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 11 oktober 2018

The Bronte parsonage garden in september.

And these bright flowers I love so well,
Verbena, rose and sweet bluebell,
Must droop and die away;
Those thick green leaves, with all their shade
And rustling music, they must fade
And every one decay.
         Anne Brontë

What a wonderful summer we have had: there is lots of new growth in the garden, all our new planting is thriving and the roses have been exceptional.

Here we are at the end of September torn in two directions: (A) should we be cutting back and putting the garden to bed for the winter? Or, (B), should we just keep on enjoying the late summer flowers, of which there are plenty?

Well, as usual, we have come to a compromise: the shady bed next to the graveyard is looking tired and in need of work so perhaps some new and more inspired planting there.  As next year we shall be commemorating Patrick Brontë and Haworth and also the bicentenary of his curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, who served Patrick and Haworth for sixteen years, the new planting will honour these two men whom we hold in such high esteem.  This last few years we have had so many bicentenaries to celebrate and, in our way, Geoff and I have redesigned three of the smaller flower beds in memory of Charlotte, Branwell and Emily so, continuing this theme, we will have Patrick Brontë and Mr Nicholls in mind as we give this shady bed a new look.

Already we have cut back and cleared the most invasive plants and we will refresh the soil in readiness for the new plants we shall be introducing over the next couple of weeks.  Having done that, the other more colourful beds will be cut back as and when the time is right.  This autumn we are also planning to build up our bulb stock with view to having a colourful and showy garden in the spring.

I shall be having an operation on my hand in October which means I shall be unable to garden over the next few months.  Thankfully, these will be the winter months when we, in any case, tiptoe away and leave the garden to its rest.

Please don’t forget to look after the birds this winter; they bring us so much joy it is heart-breaking to think of them suffering in the harsh winter weather. Have a happy and healthy winter, and don’t forget to call in on the garden at any time. 

On the last Friday of the month, our curatorial team host exclusive Brontë Treasures sessions, sharing some of our most special items up close in the research library with pre-booked guests. These sessions are the perfect gift for the Brontë fan in your life (or treat for yourself!) and we've just uploaded the slots for the first half of 2019. Head to our website to find out more. facebook/BronteParsonageMuseum

dinsdag 9 oktober 2018

maandag 8 oktober 2018

Brontë was no romantic child of nature but a pragmatic, self-interested Tory. Why is she still adored for her ‘screeching melodrama’ of a novel?

Great article. Read all: theguardian/emily-bronte-strange-cult-wuthering-heights-romantic-novel
Far from writing “from the impulse of nature” and “the dictates of intuition” as Charlotte would have it, Emily Brontë was a richly resourced and highly self-conscious literary artist. In particular she was steeped in second-wave Romanticism, which she knew from her father’s fine collection of work by Shelley, Scott and Byron. Another, complementary, set of references came from the mystery and horror of German Romantic literature, which she read in the original. For while the little Wheelwrights were crying their eyes out, Emily was busy poring over her German grammar and reading spooky gothic tales by the likes of ETA Hoffmann. If Wuthering Heights struck contemporary critics as unrecognisably strange, it was only because then, as now, people had very short literary memories. In an age when Gaskell was gearing up to write her Condition of England novels, with their close attention to economic and social injustice in the industrial north, Brontë’s attachment to older gothic models (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is an obvious one to set alongside Hoffmann) came over as strikingly odd. It wasn’t that Wuthering Heights was shockingly avant garde so much as wilfully retro, just like the deeply unfashionable clothes that Emily insisted on wearing in Belgium, despite the derisive sniggers of her more sophisticated classmates.

Despite there being two servants to look after the modestly sized parsonage and one modestly sized parson, Emily made a case for needing to be onsite as an extra housekeeper. And to offset her lack of income, she became an expert financial investor, studying newspapers to ensure that the family’s modest savings were placed in the best-performing railway stocks. She was cannily alert, too, to the way that the literary market worked. When the Brontës’ first book, a joint collection of poetry, sold only a handful of copies, she was quick to turn to the much more profitable genre of fiction, in the same way that Plath self-consciously set out to write a “potboiler” of a novel – The Bell Jar – as a break from the slow and thankless business of trying to sell her verse.

In the place of Emily Brontë the wuthery maiden of the moors, we need to put Emily Brontë the ruthlessly self-defined artist. I happen to hate that art – no many how many popularity polls it wins, and no matter how many literary critics point out how cleverly it is crafted, nothing will convince me that Wuthering Heights is anything but a hot mess. But the fact that it exists at all, written in such unpromising circumstances by a woman who was convinced of her right to produce it, has a certain magnificence. Emily Brontë is the patron saint of difficult women. For that alone, she is to be admired, if only grudgingly and from a safe distance.

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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