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

vrijdag 7 februari 2014

Beautiful pictures

Patrick Bronte’s room

The Telegraph and Argus has an article on what to expect when the Brontë Parsonage Museum opens its doors again:

Tea with the Brontes will look a little different when the Parsonage Museum in Haworth reopens later this month. Staff have changed the collection of the china teacups in the Bronte family’s dining room as part of the museum’s annual overhaul.  Collections manager Ann Dinsdale said items on display in all of the rooms were switched around each winter. She said: “We have a huge collection of Bronte household artefacts, so we’ve put a few different ones out. In the dining room it’s mainly the china that’s changed. The room has also been thoroughly cleaned and all the furniture inspected.”

Patrick Bronte’s nearby study was extensively redecorated in 2013 following in-depth research into what it had looked like during the Brontës’ time. This year the major change in the study is a new carpet, created by a specialist company using traditional techniques.  Ann said: “It’s what we believe Patrick Brontë would have had on the floor. We used our historical decorative consultant Allyson McDermott. “We had hoped to put the carpet in last year, but it took longer than we expected to do the research.” The Parsonage reopens on February 20.

donderdag 6 februari 2014

Branwell Bronte and Laudanum

No one knows when Branwell first started using laudanum. Laudanum contained 10% opium. It was easy to buy for a few pence. It was known to soothe the nerves, ward off consumption, and for Branwell, was equivalent to liberation. It is suggested he may have used it to help his epileptic seizures, but with the attempts that he made at professions and constant failure, it seemed to be a growing addiction and comfort where he could escape the troubles of his life. bjtanke/bronte

The Old Apothecary
The druggist shop where Branwell Brontë bought his laudanum is now a gift shop selling a wonderful range of olde worlde remedies and household products
At the time of the Brontës this shop at the top of Main Street was a druggist shop run by Betty Hardacre. Being opposite the church and parsonage, it was a convenient place for Branwell, brother of the famous sisters, to purchase laudanum, a derivative of opium which was sold legally without prescription as a painkiller. Following a series of failures and disgraces in a number of careers, Branwell turned to drink and drugs. His serious addiction masked his illness until it was too late and he died of tuberculosis aged just 31.

When you step inside the Old Apothecary it is not difficult to imagine the druggist shop as it may have looked. Mother and daughter team Patricia and Caroline Rose have recreated a stunning Victorian-style store including authentic polished mahogany display cases, glass bottles, antique advertisements and gas lighting. The shop sells aromatic potions and lotions of its own making as well as remedies, sweets and household products which one had thought had long since disappeared from the shelves. rose-apothecary

Because the disease appeared gradually, people often didn't notice the symptoms until it was too late to treat them. This was the case with Branwell Brontë, whose laudanum addiction masked the symptoms of tuberculosis until a very late stage in the disease. In Emily's lifetime, it was commonly believed that pure air could help treat tuberculosis; this is why Catherine Earnshaw is sent to the Lintons when she gets sick––among other reasons, the characters believe that Thrushcross Grange has 'better air' than Wuthering Heights. This is also the reason for Edgar's belief that the Grange will be a healthier environment for Linton. Around the time that Emily was writing Wuthering Heights, the American Dr. John Croghan even set up a tuberculosis hospital in a cave because he believed that the unique air would cure his patients ("Cave Air Approach"). wuthering-Heights

Opium derivatives were also used in many patent medicines and sold without a prescription in great quantities in Victorian general stores and apothecaries. The most popular patent medicines which contained opium or its derivatives were Kendal Black Drop, Godfrey’s Cordial, Dover's Powder, Dalby’s Carminative, McMunn’s Elixir, Batley’s Sedative Solution, and Mother Bailey’s Quieting Syrup (Hayter 31). Opium and its derivatives were used as cheap homemade mixtures.

Following its introduction into Britain, ‘opium was first believed by many to be a medical miracle’ (Landow and Allingham, 2006) and marketed to the masses in various forms; Godfrey’s Cordial, Dalby’s Carminative, McMunn’s Elixir and Batley’s Sedative Solution are examples of just a few medicines containing opium, all sold without any regulation (Hayter 1971: 31). For many years, opium and its derivatives, including the popular laudanum, was enjoyed by the British public; young and old, rich and poor. Far from being a middle class pastime, opium was used in many households as a startlingly normal practise. It was seen as ‘central to medicine, a medicament of surpassing usefulness which undoubtedly found its way into every home’ (Berridge and Edwards 1981: xxv). It was even said that ‘The bulk of the medical evidence goes to support the verdict that it is not more injurious than the moderate use of alcohol, and that even its abusive use is less destructive to the victim and his friends than intemperance’ (Watt 1892). how-opium-was-really-used-and-abused-the-moonstone-wilkie-collins

A tea party celebrating Ann Dinsdale

A tea party celebrating Ann Dinsdale, the Curatorial Manager, 25 years at the Parsonage!!!! Huge congratulations and here's to many more!!!

84 Plymouth Grove, the house owned by Elizabeth Gaskell

The house owned by Victorian writer Elizabeth Gaskell will reopen in October after a £2.5m overhaul.
Curators of 84 Plymouth Grove hope the venue will become a tourism hotspot bringing thousands of book-loving visitors to Ardwick.

Gaskell who wrote rollicking Victorian novels North and South, Cranford and Mary Barton was one of the most famous writers of her era.

Living at the home for 15 years until her death in 1865, she and her husband entertained some of the greatest celebrities of the day including Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë. But the impressive home had fallen into disrepair over the decades and was last used as student digs.

However it has been restored to its former glory thanks to a lottery windfall - and will re-open its doors in October 2014. Those in charge of the Grade II-listed property hope it will become a firm fixture on the literary tourism map, rivalling Shakespeare’s home of Stratford and the Brontë sister’s home in Haworth, Yorkshire.

The hidden gem has been fully restored on its ground floor to give visitors the feel of an authentic Victorian home. Its gardens have also been re-instated to their former glory.

Upstairs the venue has a number of rooms and performance spaces which will be used to host education work, literary and community events. [...]
Curators have meticulously researched what he house would have looked like when the family resided there. 
They have borrowed a number of period items of furniture from the Manchester’s art galleries and the John Rylands Library to recreate the Gaskell’s study and other rooms.
But they are now looking for a piano to make the room complete.
Trustees are hoping for the donation of a mid-19th century Broadwood demi grand piano to take pride of place in the drawing 
room. Renowned conductor Charles Hallé taught Elizabeth Gaskell’s daughters on the same type of piano and it was an important purchase by Elizabeth for the house on Plymouth Grove. The instrument will be used for a full programme of musical and educational events and the donor will be fully credited alongside all the other sponsors of the house.

Gaskell admirers acquired the dilapidated property in 2003, convincing lottery bosses to fund the project in 2012.

Janet Allan, chair of The Manchester Historic Buildings Trust, said: “I am delighted that after a sustained fundraising campaign and extensive restoration work, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House will finally re-open its doors in October.

“We are looking forward to offering a welcoming and immersing experience for visitors.” (Yakub Qureshi) Fight for your loos From the Manchester Evening News. former-house-of-cranford-author 

Read this: EG-Plymouth 

woensdag 5 februari 2014

You're either a Wuthering Heights person or a Jane Eyre person.....

Connect Savannah interviews writer Alice Hoffman, who considers herself a Wuthering Heights kind of person.

You've said that your book Here on Earth was your homage to your favorite novel, Wuthering Heights. Is this new one your paean to Jane Eyre?
AH: I had a friend who once said you're either a Wuthering Heights person or a Jane Eyre person, and I'm definitely a Wuthering Heights person, not to alienate the Jane Eyre fans [laughs].
I think Jane Eyre is a very interesting book in terms of who you relate to, whether it's Jane or the madwoman in the attic—the "freak." Me, I always identified with the madwoman in the attic. (Jessica Leigh Lebosbronteblog

I am definitely a Jane Eyre person. And you?

maandag 3 februari 2014

Laudanum, called the 'aspirin of the nineteenth century,

The most popular opium derivative was laudanum, a tincture of opium mixed with wine or water.
Laudanum, called the 'aspirin of the nineteenth century,' was widely used in Victorian households as a painkiller, recommended for a broad range of ailments including cough, diarrhea, rheumatism, 'women's troubles', cardiac disease and even delirium tremens. Many notable Victorians, who used laudanum as a painkiller, included Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Bram Stoker, Gabriel Dante Rossetti, and his wife Elizabeth Siddal, who died of an overdose of laudanum in 1862. Wilkie Collins used laudanum for the pain of gout and other maladies. victorianweb

Branwell Bronte  started drinking and spending more time at the Black Bull Inn. No one knows when he first started using laudanum. Laudanum contained 10% opium. It was easy to buy for a few pence. It was known to soothe the nerves, ward off consumption, and for Branwell, was equivalent to liberation. It is suggested he may have used it to help his epileptic seizures, but with the attempts that he made at professions and constant failure, it seemed to be a growing addiction and comfort where he could escape the troubles of his life. He had "failed the father who well-nigh worshipped him, and failed the sister who had been his boyhood's dearest companion." He wrote to his friend Leyland: "Cheerful company does me good till some bitter truth blazes through my brain, and then the present of a bullet would be received with thanks."  bjtanke

An unexpected find was made by Mr. Arnold Innes, a member of the Court of Patrons of this College, in his home at Earlsferry in Fife. In the attic he discovered the Day-book for 1823, 1824 and 1825 of Charles Bayley, Chemist, of 63 Princes Street, Edinburgh, and on its 34 pages were recorded the bills for goods delivered from his shop. He had a fashion- able clientele in Edinburgh, which included Sir John Hope, a well-known soldier, and Sir Walter Scott. One bill which was for £21 10s. 83d. for replenishing a ship's medicine chest for Captain Duncan at Leith would interest the naval historian.
The enormous quantities of laudanum ordered for the Scotts between 1823 and 1825 amounted to 22 quarts, and in addition 18 dozen opium pills and lozenges. With each quart of laudanum was ordered a pint of castor oil, which seems logical. The dose of opium works out at about a pint every fortnight (six grains of morphine per day) which could suggest addiction in one or both of the Scotts.

Scott, it is well known, suffered severely from biliary colic withjaundice, but this had ceased four years before the Day-book of Bayley commenced. It was known that he took large quantities of laudanum for his colic, but it is doubtful that he continued with this medicine after his lyrical description ofhis cure by the use ofcalomel in 1819. A study ofhis works reveals one story, that of The Bride of Lammermoor, which John Buchan regarded as the product of his opium dreams, as was Kubla Khan the work of Coleridge, who took laudanum from the day he left school till he died. He did not write other books of the quality of The Bride, so is it possible that Lady Scott, who was a chronic asthmatic and refused all medical attention, was quietly treating herself in the way she thought best after Scott had given up his laudanum?
The Day-book of Charles Bayley has been generously given to the Library ofthe Royal College of Surgeons of England by Mr. Arnold Innes and will thus be safely preserved for all time and will, I am sure, be con- sulted by historians from time to time in the future as it is a find of the greatest value.

De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
De Quincey started using opium as a reliever for a toothache in 1804,[33] and his book, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, was the first documentation of an opium addict to be published. He focused on the pleasures and the pains along with its influence on his works. His book was often accused of encouraging individuals to try opium and was blamed when they subsequently suffered from its side effects or addiction.[34] With the ability to purchase laudanum easily from many street vendors, de Quincey was quoted, saying, "happiness might now be bought for a penny."[35] With respect to literary triumphs, De Quincey notes in Confessions of an English Opium-Eater how the increased activity in the brain because of opium increased his ability to create new things out of raw material.[36] De Quincey notes the oscillation of symptoms between dreams (which he claims to be a source of his intense suffering)[37] and nightmares, and the reader recognizes the grip opium addiction has on De Quincey and possibly other users at the time. wiki/Opium_and_Romanticism

De Quincey was one of three people to whom Charlotte Brontë sent a complimentary volume of the poems she and her sisters published.

The Romantic Revival in English Literature was widespread in 1818, the year of Emily Brontë's birth, and during its lifetime its influence was felt in every form of Art. Her own work is highly individual and yet many traces of the movement, current in her day, may be found in it.
The most striking evidence of it is in her interest in the significance of the individual and the workings of the human mind. Like Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge, de Quincey, she followed it in its darkest explorations and from this springs the intensity of her writings. Unlike the Romantics, Shelley, Byron and de Quincey particularly, she never indulged this individualism into creating a man "not as other men are"; no one could accuse her of shunning that contact with life which is the vital resource of great poetry.


Brontës at the Brigantes

The York Brontë Group is now under way, meeting once a month at The Brigantes Bar, Micklegate, York.  The first, very informal get-together, began with a very short talk about laudanum and other common nineteenth century remedies.  The discussion which followed widened to cover a number of related topics including what Mr Brontë did and – perhaps more significantly - did not annotate in his copy of Graham’s Modern Domestic Medicine and whether Emily’s final illness really was consumption.
The next meeting of the group will be on Thursday, 27 February at 2 pm when a discussion about modern responses to the works of the Brontës will be led by Belinda Hakes who is Head of English at Wyke College.
In addition to discussion session a programme of visits is planned and full details will be released soon. For further information please email Chris Went (Trustee) at brontemania@gmail.com and you can follow the Group on Twitter @YorkBronteGroup 

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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