I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

woensdag 30 oktober 2013

Branwell Bronte was a visionary

Branwell Bronte was a visionary, his visions brought on by what is thought to have been epileptic episodes and, later in life, drugs like Opium, & alcohol. In some cultures visionaries are raised to the level of shamans and wise men, their perceptions respected for the insights they bring but few people recognised Branwell’s talents. The loudest voices are heard first and the most persistent voices often get to write history. These voices have, maybe unwittingly for the most part, perpetuated the more negative aspects of Branwel’ls persona. 

There have also been people and societies who have actively sought to sully his name and create a web of misdirection. But there have also been the quiet, cautious voices in the background whispering of his practice of magic, his influence in the Freemasons and the creation of the Bronte legend. The real extent to which he influenced the writing of Jane Eyre and Wuthering heights  and how he played a pivotal role in a plan to covet Emily, Charlotte, Anne and  the Bronte legacy. 

As the son of the local vicar, Branwell held a privileged position in Haworth village and was educated at home by his father Patrick. He was well read in politics and world events not to mention gaining an almost gnostic understanding of the biblical texts.It was partially through Patrick Bronte’s connections (and partly his own creative and unusual personality) that Branwell Bronte was introduced to the local branch of the Freemasons, Lodge 408 of the 3 Graces. It was to be one of the few places that his visionary nature was to be recognised and nurtured – but also used to ultimately destroy him. In 1836 a letter written by John Brown, WM. and Joseph Redman, Secretary to The Provincial Lodge of Freemasons, “We beg leave to inform you that a young Gentleman, the Rev.P.Bronte’s son, has made application to us, wishing to be admitted into Masonry, but he is only about 20 years of age, in consequence of which, we (in conformity with the constitutions) do hereby apply to you for a dispensation for that purpose. The Rev.P.Bronte is the Minister of the Chapelry of Haworth, and always appears to be very favourable to Masonry. Therefore we hope you will furnish us, by return of post, with proper authority to admit the young Gentleman into our Order”.

Beyond the home he received a different style of education from the housekeeper, Tabitha Ackroyd. Respected wise women around the village who was known for her knowledge of the old ways, of folk tales, fortune telling and healing. Tabitha had been employed following the death of Branwell’s mother and soon became an invaluable substitute. It could be said that the opportunity provided by Tabitha gave the children a much wider and more varied experience of life than would have been possible from their mother. It gave them an understanding of 2 class systems and 2  belief systems. Tabitha would often take Branwell and his sisters on walks across the local moors and spent much time at Penistone hill which was to become the microcosmic and paracosmic location of their stories of Angria and Gondol and was later used to describe places in both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Tabitha introduced them to time tested wisdom, to magic and paganism and to special megalithic sites. Through her they learned of herbalism, astrology, the green man, the geography of fairy land and where to find fresh spring water or see the shadows align on the equinox. ferndeanmanor

Photographe: Old lodge in Lodge st, Haworth (Newell hill)

The Construction of Home in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre

KRIPSI Jurusan Sastra Inggris - Fakultas Sastra UM (Indonesia)
Thesis, English Department, Faculty of Letters, State University of Malang. Advisor: Inayatul Fariha, S.S., M.A.

The Construction of Home in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
Huda Fitri Amalia, 2013

Many researchers argue that spaces and places are important aspects that construct identity. People make sense of their self by attributing meanings to places; however, the meaning and significance in it are not permanent. They are renegotiated and reconstructed. Home, a place that has been given meaning, is claimed as an expression or symbol of the self as people indicate a sense of their identity through stories about where they are.It is a physical space that is lived and a space that is an expression of social meanings and identities. However, home always has multi-layered meaning to each individual but plays a vital importance to growth. It therefore triggers many researchers to examine the meaning of home and has been a very intriguing topic as it holds different meaning to each discipline of study.
Jane Eyre portrays a significant role of home in constructing an identity, in which self-existence, personal value, and self-worth are regarded. Jane’s condition of being an orphan, penniless, homeless, and woman complicate her construction of home as she has no memory, experience, or attachment to a certain place. Her condition pushes her further to be a victim of marginalization. As an orphan, her need to find and create a comfortable space therefore becomes urgent in order to experience the feeling of being home. Jane lives at five homes and each home gives Jane an opportunity to construct her identity by observing each home and its inhabitants. Therefore, she can make an attachment to each home, both positive and negative. Jane’s concept of ideal home is continually altered in each home and therefore allows her to develop an identity, both personal and social.
In Jane Eyre, home is not merely about physical space and architectural buildings. It is emphasized that space becomes home only when it is inhabited and given meaning and function, where people can establish their own self and ways associating to others. Furthermore, home is also connected to metaphorical investment, reinforcing the idea of home which is not always a fixed space. It is delivered through imagination, creativity, and symbolic meaning as Jane calls Rochester ‘my home’. The book challenges the idea that home is not always a physical space containing certain memories for its inhabitants. Jane Eyre also adds the characteristics of ideal home as a site for new possibility, productivity, and equality. Moreover, the book enforces the idea of ‘home’ as a perennial human need, even for the ‘homeless’. bronteblog

dinsdag 29 oktober 2013

When I was a child we had a dining table that had belonged to the Bronte family

When Joanne Hutton lived at the Parsonage she held guided tours. Here is Josh, her Grandson, pointing (heroically) to the window from where his uncle used to hang and heckle her during the tours. — bij Bronte Museum & Parsonage.

I received this reaction from Ferndean Manor on one of my posts:

""The parsonage has had a fascinating history. We spoke a couple of years ago about Ferndean Manor and also the research i was doing about Branwell. Since then I have been given access to Joanne Huttons memoirs (mentioned in your article, the first female curator of the parsonage) together with her grandson we are writing a new history of the Bronte story as she reveals many revelations from her knowledge of them, the Bronte society and people who have tried to control the legacy. The memoirs and also an unpublished manuscript are very exciting and we hope the book will generate much discussion. In the mean time we are posting up little bits of research and a few teasers here:


On this Facebook page I read this: 

""  My name is Ian Howard and my family were connected to the Brontes. Exactly how, we are not sure, but that is one of the motivations for me to embark on researching this story. When I was a child we had a dining table that had belonged to the Bronte family and also a first edition Jane Eyre which was stolen from a Bronte exhibition. I’m still trying to track that book down.

After leaving school and a short lived apprenticeship in the textile industry I became a serving police officer which brought me into contact with some rather senior members of the Freemasons and when I left the force I worked as a private investigator on behalf of solicitors, banks and national newspapers. It is not a period of my life that I am particularly proud of and in the fullness of time I did realise it wasn’t the nicest of jobs to have shaping my personality. After a sort of epiphany, I dropped out and started on what I would like to consider a more consciousness evolving path. My past did however put me in good stead to both get my teeth into serious research and also understand some people’s duplicity and ulterior motives. 
I will go into much more detail of all this in the book but for the sake of facebook, I think that is enough for the time being""

I think, this really is interesting and I wait to hear some more news.

Cross Roads Inn

For years, a tiny pub on the road between the English villages of Haworth and Keighley has been home to a peculiar rumor. The Cross Roads Inn was one of Branwell Brontë’s favorite haunts. It was at the Cross Roads that two of Branwell’s friends claim he read from a manuscript that featured the characters who would later appear in the novel Wuthering Heights.
Despite Charlotte Brontë’s insistence that her sister Emily wrote Wuthering Heights, the rumor that their brother Branwell penned the novel has persisted. In their various biographies, Juliet Barker, Daphne du Maurier, Lucasta Miller, and Fannie Elizabeth Ratchford all considered the possibility that Branwell was the true author of Wuthering Heights. Barker claimed to have identified a story of Branwell’s that influenced the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff; du Maurier pointed to poems written by Emily and Branwell as evidence of an early collaboration between the two that could have blossomed into Wuthering Heights.
The persistence of the rumor reflects the curious, cloistered upbringing of the Brontës, but also the more universal experience of siblings. Collaboration and competition between brothers and sisters exists no matter their vocations, but literary siblings challenge our assumptions of lonely genius, isolated writers alone at their desks. Patrick Brontë, father to the four artists, who raised them himself after their mother died, wrote: “As they had few opportunities of being in learned and polished society, in their retired country situation, they formed a little society amongst themselves—with which they seem’d content and happy.” (Casey N. Cep) (Read more)


maandag 28 oktober 2013

In the Footsteps of the Brontës

Amberley Publishing has just published another pictorial account of the Brontës enriched with the comments of Ann Dinsdale, Collections Manager at the Brontë Parsonage Museum:
In the Footsteps of the Brontës
Mark Davis & Ann Dinsdale
ISBN: 9781445607795
Format: Paperback
Publisher:Amberley Publishing (July 2013)

The lives and works of the celebrated Brontë family are so ingrained in our cultural psyche that we think we know them inside out - but walking in the footsteps of the literary greats and their characters offers a new perspective on their work. Our journey begins in Cambridge with the arrival of the young Patrick Brontë and follows his family's fortunes as they grow up in their home village of Haworth. We see the wild moorland locations that would inspire the haunting Wuthering Heights and the dour schools they attended that would later feature in Jane Eyre. We visit the homes of family and friends that provided the settings for many of their novels and travel with them across the industrial West Riding to York and the coast. This spectacular collection of photographs old and new explores the people and places that the brilliant Brontës knew and loved.

Labels: ces that the brilliant Brontës knew and loved.In the Footsteps of the Brontës

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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