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 november 2015

Both Charlotte and Emily returned to school after the midsummer holidays in this fatal year. Is this true?

I can tell you I am the proud owner of a copy of Claire Harman's ""Charlotte Bronte"".  Thanks to Anne, who sent it to me. I really am happy with it. And off course I am reading in it since I received it.
I own the Bronte biographies of Juliet Barker, Rebecca Fraser and Elizabeth Gaskell. I love the biography of Elizabeth Gaskell because I find it interesting that a lady, a woman of the world like Elizabeth Gaskell became so close to Charlotte Bronte. Charlotte who was so shy and insecure, but the same time so brave, so trusted her. I think Elizabeth Gaskell did the best she could with the knowledge she had at that time. And she showed courage to mention all the difficulties like Cowan Bridge and the love affair between Branwell and Mrs. Robinson. Afterwards she came in trouble because of her writing. She called it ""a hornet's nest"".

Later Juliet Barker wrote a fabulous biography in wich she proved when and why Elizabeth was wrong, for instance about Patrick Bronte. There is so much information in her book and she is giving so many details, so many notes to back it up.

In the biography of Rebecca Fraser I like the part she, like a detective, is searching for the truth behind the poststamps on the loveletters Charlotte Bronte sent to Mr. Heger.

The new biography
I started to be surprised from the beginning when I was reading the new biography of Claire Harman.  I get the feeling the days of Elisabeth Gaskell returned. Patrick Bronte as a selfish, excentrike man, only focused on himselve. And Haworth, a remote village, far away of civilisation. As if Juliet Barker never proved the opposite.

But I started to be shocked reading Patrick Bronte sent Charlotte and Emily back to Cowan Bridge, after their sisters Maria and Elizabeth died. Reason,  as Claire Harman is writing, because he had paid for it already. Did Patrick Bronte really did such a thing????? I didn't remember reading this before. So I started to search. I could not find this story in Juliet Barker, nor in Rebecca Fraser but then, yes, I found it in  Elizabeth Gaskell's book. So it is true. I am shocked. Elizabeth wrote: Both Charlotte and Emily returned to school after the midsummer holidays in this fatal year. But why didn't the other biographers mention it, I ask myself? Some hours later I thought, maybe there are notes in the book of Elizabeth Gaskell? And yes, I found it. The note: As Miss Gérin has shown (op.cit.p.16) this statement is inaccurate: the surviving Bronte sisters left the school for good on 1 June 1825.

I was trying to find out what Winifred Gérin was writing
Read here:

So, really I am confused. How is it possible that in the newest biography something is told
what is refuted in other biographies?
And.... Patrick Bronte got his money refunded? This really is a different story.

November and december in Haworth

The following list includes events (many of which are held on a regular annual basis) which take place in or near to Haworth village (appearing in approximate forthcoming order):

The big tree is up in ! Just in time for the Christmas market in Central Park this w/e.

Events which are held on a more regular basis include the following:

donderdag 12 november 2015

“Mary thou dids’t not know that I was nigh / Thou dids’t not know my gaze was fixed on thee. Brontë Society discovers manuscripts in ‘much-treasured’ book owned by the writer’s mother

Maria Brontë died when her six children – the authors Emily, Charlotte and Anne among them – were very young. Among the few possessions she left behind was a copy of Robert Southey’s The Remains of Henry Kirke White, which was “much-treasured” by the family, according to the Brontë Society. Stuffed with annotations, sketches, and markings by various members of the household, the volume just acquired by the society also contains unpublished manuscripts by the teenage Charlotte, stuck in among the pages. “We knew the book existed but we didn’t know it had these papers in it,” said spokesperson Rebecca Yorke. “They’ve never been published or come to light before.”

The family sold the book after the death of Charlotte’s father Patrick in 1861. It travelled from the family home in Haworth to the US, where it eventually ended up in the hands of an American book collector. The circle will be completed in the new year, with the volume due to go on display at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth. The society received £170,000 for the purchase from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, in addition to contributions from the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of the National Libraries.

Collections manager at the museum Ann Dinsdale called the book “one of the most significant Brontë items to come to light in many years”. She described the finds as “hugely important”. The book “was clearly well-used and of great sentimental value to the Brontë children, who lost their mother while they were very young. In addition, the unpublished writings by Charlotte offer new opportunities for research, which is really exciting.”

Both pieces of work relate to the fantasy world of Angria imagined by Charlotte and her brother Branwell in a series of tiny books. “It played a huge part in their lives,” said Dinsdale. “Everything they read and everyone they met in Haworth fed into their imaginary world.”
The short story features a public flogging, embezzling from the Wesleyan chapel, and a “vicious” caricature of the Reverend John Winterbottom – a religious opponent of the children’s father. Winterbottom is “in the middle of the night dragged from his bed” and then “by the heels from one end of the village to the other”, writes Charlotte in the story.

The poem features Mary Percy, the lovesick wife of the king of Angria Zamorna, and “one of the leading Angria characters”, said Dinsdale. “It’s quite an ambitious poem for a young girl, full of thees and thous,” she added.

Mary thou dids’t not know that I was nigh / Thou dids’t not know my gaze was fixed on thee,” the poem opens. “I stood apart and watched thee passing by / In all thy calm unconscious majesty.”
The pieces have been dated to 1833, when Charlotte would have been around 17. The story runs to 74 lines, and the poem is 77 lines. Dinsdale predicted that it would be of interest to general readers as well as scholars. “It’s of interest to anyone interested in Charlotte’s life, and because of the tragic story of the Brontës, their lives are particularly appealing to a wide range of people,” she said

Historian Juliet Barker, author of the biography The Brontës, said that “the book alone is a valuable acquisition because of its rare associations with Mrs Brontë before her marriage to Patrick, but its importance is immeasurably increased by the unpublished manuscripts tipped into it”.
According to the Brontë Society, the Southey title is one of Maria’s “rare surviving possessions”, after a box containing all her property was shipwrecked off the Devon coast shortly before she married Patrick Brontë in 1812. It also features Patrick’s Latin inscription, reading that it was “the book of my dearest wife and it was saved from the waves. So then it will always be preserved.”

Unpublished manuscripts by Charlotte Brontë.

The Brontë Society is delighted to announce the acquisition of Mrs Brontë’s copy of Robert Southey’s ‘The Remains of Henry Kirke White’ which contains unpublished manuscripts by Charlotte Brontë. The volume, which was much-treasured by the Brontë family, has been acquired thanks to £170,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), in addition to funding from the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of the National Libraries. The book is one of the rare surviving possessions of Mrs Maria Brontë, whose box, containing all her property, was shipwrecked off the Devonshire coast shortly before her marriage to Patrick Brontë in 1812. It contains Latin inscriptions in Patrick’s hand stating that this was ‘….the book of my dearest wife and it was saved from the waves. So then it will always be preserved.’ The pages of the book contain annotations, markings and sketches by various members of the Brontë family. Also included are a poem and a fragment of prose by Charlotte Brontë and a letter by Arthur Bell Nicholls, Charlotte’s husband, written shortly after her death in 1855. bronte.org.uk

woensdag 11 november 2015

Biographer of the Brontës gets her own biography

A leading biographer of the Brontës herself comes under the spotlight in a new book. Helen McEwan has written a biography of Winifred Gérin, whose own four volumes were for many years the standard biographies of the family members. Winifred first visited Haworth in her 50s and was so impressed that she went on to write separate biographies of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell. After a life spent trying poetry and playwriting, she achieved renown for her biographies, written between 1959 and 1971. She died in 1981. The life of Winifred has been explored by Helen MacEwan, a long-time Brontë scholar and founder of the Belgian branch of the Brontë Society.
A Brussels resident for the past 11 years, she decided to write about Winifred after discovering their shared links with the Belgian city. Helen said Winifred was “bowled over” by Haworth during her 1954 visit and felt people could not understand the Brontë family without becoming immersed in a their environment. Helen said: “Very romantically, on that first visit Winifred met her second husband, John Lock, also a Brontë enthusiast. “They both decided to move from London to Haworth and devote themselves to writing biographies of the Brontës.
Read more on: keighleynews

Rarities to go on show to commemorate Elizabeth Gaskell

First editions of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels and a selection of the author’s letters are to go on show this week at her former home to mark 150 years since her death.

The celebrated novelist died on November 12 1865 at the age of 55, and lived at 84 Plymouth Grove in Manchester which reopened to the public in 2014 as the attraction Elizabeth Gaskell's House.
One of the Victorian era's most iconic authors, Gaskell is known for her works of social realism featuring strong female characters including 'North and South', 'Cranford' and 'Mary Barton' as well as her biography of her friend Charlotte Brontë.
First editions of her novels which feature her annotations, a music book with a note from her husband William to Elizabeth, and her own notes on how to cure a range of ailments in cats - featuring copious amounts of porridge, from Central Library's Gaskell Collection are among the works which will be shown at her former home.

Visitors can also explore the home of the author and learn more about her private and public life. The event is free with the admission fee and advance booking is not required.

Archives Uncovered: The Elizabeth Gaskell Collection at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, Thursday November 12, 11am-3pm, 84 Plymouth Grove. Entry fee adults £4.95, concessions £3.95, under 16s free with tickets valid for one year.
See seven of the women who made Manchester great from Time Out. timeout/manchester

dinsdag 10 november 2015

The Brontë Cabinet - A review

The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects
by Deborah Lutz (Author)
W. W. Norton & Company, May 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0393240085

Deborah Lutz has managed to combine a 'chatty', conversational way of writing with solidly scholarly background and research. The Brontë Cabinet is a wholly entertaining read, yet thoroughly researched and incredibly enlightening. New Brontëites will find some of the facts about the Brontës interesting and old Brontëites will refresh their memories and - we are pretty sure - learn new things if not about the Brontës themselves, then surely about the period they lived in.

So Deborah Lutz takes each object and writes a chapter around it, telling us both the Brontë story and the Victorian story, putting the Brontës firmly in the period they lived in but with which they aren't always really associated both because they lived in the earlier part of it and because their tastes and style tend to be reminiscent of an earlier period. And yet, looking at their belongings and their way of life, it's clear that they can't have been anything else. The Brontës were Victorians through and through.
Read more on: Bronteblog

zondag 8 november 2015

Winifred Gérin, biographer of the Brontës

To celebrate the Brontë bicentenaries, Helen MacEwan has written a new book exploring the life of one of their most important biographers. On 21 November at Waterstones Piccadilly, she will be launching Winifred Gérin, biographer of the Brontës (publication date 15 November). Having written about the Brontës in Brussels, Helen first became interested in Gérin’s life story because of her Belgian links and her special interest in Charlotte Brontë’s Brussels period.

Winifred Gérin (1901-81) is known as the biographer who moved to Haworth to write the lives of all four Brontë siblings, literally treading in their footsteps as she researched them. But her ten years in Haworth were just part of a romantic, eventful and sometimes tragic life.

Marriage to a Belgian cellist, Eugène Gérin, took her to Paris and then, in 1939, to Brussels where the couple worked for the British Embassy. Following the German invasion of 1940 they had various hair-raising adventures in France, finally escaping to Britain where they worked for Political Intelligence. After Eugène Gérin’s death in 1945, Winifred sought consolation in writing poetry and plays until discovering both her literary vocation and second love on a fateful first visit to Haworth. 

Gérin went on to write biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell, Anne Thackeray Ritchie and Horatia Nelson. She also wrote plays about Jane Austen, Fanny Burney and Charlotte Brontë. This book is based on her letters and her unpublished memoir. bronteparsonage

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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