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 31 juli 2015

Charlotte Bronte and Turner.

Letter to W. S. Williams (31 July 1848)

I have lately been reading Modern Painters, and I have derived from the work much genuine pleasure and, I hope, some edification; at any rate it made me feel how ignorant I had previously been on the subject which it treats. Hitherto I have only had instinct to guide me in judging of art; I feel now as if I had been walking blindfold — this book seems to give me eyes. I do wish I had pictures within reach by which to test the new sense. Who can read these glowing descriptions of (J. M. W.) Turner’s works without longing to see them? However eloquent and convincing the language in which another’s opinion is placed before you, you still wish to judge for yourself. I like this author’s style much; there is both energy and beauty in it: I like himself too, because he is such a hearty admirer. He does not give Turner half-measure of praise or veneration; he eulogizes, he reverences him (or rather his genius) with his whole soul. One can sympathize with that sort of devout, serious admiration (for he is no rhapsodist) one can respect it; and yet possibly many people would laugh at it. I am truly obliged to Mr. Smith for giving me this book, not having often met with one that has pleased me more.
  • Charlotte Brontë, on Modern Painters, Vol. 1 (1843), by John Ruskin. Letter to W. S. Williams (31 July 1848) The Letters of Charlotte Brontë
gutenberg


Frosty Morning was painted from a scene that Turner had witnessed in Yorkshire and when Claude Monet saw the painting decades later, he declared that Turner had painted it with “wide-open eyes.”
arteyewitness/turner-constable

Charlotte Brontë wrote in 1848 to WS Williams on reading Ruskin’s Modern Painters.
A year later on 5 December she sent a letter to her father from London:
‘I have seen the pictures in the National Gallery.  I have seen a beautiful exhibition of Turner’s paintings’.
carefully distinguishing one from the other (as Heather Glen notes in Charlotte Brontë: The Imagination in History OUP 2002).  On 14 February 1850 she wrote to her friend Margaret Wooler of having seen
‘one or two private collections of Turner’s best water colour drawings’ as well as ‘his later oil-paintings’. turnerintottenham
What became the first volume of Modern Painters (1843), published by Smith, Elder & Co. under the anonymous but authoritative title, "A Graduate of Oxford," was Ruskin’s response to Turner’s critics. wiki/John_Ruskin

Paintings of Turner. google/Turner 

donderdag 30 juli 2015

Emily Bronte's birthday and the diary papers she and Anne were writing on her birthdays.

 
Today we celebrate
the birthday of Emily Bronte
 
Emily Bronte was born on 30 juli 1818
Emily and Anne Bronte
had agreed to write each a kind of reminiscence
 every four years
 to be opened by Emily on her birthday
 
Here the drawings Emily made on these diary papers
 
 
 
 The table was featured in an 1837 diary paper sketch by Emily,
 showing herself and Anne writing at the table with all their papers scattered before them.
  
 
 
Aren't they great these drawings?
 
Can we not imaging Emily
 sitting in her small room with Keeper at her feet
Or laying on her bed watching the stars in te night
 creating her beautiful strong poems and Wuthering Heights?
 
 
No Coward Soul is Mine
No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven’s glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.
 
Remembrance
Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far, removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?
 
 
 
 Clement Shorter: The last words that I have to say concerning Emily
 are contained in a letter to me from Miss Ellen Nussey.
‘So very little is known of Emily Brontë,’ she writes, ‘that every little detail awakens an interest.  Her extreme reserve seemed impenetrable, yet she was intensely lovable; she invited  confidence in her moral power. Few people have the gift of looking and smiling as she could look and smile.  One of her rare expressive looks was something to remember through life, there was such a depth of soul and feeling, and yet a shyness of revealing herself—a strength of self-containment seen in no other. She was in the strictest sense a law unto herself, and a heroine in keeping to her law. She and gentle Anne were to be seen twined together as united statues of power and humility. They were to be seen with their arms lacing each other in their younger days whenever their occupations permitted their Union. On the top of a moor or in a deep glen Emily was a child in spirit for glee and enjoyment; or when thrown entirely on her own resources to do a kindness, she could be vivacious in conversation and enjoy giving pleasure. A spell of mischief also lurked in her on occasions when out on the moors. She enjoyed leading Charlotte where she would not dare to go of her own free-will. Charlotte had a mortal dread of unknown animals, and it was Emily’s pleasure to lead her into close vicinity, and then to tell her of how and of what she had done, laughing at her horror with great amusement. If Emily wanted a book she might have left in the sitting-room she would dart in again without looking at any one, especially if any guest were present. Among the curates, Mr. Weightman was her only exception for any conventional courtesy. The ability with which she took up music was amazing; the style, the touch, and the expression was that of a professor absorbed heart and soul in his theme. The two dogs, Keeper and Flossy, were always in quiet waiting by the side of Emily and Anne during their breakfast of Scotch oatmeal and milk, and always had a share handed down to them at the close of the meal. Poor old Keeper, Emily’s faithful friend and worshipper, seemed to understand her like a human being.  One evening, when the four friends were sitting closely round the fire in the sitting-room, Keeper forced himself in between Charlotte and Emily and mounted himself on Emily’s lap; finding the space too limited for his comfort he pressed himself forward on to the guest’s knees, making himself quite comfortable.  Emily’s p. 180heart was won by the unresisting endurance of the visitor, little guessing that she herself, being in close contact, was the inspiring cause of submission to Keeper’s preference. Sometimes Emily would delight in showing off Keeper—make him frantic in action, and roar with the voice of a lion.  It was a terrifying exhibition within the walls of an ordinary sitting-room.  Keeper was a solemn mourner at Emily’s funeral and never recovered his cheerfulness.’gutenberg CHAPTER VI
More about Clement Shorter: independent
 
 
Clement Shorter received the diary papers from Arthur Bell Nicolls when he was visiting him in Ireland after the death of Charlotte Bronte. I am still searching on the internet of  a story about this happening.
 
Anne repplies: It's my understanding Arthur found these papers hidden in a tin box in 1895 . If it was Charlotte who destroyed Emily and Anne's papers, she missed gems because they were hidden.

Arthur found them when looking over what he had for Shorter...He didn't know of them before. Nicholls said to Shorter, that if he had not asked him to look for items, it's likely this box would have been discarded when Arthur passed ...and what if he had not brought that box from Haworth 40 years before ?!

We can't fault Arthur for being possessive when we have benefited by it so richly. Many Bronte items would have been lost if he had not held on to them for those 40 years When giving Shorter the diaries , Arthur said with feeling " Those poor girls!"

woensdag 22 juli 2015

Very interesting news. The University of of Manchester Library has digitised several Elizabeth Gaskell's manuscripts, letters (and letters sent to her) and published them online:

Highlights from the collection are the unedited ‘warts and all version’ of her biography of Charlotte Brontë and the original handwritten manuscript of Wives and Daughters. This was left incomplete as she died on 12 November 1865 before she was able to finish it and is the only ‘complete’ manuscript of any of Gaskell’s novels which survives.  The University of Manchester Library are using cutting edge technology to digitise selected works from their internationally renowned Gaskell collection which includes:

 Four of her literary manuscripts
-Collections of letters to Gaskell from Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë
-Correspondence between Gaskell and various friends and acquaintances
-Gaskell’s descendants have also kindly given permission for items from the Elizabeth -Gaskell Family Collection to be photographed by the Library.

 Gems from this collection include:
-Gaskell’s passport
-A portrait of Gaskell by Samuel Laurence dating from 1854
-A portrait miniature of her aunt, Hannah Lumb, who brought her up in Knutsford (Gaskell referred to her aunt as her ‘more than mother’)

The digital collection is being launched to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Gaskell’s death this year. The online Elizabeth Gaskell collection can be viewed here:
 http://luna.manchester.ac.uk/luna/servlet/Gaskell2~91~1
There you can find a goldmine with letters by Charlotte Brontë, Patrick Brontë and the manuscript of The Life of Charlotte Brontë: bronteblog

zondag 19 juli 2015

The owner has contacted the Daily Mail and the Brontë Parsonage and several experts give their opinion:
It is clearly a photo with a story to tell – and collector Seamus Molloy hopes it will earn a place in the history of literature. For he believes the subjects in the grainy antique picture, which cost him only £15 on eBay, are Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë. If so, it would be the only known photo of the sisters. Mr Molloy, 47, bought the 4½in by 3¼in image because he thought its subjects resembled the Brontës in the only known surviving portrait of them, painted by their brother Branwell. (...) Yesterday Catherine Rayner, of the Brontë Society, said: ‘It would be wonderful if it is. It is worth investigating. 'We have discussed it and there is a possibility it might go forward for some sort of forensic examination. 'Most of me is saying I don’t think it can be them. But we are not dismissing it.’ Ann Dinsdale, of the Brontë Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, said: ‘It seems unlikely that the Brontës would have been photographed. 'Photography was in its infancy. The family was quite reclusive and Emily and Anne were unknown at that time. 'Naturally there is a huge interest in what they looked like. However, provenance of images is hard to establish and sadly we may never really know.’ (...) Mr Molloy has also contacted the National Portrait Gallery, where photographs cataloguer Constantia Nicolaides said there were ‘notable differences’ in the brow lines and lip shape of the subjects in the photograph from those of the sisters as painted by Branwell. Two historical costume experts, contacted by the Mail without being told it was believed to be a photograph of the Brontës, dated the clothing worn by the women to around 1850 - tantalisingly close to the latest date it could have been taken, 1848 when Emily died. The National Media Museum in Bradford told Mr Molloy the image is a ‘collodian positive’, a process that was commercially available after 1852, and doubted a photographer would have used that to copy an even earlier form of photograph as it would have been ‘practically difficult’. (David Wilkes)
If this is a real picture of the Brontës, then I'm Heathcliff! (...)
Emily, after years of withering away, died of TB in 1848, Anne a year later. All, in this photograph, look as healthy as three Yorkshire puds. This photograph would have had to be taken in the 1840s, when photographic portraiture was in its infancy. This trio have left, the eye suggests, their infancy some way behind them. The one on the left (with a prayer book in her hand) looks middle-aged. Exposures, for the earliest photographs, took many minutes (trees were, for that reason, favourite objects: it can get boring). (John Sutherland)
You’ve got to think, why would there be a picture of them? There’s certainly no record of them ever having had a photograph taken. Everybody wants to know what the Brontës looked like – I regularly get sent images, either portraits or photographs, of either one woman or three women, and people think that they’re the Brontës. We do what we can, but if the image has got no provenance and it’s not documented anywhere, it’s really difficult. Even if you can look at it and say, ‘well the hairstyles are absolutely right, the costume is right,’ it’s still difficult to know for sure. (Ann Disndale) 
bronteblog

zaterdag 18 juli 2015

Charlotte Brontë Auctioned Watercolours. The Details


 

dinsdag 14 juli 2015

Yorkshire screenwriter Sally Wainwright reveals all about her new Bronte drama

“I’m not interested in chocolate box representations,” says the Halifax-born screenwriter behind Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax. “I want it to be authentic. It’s very easy for these kind of historic dramas to slip into easy cliche, but right from the start I was determined to get past the Brontë myth which has inevitably romanticised and overshadowed the lives and careers of Emily, Charlotte and Ann. I wanted to immerse myself in what life was really like for these three women living in the north of England.”

Wainwright, who describes herself as a lifelong fan of the Brontës, did what she always does when it comes to research and buried her head in books. Lots of books. With just two hours to tell her story, she knew that it would be impossible to tell the full Brontë biopic. Nor did she want to, preferring instead to focus on one particular story arc. In the end she settled on the three years from 1845 to 1848, which for the Brontës were packed with more drama and tragedy than most families see in a lifetime. Read all the article: yorkshirepost

Look on the Bronte table.

zondag 5 juli 2015

Norton Conyers. The home said to have inspired Charlotte Bronte is opening to the public

 
A HIDDEN staircase leading to the “madwoman in the attic” which is thought to have inspired the novelist Charlotte Bronte will go on public view for the first time later this month.
The writer is believed to have visited Norton Conyers in 1839, seen the attics, and heard the family legend of “Mad Mary” who was secretly confined to an end room, as far away as possible from the rest of the house.

When Brontë wrote her 1847 classic Jane Eyre, she created the character of Edward Rochester’s Creole first wife who he locks away in the upper floors of his sprawling manor “three storeys high, of proportions not vast though considerable: a gentleman’s manor house” - which owners Sir James and Lady Graham say perfectly sums up the exterior of the house, near Ripon.
The house reopens for just a week from July 19 to July 26, and there is expected to be high demand to see the fruit of extensive repair and conservation work, which has seen the house closed to the public for the last eight years.  Read all:  yorkshirepost

zaterdag 27 juni 2015

The birth of Branwell Bronte.


Branwell Brontë was the fourth of six children and the only son of Patrick Brontë (1777–1861) and his wife, Maria Branwell Brontë (1783–1821).[2][3] He was born in Thornton, near Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire,[2

Photo:
Bronte Parsonage Museum
 

vrijdag 19 juni 2015

June Weekend - excursion to Plymouth Grove

 


Isobel Stirk writes:
Our journey on the Brontë Society’s excursion to Manchester was certainly pleasant. It took us through some beautiful Lancashire countryside with the brooding Pendle Hill lurking in the background and soon our driver was skilfully negotiating the busy traffic of Manchester and we arrived at our destination- Plymouth Grove.


The house boasts a delightful tea room and we were offered tea or coffee and delicious cakes. We were told that when Charlotte was in residence there she asked, one evening, to be served only black tea as green tea made her very restless. Mrs Gaskell was in somewhat of a dilemma as the only tea they had was a mixture of both. She did not inform Charlotte of this but when asked next morning if she had slept well Charlotte answered very much in the affirmative. After partaking of this mouth- watering repast it was time to move on from this house which had been restored so well and sensitively- with not a touch of pink in sight! bronteparsonage/june-weekend-excursion-to-plymouth-grove

Smallpox around the Haworth area

 

William seems to have lived his whole life in the area around Old Snap, and died in 1823, and was buried at Haworth Churchyard, as the following parish record shows, written by the hand of Rev’d Patrick Bronte. 

Interesting article. Read all on: bancroftsfromyorkshire

donderdag 18 juni 2015

Flowers in the Parsonage Museum

The Hotel Cluysenaar

The Hotel Cluysenaar, on Rue Royale, which later became the Astoria Hotel, is more than likely the original model for the Hotel Crécy in Villette. This is how Charlotte describes it (Vashti chapter): “It was an hotel in the foreign sense: a collection of dwelling-houses, not an inn - a vast, lofty pile, with a huge arch to its street-door, leading through a vaulted covered way, into a square all built round”.

In Villette, Charlotte describes how Lucy goes up a “wide, handsome public staircase” to the second floor of the Hotel Crécy where she is admitted to “a suite of very handsome apartments” (Vashti chapter).

The Wheelwright family, friends of the Brontë sisters, took up residence at the hotel when they moved over from England to Brussels. Dr. Thomas Wheelwright, his wife and five young daughters, arrived in the city in July 1842, leaving in August 1843. One of the Wheelwright daughters, Laetitia, was to become Charlotte’s lifelong friend. 


J.J. Green in his 1916 article wrote that “at their residence in a flat at the big Hotel Cluysenaar, the Wheelwright children delighted in the big staircases, running up one and down the other” (p. 224). Mr. Green had some problems with the spelling of the hotel's name. Occasionally it gets ‘Clusyenaar’ and at one point it reads ‘Olusyenaar’. A ‘kluizenaar’, in modern Dutch spelling, means a hermit, a recluse. As a surname, in older variants, it is not uncommon in the Low Countries. thebrusselsbrontegroup


photo inside the hotel:  flickr.com/photos
A lot of beautiful photo's: charlottemathieson/charlotte-brontes-brussels/

Brontë Brussels Past Historians: Joseph Joshua Green.

An important article about the Wheelwright family, named 'The Brontë-Wheelwright friendship', was written by Joseph Joshua Green. It was published in 1916 in the somewhat obscure Friends' Quarterly Examiner (in two instalments). Thus very few people have actually read the article, while only small parts have been quoted in most biographies. Thanks to internet we can now present it to you. Click here to access the article (it has to be opened page by page).

His article begins with some interesting genealogical details. He then describes the Brontë- Wheelwright friendship and the mementoes of it which remained in his family's possession at the time of writing. It makes fascinating reading. Even though he reports how valuable Brussels material was thrown into the fire and destroyed (pp.119 and 237), there are tantalising visions of what might still exist, and which did exist when the article was written. There are "two large albums with mementoes of their travels, both in Germany and Belgium"(p.121), and also "a large coloured plan of the Protestant Burial Ground at Brussels showing the place of her [Julia's] interment" (p.221). Green also mentions the possession of "a tiny bouquet of dried flowers from the pensionnat garden" (p.226).

Green wrote his article in the middle of the First World War, a few years after Frances, the last of the Wheelwright sisters had died. This year 1916 more or less saw the end of an important period of Brussels Brontë research, and the beginning of a very long barren period, with only the exception of Edgar de Knevett's 1923 article. Read all the article: brusselsbronte

Wondering about Charlotte

Deborah Lutz, author of The Brontë Cabinet, wonders in Out whether Charlotte Brontë was gay.
When Jane Eyre was published in 1847, it quickly took its place as one of literature’s most famous love stories—straight love stories, of course, with the plain governess Jane falling for the mysteriously tormented, butch Rochester. Yet the intimacy between women in some of her lesser-known novels, especially Shirley, gives pause. And then there is the cross-dressing — Rochester as an old gypsy woman, Lucy Snowe in Villette as a young dandy flirting with a pretty woman. Shirley fancies herself an “esquire” because her parents “gave me a man’s name; I hold a man’s position.” “It is enough to inspire me with a touch of manhood... I feel quite gentlemanlike.” Her governess worries about her disdain for needlework and her habit of whistling because people will feel that she “affected masculine manners.” Evidence mounts in Charlotte Brontë’s letters to her best friend Ellen Nussey. When Vita Sackville-West read them in 1926, she had no doubt as to “what Charlotte’s tendencies really were.” She found them “love letters pure and simple.” Sackville-West (Virginia Woolf’s lover at the time) found Brontë’s courting language, the sort a Victorian man used to woo women, sapphic. In one letter, Brontë proposed to Ellen that they set up house together permanently, admitting in a postscript: “I am afraid of caring too much for you.” Nussey remembered Brontë stroking her head, exclaiming, “If I had but been a man, thou wouldst have been the very ticket for me as a wife.” (Read more)bronteblog

maandag 15 juni 2015

The Brontës and Waterloo: 10 Things I Learned

=Elizabeth Hopkinson blogs :

I've just got back from Brontë Parsonage, Haworth (not far from where I live) where I went to see a special exhibition on "The Brontës, War and Waterloo."  It was absolutely fascinating.  If you're in the area, go and see it! For those who live further afield, here are 10 things I learned from it:
Read more on: hiddengroveextra

zondag 14 juni 2015

“While this may be a very famous table, this is an awful lot of money for a piece of furniture" (verbatim)

This recent article in The Telegraph & Argus about the recent events at the Brontë Society quotes John Huxley, Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council chairman Councillor saying some very, very silly things:
“The society has become very remote and a little bit metropolitan literati," he warned.
“I don’t have any opinion about what is happening within the society, but it hasn’t been edifying to see it imploding. “As a council we'd like to be involved in trying to maximise the Brontë legacy in collaboration with the society. “But on one occasion when we called a meeting to discuss the tourist offering and invited the Brontë Society, they didn't show up." He said one example of the society’s “remoteness” was its purchase of the Brontë sisters’ writing table, using a grant of £580,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. He said this came at a time when the village had lost its fire station and was facing threats to its Treetops Children Centre and its Butt Lane community centre.
He said: “While this may be a very famous table, this is an awful lot of money for a piece of furniture."
There are so many things wrong with the words of Mr Huxley that it is hard to begin with something. Is this populist-demagogic approach to the role of the Parsonage what is to be expected from a Parish Council Chairman? Is he really so naive to think that the money given by the National Heritage Memorial  Fund could have been used for anything else but buying... National Heritage? And we are trying to remain calm about the 'metropolitan literati' bit as if that could be considered a sort of insult... The metropolitan literati are the reason behind the very existence of the Brontë tourism for God's sake!


bronteblog
 

Old Haworth

 
Belle Isle Haworth.
 

 
 
Bridgehouse Lane Haworth.
 

woensdag 10 juni 2015

Bonnie Greer resigns from floundering Brontë Society after months of infighting

The author Bonnie Greer has quoted Jane Eyre’s calm assertion that “I will be myself” in the wake of a dispute over the future of the Brontë Society that saw her resign from her position as president this weekend. The clash, which dates back to last summer, centres on how the organisation is being run, with one faction calling for the society, founded in 1893 and one of the oldest such literary groups in the world, to be modernised. It runs the Brontë Parsonage Museum, in the Yorkshire village of Haworth where the Brontë family once lived, and is also responsible for “promoting the Brontës’ literary legacy within contemporary society” . There are bicentenaries for Charlotte Brontë in 2016, told the Telegraph that trustees of the society “have become divorced from the local community”. He added: “They say they do not want to be seen as the snobs on the top of the hill, but they are. We have not enjoyed watching them implode. But the Brontë legacy is just bumbling on. It is not like the Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare [organisations]. The society needs to get its act together.”

Emily Brontë in 2018 and Anne Brontë in 2020. But John Huxley, local parish council chairman,
At an annual general meeting on 6 June, where Greer used a Jimmy Choo shoe as a gavel to bring order – and, she later said, “levity” – to proceedings, a report by consultants on the society’s future recommended “draw[ing] a line under past conflict”, bringing in more committee members with museum management experience and healing the “growing rift” with the village, reported the Yorkshire Post. Read more on: theguardian/bonnie-greer-resigns-bronte-society-yorkshire

vrijdag 5 juni 2015

Virginia Rushton

bronteparsonage:
Virginia Rushton, who died recently, was a well-known and very hard-working member of the Brontë Society who will be greatly missed. A singer, she was also well-known in the world of music, and was largely responsible for an extraordinary operatic project for schools in 2006 entitled The Wind on the Moor. It was featured on this blog and can be accessed here:
bronteparsonage/wind-on-moor

She was also the moving force behind the restoration of Emily's piano:-rhinegold/music_teacher/news/music

This obituary appeared a few days ago:  voiceforarran

dinsdag 2 juni 2015

Does an Award Like the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Help or Hurt the Cause of Women Writers?

In August 1849, Charlotte Brontë wrote a letter to her publisher, W. S. Williams, in response to a review of her wildly successful novel, “Jane Eyre.” Like her sisters, Emily and Anne — both of whom, along with their alcoholic brother, Branwell, Charlotte had just lost to tuberculosis over the course of one terrible year — the eldest Brontë sister published her work under a gender-­ambiguous pseudonym. The runaway success of “Jane Eyre” — published the same year as Emily’s and Anne’s novels “Wuthering Heights” and “Agnes Grey” — had sparked a broad debate about the identities of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Were they one individual writing under several names — a rumor that was, at one point, deliberately circulated by Emily and Anne’s publisher in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of their sister’s best seller? Most of all, speculation raged about the Bells’ gender. One smitten woman wrote Brontë’s publisher wishing to know if Currer Bell was a man — if so, she confessed, she must surely be in love with him.
 
“Much of the article is clever,” Brontë writes of an essay on “Jane Eyre” in the North British Review, “and yet there are remarks which — for me — rob it of importance. . . . He says, ‘if “Jane Eyre” be the production of a woman — she must be a woman unsexed.’ ” This conditional objection to the novel’s bewitching narrative power — if a woman wrote this, then either she, the book or both must be somehow unnatural — stands as an invaluable example of Victorian-era mansplaining. But in their presupposition that male writing and female writing occupy two separate and circumscribable domains, Brontë’s indignant critics also betray an essentialist logic that’s arguably still present today (if reversed) in the rationale for gender-specific prizes like the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Read on nytimes/does-an-award-like-the-baileys-womens-prize-for-fiction-help-or-hurt-the-cause-of-women-writers
 

Museums at Night event.

Keighley News reports on the recent Museums at Night event.
Meanwhile a host of Brontë fans took the opportunity to visit the Parsonage Museum in Haworth after-hours as part of the annual national festival. [...]  Literature fans were able to experience the Brontë Parsonage as the famous siblings did, when the building was lit by candlelight.  The Brontë Society’s museum opened for separate events on two evenings as this year’s contribution to Museums at Night.  On the first night visitors were treated to a glass of wine as they arrived, then they viewed some of the museum’s treasures by candlelight.  Collections manager Ann Dinsdale invited visitors into the library, where she talked about some of the interesting items and artefacts belonging to the Brontë family.  
On the following night visitors were able to have a chat with Charlotte Brontë’s friend Ellen Nussey, played by a costumed actress, while looking around the museum.  Among the visitors were the Routh family, Francesca, James, Angela and Michael, from Pudsey, who had travelled to Haworth specifically for the event.  James said: “It’s the first time I’ve visited for many years, but it’s been a fantastic evening. “Seeing the museum like this is a unique and atmospheric experience, and the live interpretation brought it all the more to life.” Rebecca Yorke, marketing and communications officer at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, was delighted with the response to the evening openings.  She said: “It felt very special being in the museum as darkness fell and the candlelight definitely added to the atmosphere. “Our visitors agreed it was a very intimate event and we look forward to offering more opportunities to experience the museum after hours.”(David Knights)
photo's:
bbc/haworth_bronte_museum
telegraph//Bronte-Parsonage-Museum-Haworth
 

Feminist Heroines in the Novels of the Brontë Sisters

Nineteenth Century Women Writers and the Challenge of Gender Roles: Feminist Heroines in the Novels of the Brontë Sisters
Tinna Sif Sindradóttir
Advisor: Ingibjörg Ágústsdóttir
2015
University of Iceland

This essay explores the challenges that women writers faced in the nineteenth century, as well as women in general. Therefore, the concept of gender roles is examined, along with the restrictions that women faced. In addition, the notion of separate spheres that were dominant in this period is briefly outlined to exemplify the male-dominated society that these women lived in. However, the main issue focused on is how women writers were able to speak out against this patriarchal society and the traditional gender roles that women were subjected to. Indeed, by becoming professional writers, they challenged the notion of the domestic sphere and the idea that women were mainly supposed to be wives and mothers. As a result, women writers had the ability to empower other women and influence the course of history.  In particular, the Brontë sisters will be discussed to illustrate women writers that challenged the patriarchal society of the nineteenth century. Through their novels and their heroines, the sisters addressed issues that their society faced and they did this in their own unique ways. Special emphasis is placed on Charlotte Brontë and Anne Brontë, as well as their novels. Charlotte and Anne concerned themselves predominantly with problems such as gender roles and equality between the sexes. However, they were also concerned with the education of women and issues concerning the domestic sphere.  The novels discussed are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë. In addition, the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is briefly outlined. The novels in question can be considered as feminist novels. Indeed, the key aspect discussed in Jane Eyre is the empowerment of women through the heroine, Jane Eyre, as well as her demand for equality. Moreover, the battle for women’s rights and independence is explored in the The Tenant of Wildfell Hall through the novel’s heroine, Helen Huntingdon. Finally, it can be argued that Emily challenged gender roles through the way that she wrote, as well as through the heroine, Catherine Earnshaw, in Wuthering Heights.

Oxenhope church is to receive a £37,500

Good news for the Oxenhope Parish Church as reported in Keighley News:
An historic Oxenhope church is to receive a £37,500 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant.
The money for St Mary the Virgin Church, in Hebden Bridge Road, will support a project to undertake much needed restoration to the church tower walls.
The scheme is costing £120,000 and the announcement of the latest funding will allow custodians of the Grade II listed property to complete the work. (...)
The church’s history includes a link to the world famous Brontë family.
In 1845, the Rev Patrick Brontë, father of the famous novelist sisters Charlotte, Anne and Emily, and their brother Branwell, appointed the then curate, the Rev Joseph Brett Grant, to take charge of the newly formed ecclesiastical district.
That district is now known as Oxenhope village parish.

Parsonage

Parsonage

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).

Parents
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.

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