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 14 maart 2015

Nurslings, Revenge and Gender diference

Nurslings of Protestantism: The Questionable Privilege of Freedom in Charlotte Brontë's Villette
Monika Mazurek, Pedagogical University of Cracow
Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 49/4, 2014

In Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, a number of foreigners at various points express their amazement or admiration of the behaviour of Englishwomen, who, like the novel’s narrator Lucy Snowe, travel alone, visit public places unchaperoned and seem on the whole to lead much less constrained lives than their Continental counterparts. This notion was apparently quite widespread at this time, as the readings of various Victorian texts confirm – they often refer to the independence Englishwomen enjoyed, sometimes with a note of caution but often in a self-congratulatory manner. Villette, the novel which, similarly to its predecessor, The Professor, features a Protestant protagonist living in a Catholic country, makes a connection between Lucy’s Protestantism and her freedom, considered traditionally in English political discourse to be an essentially English and Protestant virtue. However, as the novel shows, in the case of women the notion of freedom is a complicated issue. While the pupils at Mme Beck’s pensionnat have to be kept in check by a sophisticated system of surveillance, whose main purpose is to keep them away from men and sex, Lucy can be trusted to behave according to the Victorian code of conduct, but only because her Protestant upbringing inculcated in her the need to control her desires. The Catholics have the
Church to play the role of the disciplinarian for them, while Lucy has to grapple with and stifle her own emotions with her own hands, even when the repression is clearly the cause of her psychosomatic illness. In the end, the expectations regarding the behaviour of women in England and Labassecour are not that much different; the difference is that while young Labassecourians are controlled by the combined systems of family, school and the Church, young Englishwomen are expected to exercise a similar control on their own.

More books on: Nurslings, Revenge and Gender diference

Main street and Black Bull 1926

vrijdag 13 maart 2015

A new item for the collection arrived at the Museum

A new item for the collection arrived at the Museum this week: Charlotte's sketch, 'Fisherman Sheltering Against a Tree', inspired by an illustration by Thomas Bewick. Charlotte produced the drawing in 1829, when she was just 13 years old. It will go on display next year as part of the exhibition to celebrate Charlotte's bicentenary. In the meantime, here's a sneak preview...

The Bronte sisters were fond of Beswick’s work and there is a reference to him in Jane Eyre.

Ann Dinsdale, collections manager at the Brontë Parsonage, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to bring this drawing home to Haworth to sit with the rest of the collection of the Brontë family. “This sketch represents the start of Charlotte’s creative genius and is a rare insight into one of Britain’s great literary minds. We’re committed to locating and securing the Brontë family’s possessions to maintain the legacy of the family and strengthen their literary heritage.”

Brontë Society President Bonnie Greer said: “The acquisition of this exquisite piece of Charlotte’s juvenilia is another example of the Brontë Society and the Brontë Parsonage Museum‘s leadership in not only the discovery, purchase and display of Bronte artefacts, but of our leadership in Bronte studies. yorkshirepost

In 1848 the publishing firm Smith, Elder & Co. wrote to Charlotte Brontë to request that she personally illustrate the second edition of Jane Eyre. The author’s modest response will be familiar to anyone who has in later life revisited the artistic output of their childhood and teenage years,
“I have, in my day, wasted a certain quantity of Bristol board and drawing-paper, crayons and cakes of colour, but when I examine the contents of my portfolio now, it seems as if during the years it has been lying closed some fairy has changed what I once thought sterling coin into dry leaves, and I feel much inclined to consign the whole collection of drawings to the fire” (Alexander and Sellars p. 36).
Hoping to work as a professional miniature painter, she diligently copied prints until she became an accomplished amateur, even exhibiting two drawings at Leeds in 1834. But she rarely drew from life or from her own imagination, and gradually realised that she would never overcome the restrictions of this form of artistic education. Instead, she focused on writing, and she and her sisters published their first book, Poems, in 1846 under the male pen names of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. In the following year Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey all appeared. Read more (interesting information) peterharrington

donderdag 12 maart 2015

New Contemporary Arts Programme

New Contemporary Arts Programme announced
The Bronte Society is delighted to announce its new contemporary arts programme for March to September 2015. Featuring readings from high profile writers, exhibitions, festivals, events and more, the programme showcases and celebrates the ways in which contemporary writers and artists are inspired by the Brontes and their home. The programme is generously supported by Arts Council England.
We hope we might see you at one of our events!
From all at the Bronte Parsonage Museum
William Atkins: The Moor: Life, Landscape, Literature
Friday 17 April, 7.30pm
West Lane Centre, Haworth
The Moor: Lives, Landscape, Literature follows a journey on foot through Britain's moorlands. The account is both travelogue and natural history, and an exploration of moorland’s uniquely captivating position in our literature, history and psyche. In this event, William Atkins brings in literary works such as Wuthering Heights, Hound of the Baskervilles and Lorna Doone. The Moor was described by The Guardian as ‘an ambitious mix of history, topography, literary criticism and nature writing, in the tradition of WG Sebald, Robert MacFarlane and Olivia Laing.’
Tickets £6 and should be booked in advance by clicking here or phoning 01535 640188.
Caryl Phillips: The Lost Child
Friday 1 May, 7pm
West Lane Centre, Haworth
Novelist Caryl Phillips visits Haworth to discuss his new novel The Lost Child. Phillips boldly re-imagines Wuthering Heights in 1960s Leeds in a haunting novel about migration, social exclusion and the difficulties of family.
In association with the University of Central Lancashire.
Tickets £6 and should be booked in advance by clicking here or phoning 01535 640188.
The Brontes and War
Friday 5 June, 3pm
West Lane Centre, Haworth
Ferocious battles and violent, military men dominate the landscape of Charlotte and Branwell’s juvenilia. To complement the current exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, The Brontës, War and Waterloo, co-curator Emma Butcher looks more closely at the military material the Brontës read, revealing how their interest in war extended far beyond the realms of the recent Napoleonic conflicts, and reached as far back as classical times.
Tickets £6 and are bookable by clicking here or emailing summerfestival@bronte.org.uk.
An Evening with Simon Armitage
Saturday 6 June, 8pm
West Lane Centre, Haworth
The popular poet returns to Haworth as part of the Brontë Society’s annual festival weekend, to present his new memoir Walking Away, the sequel to his hugely successful book Walking Home, and readings from his poetry.
Simon Armitage is Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield. He has published over a dozen collections of poetry including Paper Aeroplane (2014): a selection marking the 25th anniversary of the appearance of his ground-breaking debut collection Zoom! Armitage is also a playwright, novelist, song lyricist and broadcaster. The recipient of numerous awards, Armitage was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004 and awarded the CBE for services to poetry in 2010.
Tickets are £12. Please note there is priority booking for Bronte Society members and booking to the public will open online on Tuesday 5 May 2015.
The Silent Wild: Diane Howse
Friday 19 June to Friday 25 September
Brontë Parsonage Museum
We read and write in silence. Lines on a page soundlessly evoke whole worlds of meaning, and these silent words have an extraordinary power to conjure sound, noise and commotion. This exhibition by Diane Howse uses text, performance, film and sound to explore the sonic landscapes within the Brontës’ texts.
Diane Howse is based in Yorkshire and works as both an artist and curator. She is interested in creating new possibilities for presenting work in alternative locations and has shown work at many different and sometimes unexpected sites. The project is delivered in association with a team of creatives: filmmaker Adam Baroukh, choreographer Carolyn Choa, poet Thomas A. Clark, calligrapher Gigi Leung and musician and sound artist Lemma Redda.
Exhibition free with admission to the Museum.
The Silent Wild: A Symposium on Art and Sound
Friday 18 September, 10am-4pm
University of Leeds
Taking the exhibition The Silent Wild as a starting point, this conference considers the use of sound in contemporary art and heritage sites: Why has sound become a powerful means of uncovering a hidden past for many visual artists?  How does its use in a heritage context affect the artist, site and viewer? How does sound fit into the wider arts sector, and what are the implications for both contemporary art practice and curating?
In association with the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage, University of Leeds.
Tickets £25 (£15 concessions) and can be booked using the link here. For further information please contact the Arts Officer: events@bronte.org.uk / 01535 640188.
Bronte Festival of Womens Writing
Friday 4 to Sunday 6 September 2015
Brontë Parsonage Museum and other venues in Haworth
The Brontë Festival of Women’s Writing returns for its fifth year, with a focus on supporting and showcasing contemporary women’s writing. The programme will include creative writing workshops, family events as well as high profile and emerging writers discussing their work. The full programme will be released in July, to receive details as soon as they are released join our mailing list here, or contact the Arts Officer: events@bronte.org.uk/ 01535 640188.

dinsdag 10 maart 2015

'the tricky job of showing writers on TV'.

The Brontë sisters have rivaled Austen in inviting work-love-life speculation. A 1973 ITV five-parter The Brontës of Haworth – written by the verse dramatist Christopher Fry, although these scripts were in prose – was decorous about making connections. So it will be fascinating to see what Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax) does with the material in the ​biopic about Charlotte, Emily and Anne​ she is currently writing for the BBC.

Knitting Emily

From Women's Wear Daily: Leave it to Véronique Branquinho to incorporate lines of Emily Brontë into a Fair Isle sweater. That item captured the brooding, yet romantic spirit of her fall collection, where sweet and demure shapes collided with acres of paper-thin black leather and nubby, thrift-shop tweeds. (Miles Socha)


Brussels Brontë weekend, 25-26 April, 2015

The time has come for our annual Brontë spring weekend, which will take place on 25-26 April.
Please find here the program.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Room P61, Université Saint-Louis, Rue du Marais 119, 1000 Brussels
Entrance charge: €10 (members €5)

14.00: We have two guest speakers this year.

Claire Harman will be talking about her new biography of Charlotte Brontë to be published in 2016, the bicentenary of Charlotte’s birth. Claire is the author of various literary biographies and of the highly-acclaimed Jane’s Fame on the legacy of Jane Austen.

We will also be joined by Bonnie Greer, President of the Brontë Society, writer and well-known TV personality, who will talk to the group.

Do join us for what promises to be a very interesting event.

Sunday 26 April 2015

10.00: Guided walk around Brontë places (Place Royale area). Duration: about 2 hours. Charge: €7.

Please register by sending an e-mail to Helen MacEwen (helen.macewan@ec.europa.eu).

zondag 8 maart 2015

A thought for International Women's Day:

 "I am satisfied that if a book is a good one, it is so whatever the sex of the author may be. All novels are or should be written for both men and women to read, and I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.”
Anne Brontë


“If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

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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