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

donderdag 10 juli 2014

Childhood in Jane Eyre

Women authors and the money they earned

July day

'He said the pleasantest manner of spending a hot July day was lying from morning till evening on a bank of heath in the middle of the moors, with the bees humming dreamily about among the bloom, and the larks singing high up overhead, and the blue sky and bright sun shining steadily and cloudlessly. That was his most perfect idea of heaven's happiness: mine was rocking in a rustling green tree, with a west wind blowing, and bright white clouds flitting rapidly above; and not only larks, but throstles, and blackbirds, and linnets, and cuckoos pouring out music on every side, and the moors seen at a distance, broken into cool dusky dells; but close by great swells of long grass undulating in waves to the breeze; and woods and sounding water, and the whole world awake and wild with joy'. Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

woensdag 9 juli 2014

The teeny tiny Bronte books

The amazing teeny tiny books by the Brontes
In 1829-30, Charlotte Brontë was 13 and her brother Branwell Brontë 12. Creating fantasy worlds they called Angria and Glass Town, the siblings made teeny tiny books.
Measuring less than 1 inch by 2 inches, the books were made from scraps of paper and constructed by hand. Despite their diminutive size, the books contained big adventures, written in ink in careful script.
Twenty books, all by Charlotte and Branwell, remain. Similar books created by the other sisters, Anne and Emily, did not survive. Nine of the existing books, known as Bronte juvenalia, are in the collection at the Houghton Library at Harvard University.
Scholars have long had access to the book, but the library has now made them more broadly available by digitizing them and putting them online.
“Seeing the physical object brings home the effort and intelligence it took to create them and why they created them. Having grown up with Brontë, it’s a way of connecting with the past through objects,” Houghton curator Leslie Morris told the Harvard Gazette.
“What is extraordinary is the extent to which they imitated a professional publication, the variety of the content, and the perseverance it required,” said Priscilla Anderson, who restored the books at Harvard’s Weissman Preservation Center. “The ability to make these volumes from start to finish out of scraps is impressive.”
The Brontë sisters, of course, grew up to write some of the most lasting novels in English literature. Emily penned "Wuthering Heights" and Charlotte was the author of "Jane Eyre." Charismatic Branwell's efforts to be a tutor, clerk and artist failed, and he died of tuberculosis after struggling with alcohol and opium.
Charlotte and Branwell's juvenalia can be found online here:
By Charlotte Brontë:
Scenes on the great bridge, November 1829
The silver cup: a tale, October 1829
Blackwoods young mens magazine, August 1829
An interesting passage in the lives of some eminent personages of the present age, June 1830
The poetaster: a drama in two volumes, July 1830
The adventures of Mon. Edouard de Crack, February 1830
By Patrick Branwell Brontë:
Branwells Blackwoods magazine, June 1829
Magazine, January 1829
Branwells Blackwoods magazine, July 1829

dinsdag 8 juli 2014

Bronte Parsonage June enewslette​r. The garden of the Parsonage.

'It was a little budding rose,
Round like a fairy globe,
And shyly did its leaves unclose
Hid in their mossy robe,
But sweet was the slight and spicy smell
 It breathed from its heart invisible.' (Emily Brontë)
In truth ‘June is busting out all over’ might have been a better choice but alas it is not Brontë!!  June is the most important month in the Parsonage garden.  Why? Because it’s time for the annual membership get-together for the AGM weekend.  Geoff and I are always keen to have the garden looking its best for the membership.
For a few years now we have been growing rose bushes (with varying degrees of success) but we are not faint hearted and have persevered: three of the five roses we planted are doing really well, one is in intensive care but the other has sadly died so, all in all, not too bad and hopefully the survivors will be flowering soon.
This year we have majored on foxgloves which are perfect in our south border shaded by the graveyard trees. We have acquired our foxgloves for free − which is always a bonus – thanks to Anthony.  Anthony looks after the gardens round the church and finding himself with too many foxgloves, he passes on his spares to us as part of a neighbourly quid pro quo
The lawns have never looked better than they do now; not a weed in sight, and believe me I have looked closely as Geoff promised me 50p for every weed I could find.  I'll not get rich out of Geoff! 
The new planting at the back of the heather garden is filling up nicely and soon we will be able to gather flowers from there to decorate the Museum. Poppies will soon be in their full glory − fingers crossed that the rain does not spoil them, they are so easily flattened.  The aquilegia are putting on a lovely show just now.  You never know just what you are going to get from aquilegia as, like cowslips and primroses, they are very promiscuous and like to surprise us with their offspring − we have a lovely double-flowered one this year that we have not seen before.

I could go on and on with this month’s diary, the garden is so full of lovely things but please come and see it for yourself.  Try to keep Sunday 13th July free as it's our first Open Garden Day.  If you have a plant in your garden that you can split, please bring us one, we too are potting up the Parsonage garden’s spare plants for a bring-and-buy stall.  I hope we shall see you then.

London in the time of the Brontes

Yesterday during looking to the Tour de France in Yorkshire, I saw all those beautiful pictures from the modern London.

It brought me to the question:

What did Charlotte Bronte see of  London?
Which buildings and streets (and so on) did exists in the time of Charlotte Bronte?
The Victorian city of London was a city of startling contrasts. New building and affluent development went hand in hand with horribly overcrowded slums where people lived in the worst conditions imaginable.
The population surged during the 19th century, from about 1 million in 1800 to over 6 million a century later. A combination of coal-fired stoves and poor sanitation made the air heavy and foul-smelling. Immense amounts of raw sewage was dumped straight into the Thames River.
 In 1829 Sir Robert Peel founded the Metropolitan Police to handle law and order in areas outside the City proper. These police became known as "Bobbies" after their founder. uk-england-In Pictures: Police reform from watchmen to bobbies

Just behind Buckingham Palace the Grosvenor family developed the aristocratic Belgrave Square. In 1830 land just east of the palace was cleared of the royal stables to create Trafalgar Square, and the new National Gallery sprang up there just two years later.

When was the Square built?
Between 1825 and 1847. It was transformed from a large undeveloped area sometimes described as a swamp, a waste or a cess pit into one of the most fashionable districts of London. The marshy ground was partly filled with rubble from excavations in Dockland but the whole area is still not far above the level of the Thames.
What was here before it was built?
It was part of an uncultivated and marshy area between London and Knightsbridge, called the Five Fields which was thought to be very dangerous because of highwaymen.
The early part of the 19th century was the golden age of steam. The first railway in London was built from London Bridge to Greenwich in 1836, and a great railway boom followed. Major stations were built at Euston (1837), Paddington (1838), Fenchurch Street (1841), Waterloo (1848), and King's Cross (1850).

In 1834 the Houses of Parliament at Westminster Palace burned down. They were gradually replaced by the triumphant mock-Gothic Houses of Parliament designed by Charles Barry and A.W. Pugin.


For all the economic expansion of the Industrial Revolution, living conditions among London's poor were appalling. Children as young as 5 were often set to work begging or sweeping chimneys. Campaigners like Charles Dickens did much to make the plight of the poor in London known to the literate classes with his novels, notably Oliver Twist.


Upon this scene entered an unlikely hero, an engineer named Joseph Bazalgette. Bazalgette was responsible for the building of over 2100 km of tunnels and pipes to divert sewage outside the city. This made a drastic impact on the death rate, and outbreaks of cholera dropped dramatically after Bazlgette's work was finished. For an encore, Bazalgette also was responsible for the design of the Embankment, and the Battersea, Hammersmith, and Albert Bridges.

Regent Street rond 1850

Before the engineering triumphs of Bazalgette came the architectural triumphs of George IV's

favorite designer, John Nash. Nash designed the broad avenues of Regent Street&lt, Piccadilly Circus, Carlton House Terrace, and Oxford Circus, as well as the ongoing creation of Buckingham transformation of Buckingham House into a palace worthy of a monarch. victorian-london

zondag 6 juli 2014

Brontë Parsonage director Ann Sumner is leaving her post

Museums Association reports that Brontë Parsonage director Ann Sumner is leaving her post:
Ann Sumner has stepped down as executive director of the Brontë Society, which runs the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Howarth [sic], after 16 months in the role.  Her departure was announced at the society’s AGM last month. In a statement, the society said: “We regret to announce that Ann Sumner has decided to move on from the Brontë Society as she will be seeking a new part-time post. We thank Ann for her enthusiastic contribution to the society and wish her all the best for the future.”
A colleague described Sumner as a “breath of fresh air” who had done much to take the museum forward during her time in the role. Plans to recruit a replacement for the position are not yet clear. A spokeswoman from the institution said no further information was available. Museums Journal understands that Sumner’s departure comes at a time of upheaval in the Brontë Society. According to a source, some of the society’s members expressed concern about its direction and governance at last month's AGM, with a majority voting against two proposed motions to give the governing council greater power to expel members and extend the chairman of trustees’ term of office. (Geraldine Kendall)

Tour de France 2014 Haworth

The peloton rides up Main Street as stage two of the Tour de France passes through Haworth, Yorkshire. Pic: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

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