. The “decorative archaeology” was carried out last winter while the museum underwent its annual two-month closure. After the museum closes at the end of this autumn the restoration work will begin, ready for reopening in February. The museum, run by the Bronte Society, said it wanted to offer visitors a “more authentic Bronte experience”. The “new” look will be followed next March by an exhibition in the museum entitled Heaven Is a Home: the Story of the Brontes’ Parsonage. The museum promises an “exciting” programme of special events throughout 2013 to celebrate the redecoration. Keighley News

zondag 14 oktober 2012

Weblogs and the Brontes

Bunny Mummy
Peagreen kitty

Picture of Maria Branwell
Victorian gothic/the-true-story-of-the-lowood-institution

mike howelleng

Drawing from Charlotte Bronte of Anne Bronte 

""Believe not those who say
The upward path is smooth,
Lest thou shouldst stumble in the way
And faint before the truth…""

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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