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 17 oktober 2014

‘Exciting’ new donation to the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth

It’s been a busy month. Last week, we were alerted to a Charlotte Bronte letter coming up for sale by auction, the next day! Sadly, we were unsuccessful in our bids as it sold for double the estimated price. We were disappointed that we couldn’t bring the letter back home to the place where it was written over 150 years ago. To lift our spirits though, we were thrilled to receive an exciting donation to the collection.

An ivory quill-cutter which the Bronte family would have used to sharpen their quills before they put quill to paper! This was an important tool in the Bronte household and was probably used many times by the young Bronte children to achieve such miniscule handwriting inside their tiny books, and later in life for writing their letters, poems and novels.

We will display the quill-cutter from February 2015. The year 2016 marks 200 years since the birth of Charlotte Bronte and there will be celebrations all over the world.

We have been putting together a list of objects to exhibit at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York to commemorate the bicentenary, which will include a Charlotte Bronte dress, a selection of her artwork, and one of the famous handmade ‘little books’.
The exhibition will travel between the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Parsonage, and finally the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York throughout 2016. keighleynews/Parsonage_Museum_in_Haworth/

donderdag 16 oktober 2014

the Brontë Society emergency general meeting taking place this weekend at Haworth.

The Museum Association Journal reports the Brontë Society emergency general meeting taking place this weekend at Haworth.

The chairwoman of the Brontë Society, which runs the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, has stepped down just 26 days into her 12-month term.
The society said Christine Went had been forced to take the decision due to "ill health and an urgent family matter". She was appointed as chairwoman on 6 September after a unanimous vote, and formally stepped down on 2 October. Went had previously been a member of the society for four years.
Her resignation came ahead of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM), which takes place this Saturday. A group of more than 50 members have forced the meeting amid a number of allegations about the conduct of the council.
These included a claim that the council attempted to call an EGM to overturn a vote at the society’s AGM in June that defeated motions to extend the chairman of trustees' term of office and give the council the power to summarily expel trustees and members.
The group said the meeting would include discussion about electing a new council in order to “modernise” the organisation and bring “higher levels of professionalism and experience to the society”.
However, a clause in the Company Act prevents a vote removing the current council.
Doreen Harris, the honorary secretary of the society, who has taken on the work of the chairwoman until an appointment is made, said: “Regarding the EGM, we look forward to a frank exchange of views to enable the Brontë Society to go forward into the bicentenary period a stronger and more united organisation.” (Rebecca Atkinson)

woensdag 15 oktober 2014

“I should love to know what Elizabeth Gaskell would think of the house now.

Historic novelist Elizabeth Gaskell’s Manchester home is set to re-open to the public - after a 20 year battle to save and restore it.
The writer’s home in Ardwick has been completely transformed to take it back to Victorian times when she lived there - writing famous works including North and South and Cranford. Read more, watch a video and see a lot of photo's  at manchestereveningnews/home-novelist-elizabeth-gaskell-

dinsdag 14 oktober 2014

World-famous home of the Brontes is in prime location to welcome a new surge in tourism as Christmas fun gears up

Traders are also proactive in making Haworth a place people want to visit. One of the most popular events is the annual 1940s weekend in May which draws huge crowds of visitors, many of them wearing costumes from the Second World War and recreating the atmospheric wartime period. The event has raised thousands of pounds for charities including the national armed forces charity, the SSAFA, and Help for Heroes.
From October 25 to December 20 the Haworth craft fairs will be pitching up at the Bronte Schoolroom, offering unusual gift inspiration in time for Christmas.
Following on from last year’s success of Haworth’s inaugural Steampunk Weekend, the event, combining science fiction with Victoriana, returns from November 21 - 23.
November is also the month when festivities really begin in Haworth. The traditional ‘Scroggling of the Holly’, with parades and entertainment, runs from November 29 - 30. The Victorian Christmas, running on December 6 and 7, sees traders sporting period costume and the torchlight procession on December 13 and 14 weaves its way down the Main Street, an atmospheric event, complete with carol singers, that promotes Haworth as the place to visit during the festive period. Read more: thetelegraphandargus

maandag 13 oktober 2014

Playing games develops innovation and creativity.

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Child’s Play is About More than Games, the authors, Peter Gray and Lenore Skenazy, indicate that children learn much by playing.

Playing games develops innovation and creativity. The authors indicate that when children are not told what to do by an adult, they have to figure out their own fun activities.  The Bronte children created an imaginary world called the Great Glass Town Confederacy. This time spent in imaginary play became the backbone for the imagination the three sisters used in writing their classic adult books. thedestinlog/-importance-of-playing-in-childhood

Braving the Brontes

“Braving the Brontes” is the first in a series that introduces “Carly Keene, Literary Detective” – a Juneau girl whose adventurous spirit allows her to brave time travel, ghosts and Victorian England.

Published by New York-based In This Together Media, the book begins and ends in present day Juneau. It takes an interesting turn when Carly is walking downtown with her best friend Francesca.
“They go into a bookshop they’ve never seen down a little alleyway they’ve never seen when they’re walking home from getting hot cocoa downtown. And she’s reading a first edition of ‘Jane Eyre’ and falls asleep, and wakes up in 1846,” Rue says.
Carly finds herself in the home of the Bronte sisters in England as Charlotte Bronte is trying to write the classic “Jane Eyre.” Carly is stuck there until she can solve a mystery involving the literary family. Rue mirrored the fictional Carly after herself as a young girl – someone who read a lot of books, spent a lot of time outdoors and romanticized the past. She says it was important to have Carly be an adventurous, independent Alaskan girl.“Challenges that Carly faces are things that she feels better prepared to deal with because she is Alaskan, like how they approach situations, like a chamber pot,” Rue says. Braving the Brontes is geared for kids ages 9 to 14. Read all th article: alaskapublic/former-juneau-resident-sets-new-pre-teen-book-series-in-alaska/

zaterdag 11 oktober 2014

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. This rose is not so fragrant as a summer flower

"This rose is not so fragrant as a summer flower, but it has stood through hardships none of them could bear: the cold rain of winter has sufficed to nourish it, and its faint sun to warm it; the bleak winds have not blanched it, or broken its stem, and the keen frost has not blighted it. Look, Gilbert, it is still fresh and blooming as a flower can be, with the cold snow even now on its petals. - Will you have it?" - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall facebook.

donderdag 9 oktober 2014

Halliwell Sutcliffe

A CONNECTION with the Brontes leads Bill Mitchell to consider another Dales writer, dubbed A Man of the Moors. I HAVE for long been fond of visiting Haworth. An ancestor of mine, the Rev William Cartman, was an Anglican minister who moved to a parish adjacent to the one that was occupied by the Brontes. He got to know them well, had tea with the girls and, in due course - with the vicar of Bradford – officiated at the funerals of Charlotte and her father. He was also a Victorian headmaster of Skipton Grammar School.  I have followed the Bronte trail to Top Withens and chatted with a characterful old farmer about the lives of moorland sheep. When Haworth and moorland are mentioned I also think, with great fondness, about the life and writings of Halliwell Sutcliffe. This interest began during the Second World War.

In the Herald days I became familiar with Linton-in-Craven, where Halliwell Sutcliffe and his wife had eventually settled. I bussed or cycled into Craven villages for news or lists of mourners at funerals. In those days everyone who attended a funeral got a mention in the newspaper.
In 1939, Norman contributed a piece about Halliwell Sutcliffe to the first volume of the Dales magazine. Henceforth, I looked with special interest at the attractive house by the beck which was the Sutcliffe home. Read more: cravenheraldMen_of_the_moors/

dinsdag 7 oktober 2014

•“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.” (Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre)

Drew Barrymore in Ilkley and Haworth.

MOVIE star Drew Barrymore swapped the Hollywood hills for Ilkley Moor, where she has been shooting her latest film. The actress has been in Ilkley and Haworth filming comedy drama Missing You Already. The film, which is due for release next year, also stars Australian actress Toni Collette.
Sightings of the two stars have been reported on Facebook and Twitter, with people claiming to have spotted them filming and dining at the Cow and Calf Hotel on the edge of Ilkley Moor.
A photograph of Miss Barrymore posted on Facebook shows her in Haworth standing next to a bus with Bradford as its destination. It was taken by Phil Hooker who said: " its not often you see an lister on the Bradford bus!"  The film's cast also includes Jacqueline Bisset, Dominic Cooper and Paddy Considine. Read more: thetelegraphandargus  keighleynews

Christine Went has resigned as chairman of the Brontë Society

The Yorkshire Post informs that Christine Went has resigned as chairman of the Brontë Society council for urgent personal reasons, not before she bitterly criticised the 'agitators' inside the Society that are behaving 'irresponsably'. Council member Doreen Harris will be the new chairman provisionally:
 

vrijdag 3 oktober 2014

We once again remembered Elizabeth Gaskell

 
Last Sunday, at Brook St. Chapel, Knutsford, we once again remembered Elizabeth Gaskell, by the placing flowers on her grave, by our American friend, Nancy Weyant, on the Sunday nearest to the anniversary of her birth, 29th September 1810. Sadly we also had to remember the anniversary of our founder and dear friend, Joan Leach, who died on September 30th 2010. and we did not forget Rosemary Trevor Dabbs, great-great-great granddaughter of Elizabeth Gaskell, who died just 2 d...ays before Joan, on September 28th 2010. Janet Kennerley paid a moving tribute to Joan, before placing a Cranford rose on Joan's memorial and a wreath was also placed there. After this we moved into the chapel, where Rev. Jean Bradley conducted a meaningful service commemorating the chapel's anniversary as well as that of the Elizabeth Gaskell and Joan. During the service Janet Kennerley read a very appropriate passage from "Ruth" which contained a description of a chapel so similar to Brook Street that it was obvious Elizabeth had this lovely chapel in mind when writing it.
facebook/Elizabeth-Gaskell-and-her-Manchester-Home

donderdag 2 oktober 2014

A whispering of leaves and perfume of flowers always pervaded the rooms.

The re-opening of Elizabeth Gaskell's house in Manchester next Sunday, October 5 is in The Telegraph, with special focus in the garden restoration:

Sitting in her usual writing spot in the dining room, overlooking the garden of her Manchester home, Cranford author Elizabeth Gaskell is in a "doleful mood".  The chrysanthemums she has been "nursing up into bloom this past summer were carelessly left out-of-doors this past night & have been frozen to death", she confides in a letter to her friend, the American author and art professor Charles Eliot Norton, in October 1859.  It is a mishap that, 155 years later, the gardeners at 84 Plymouth Grove will hope to avoid as they bring Gaskell's flowerbeds back to life. (...)

Elizabeth was known to her family as 'Lily' so it is fitting the garden will include lily of the valley and martagon lilies, while visitors in spring should see a "host of golden daffodils" similar to those made famous by the poet William Wordsworth, who Gaskell met.

Just as Charlotte Brontë noted how

 "a whispering of leaves and perfume of flowers always pervaded the rooms"

through the open windows in the summer of 1851, so the new garden has been designed with scent in mind.

The Manchester Historic Buildings Trust has restored the Grade II* listed villa, where Still parties will be allowed in. When I visit, Sir James leads the way with a hand-held searchlight. (Ruth Addicott)
bronteblog

zondag 28 september 2014

Elizabeth Gaskell's House


Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell's home to re-open to the public

 
From Independent: She is best known for the gentle, humorous exploits of the gossiping women of Cranford, which Dame Judi Dench and co popularly brought to life on the small screen.

Yet so controversial was another of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels to her Victorian readers that it was banned in many households, including her own, being, as she described it, “not a book for young people”. The hostile reaction to Ruth, her 1853 story that has as its heroine a working-class teenage girl who is seduced and abandoned as an unmarried mother, made the writer ill. “I think I must be an improper woman without knowing it, I do so manage to shock people,” she wrote to her friend, Eliza Fox. “Now should you have burnt the 1st vol. [sic] of Ruth as so very bad? Even if you had been a very anxious father of a family? Yet two men have; and a third has forbidden his wife to read it; they sit next to us in chapel and you can’t think how ‘improper’ I feel under their eyes.”

She was not afraid, however, of raising important social issues through her work. While in Ruth she confronts Victorian attitudes to illegitimacy and the “fallen woman”, her first book, the 1848 industrial novel Mary Barton, had tackled topics including drugs, poverty, the relationship between employer and employee, and the Chartist movement. “Writing was Gaskell’s most effective form of philanthropy”, says Jenny Uglow in her biography of the novelist, Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories.


While in the past, “Mrs Gaskell”, as she was known, was often, misleadingly, presented as the perfect housewife, it now appears that there was much more to the author than domesticity. The Manchester Historic Buildings Trust will highlight her status as one of the 19th century’s most important women writers when it opens the doors to her newly restored former Manchester home next week. With displays of artefacts and manuscripts, and a programme of events, the house will become a centre for the understanding of the Gaskell family’s literary and cultural heritage.

Thanks to a £2.5m renovation, part-financed by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, visitors to 84 Plymouth Grove will be able to experience for the first time the suburban villa and its re-established Victorian gardens as they might have appeared during Gaskell’s lifetime. They will follow in some rather famous footsteps: the sociable author was a “networker par excellence”, according to Janet Allan, chair of the trust set up in 1998 with the aim of saving Gaskell’s Grade II*-listed house.
The restored drawing room houses a piano similar to that on which Charles Hallé, the conductor and founder of Manchester’s Hallé orchestra, gave music lessons to Gaskell’s daughters. It is in the same room that a shy Charlotte Brontë hid behind the curtains to avoid seeing guests. Other esteemed visitors over the years included Harriet Beecher Stowe, the American abolitionist and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the art critic John Ruskin, not to mention Gaskell’s editor, a certain Charles Dickens.

Born in London in 1810, Gaskell moved the following year, after the death of her mother, to live with her aunt, Hannah Lumb, in the Cheshire town of Knutsford, which would later provide the inspiration for Cranford. Marriage took her to Manchester in 1832.
She lived in Plymouth Grove between 1850 and her death in 1865, a period during which she wrote the popular novels Cranford, Ruth and North and South, the lesser-known Sylvia’s Lovers, and the unfinished Wives and Daughters. She and her husband, William, a Unitarian minister at the city’s Cross Street Chapel, wanted space and fresh air for their four daughters and, when they moved in, the house lay near open fields. Brontë remarked in a letter, in 1951, to her publisher, George Smith, that it was “a large, cheerful, airy house, quite out of Manchester smoke”.

While William worked in his study – in which visitors to the house will see the original bookcases filled with period titles researchers think the family might have read – his wife fitted her writing around the running of the household and, no doubt, disruptions from the morning room used as the girls’ nursery. Without a room of her own, she used to pen wonderfully gossipy letters, and parts of her novels, sitting at a small table in the dining-room window overlooking the garden she so loved.

 


Elizabeth Gaskell's dining room and table from which she wrote her novels (Photo Joel Chester Fildes. Press image from Catharine Braithwaite)

There were times, however, when Lily, as she was known to her family, sought out places to write away from her domestic responsibilities and Manchester. As the passport on display testifies, she was a keen traveller, often with a daughter in tow but usually without her husband, who liked being in the city. “He [William] must have been quite an indulgent husband because she spent an enormous amount of time not at home at all,” says Ms Allan. “There was one year when for almost half the year she wasn’t here. She was whizzing around doing all sorts of other things.” As soon as she had finished writing the biography of her friend, Brontë, in 1857, for instance, she escaped to Rome and so it was William who had to pick up the pieces and deal with the ensuing libel case. The couple were on “parallel tracks” that didn’t always merge, says Ms Allan. While William used to spend holidays with Beatrix Potter’s family, Elizabeth and the girls would go elsewhere. “But it didn’t mean they were at odds with each other,” she adds. “I think it was a very supportive relationship.”

Ms Allan says that, for a long time, the writer was pigeon-holed as “Mrs Gaskell”, the author of Cranford, a work which she claims has a “much more profound emotional element to it” than some people might appreciate, dealing as it does with the position of single women and how they make a life for themselves and manage to circumvent tragedies in their lives.
“It’s only in the past 25 years that her reputation has grown and she’s recognised as a very professional, courageous novelist, who was prepared to write about really difficult issues,” she adds. “I think Cranford, although it is a wonderful book, has in a way done her a great disservice because people just think it’s about silly old ladies in bonnets and I’m afraid that’s been confirmed by the [BBC] television version. There’s a lot more to it than that, and a lot more to her.”
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House re-opens to the public on Sunday, 5 October. Visit www.elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk
          

woensdag 24 september 2014

(Dutch) Passion for Emily Bronte.

The Dutch writer Mensje van Keulen talks about her passion for Emily Brontë in NOS

Bronte Society council looks to stop vote on election of new leaders

The Brontë Society dissenters and the Council are not looking for common ground and understanding according to The Yorkshire Post: A bid to oust members of the ruling council of the Brontë Society in an on-going row over the literary society’s future direction looks set to fail. A group of the society’s members have forced an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) which will be held in Haworth on Saturday October 18. Members Janice Lee, a retired deputy headteacher, and John Thirlwell, a TV producer, gathered 53 signatures to force the meeting to take place. Around 1,700 members are receiving details this week of the EGM.

The agenda includes a resolution “to elect a new Council, comprising, if possible, some existing members (to provide continuity) but also new members to bring further levels of professionalism and experience to the society.” The resolution will not be voted on, according to the society letter, although it may be subject of a discussion. According to letter, the resolution is “ineffective in law since it does not comply with the provisions of the Companies Act 2006 relating to the retirement and appointment of specific directors.” The letter goes on to say that the ruling council had previously identified “skills gaps” within its ranks which it “has taken and is taking steps to fill”.
It is understood that the group which forced the emergency general meeting is now seeking legal advice on the attempt to block voting on the resolution. Last night Christine Went, chairman of the Brontë Society, said the EGM was requested “by a small number of members, most of whom have joined the society relatively recently.” She added: “We welcome the interest and support of these members and the fact that they are keen to be more involved with the running of the society.” (Andrew Robinson) yorkshirepost

maandag 22 september 2014

Bradford Literature Festival 2014

Bradford Literature Festival 2014
26th – 28th September

Welcome to the Bradford Literature Festival, celebrating the written and spoken word and showcasing the intimate relationship between words and art forms such as film, theatre and music, set against the city’s distinctive backdrop. With over 25 events featuring 60 speakers, artists and authors, Bradford is the place to be during the weekend of 26th to 28th September.

 
The Bradford District is home to Bronte Parsonage, where the country’s most eminent literary siblings used masculine pen names to write their famous classics of English literature: Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte, 1818-1855), Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte, 1818-1848) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte, 1820-1849). The sisters’ former home, set amid the breath taking moorland immortalised in Wuthering Heights, is beautifully preserved by the Bronte Society, one of the oldest literary societies in the world.

Bronte - Charlotte's diary

Mark Davis in Conversation
11:30 am – 12:30 pm | Saturday 27 September
 
Christa Ackroyd
10:00 am – 5:00 pm | Sunday 28 September
 

zondag 21 september 2014

Read-along Jane Eyre

What do you know about this novel and its author?

Have you ever read it before, or
 is this your first reading?
 
Have you seen any of the TV 
or movie versions?
 
There will be six discussion questions each week of the read-along, to be alternately posted by each of the hosting blogs. You can select three of these questions, or answer all six of them.
 
 
 
 
 

donderdag 11 september 2014

'Remembering Branwell'

 
'Remembering Branwell' event takes place on Sunday 14th September 2014 at 11.30am, South Square Gallery, Thornton BD13 3LD. The event will preview the film 'A Humble Station' written and narrated by Simon Zonenblick with a discussion and a buffet (£5) For further details call 01274-830788South Square is a visual arts and heritage resource centre based within a Grade II listed building in Thornton, Bradford, West Yorkshire. The square also incorporates artists' studios, community space, fine art framer, craft shop and a cafe. It is home to South Square Gallery, a grassroots exhibition space committed to providing a professional and supportive resource for artists and emerging curators. Thornton Antiquarian Society's archive of local history material will shortly be relocated to the centre as part of the Stone Heritage Project/ southsquarecentre

'Remembering Branwell' event takes place on Sunday 14th September 2014 at 11.30am, South Square Gallery, Thornton BD13 3LD. The event will preview the film 'A Humble Station' written and narrated by Simon Zonenblick with a discussion and a buffet (£5) For further details call 01274-830788

woensdag 10 september 2014

Nine years of BrontëBlog

Bronteblog celebrates its 9 year anniversary.



From the Bronteblog: In September 2005 we decided to take a look at what and how the Brontës were doing in popular culture. Nine years later we can confidently say that they turned out to be doing fantastically well. We have said this before but we never cease to be amazed by the projects, inspiration and commentary they generate constantly. This blog publishes an average of two posts a day--not every day is filled with news of a new discovery, a new exhibition, a new book or a new adaptation, but at the very least each and every day the Brontës are mentioned by someone somewhere in the world, perhaps miles away from the world the Brontës knew and certainly decades after they died. Which, if you really stop to think about it, is amazing.

This nine years have been a labour of love but we can't boast of really having done it on our own: at some point or another we have had the help of individual readers and writers, authors, publishing houses, the Brontë Society itself. And there's always of course the readers and subscribers of this blog: here on Blogger and elsewhere in unexpected places back in 2005 such as Facebook or Twitter. We would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to anyone who has ever stopped and read one of our posts with interest.

vrijdag 5 september 2014

Bronte Society embroiled in row over future of Haworth museum

ThE Brontë Society is in turmoil following calls from members to save the Parsonage Museum from “underachievement”. A group of members has called for the Haworth museum to be split from the society to help secure its financial future. Campaigners also want the society’s current leadership to step down to make way for members willing to modernise the group. The campaigners, led by TV producer John Thirlwell and retired deputy headteacher Janice Lee, this week secured the 50 members’ signatures they need to force an extraordinary meeting to discuss the issue. Mr Thirlwell and Mrs Lee last week sent a letter to fellow members detailing a number of allegations about the conduct of the council and calling to elect a new council of trustees. They also called for a rapid appointment to the vacant post of executive director. Ann Sumner stepped down in June, with the Brontë Society praising her “enthusiastic contribution” during her 16 months in the role.
Mr Thirlwell is concerned about the dramatic drop in Brontë Society membership in recent years, and falling attendances at the museum. He added: “We’re aware the museum is underachieving. I don’t have a lot of faith in the council. I don’t think it is keeping the membership informed.
“We must immediately put into action steps to get the structure of the Brontë Society built properly, so the museum is run by a separate trust.” Mr Thirlwell said such a separation would give the Brontë Parsonage Museum a better chance of attracting grants because it could prove it worked for the ‘public good’ rather than simply being a members’ society. A spokesman for the Brontë Society Council said: “Trustees welcome feedback from members and take their concerns very seriously. “The council is working hard with an experienced and accomplished leadership team to ensure the business planning of the Brontë Parsonage Museum is on a secure footing, and the work of the society, including preparations for forthcoming bicentenaries, which include plans for an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Pierpont Morgan Library in New York and a service at Westminster Abbey, goes forward.” keighleynews

donderdag 4 september 2014

woensdag 3 september 2014

It was three stories high

 
 From:  nortonconyers
 
“It was three stories high, of proportions not vast, though considerable: a gentleman’s manor-house, not a nobleman’s seat: battlements round the top gave it a picturesque look. Its grey front stood out well from the background of a rookery, whose cawing tenants were now on the wing: they flew over the lawn and grounds to alight in a great meadow, from which these were separated by a sunk fence, and where an array of mighty old thorn trees, strong, knotty, and broad as oaks, at once explained the etymology of the mansion’s designation.”1
 
In Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, the title character, a plain yet quietly passionate governess arrives at Thornfield Hall expecting to educate a young naive mind. It is soon clear, however, that her simple expectations are no match for the arrogance and immorality of her employer, Mr. Rochester. Jane is immediately engulfed in the mysteries and temptations that collide in the vast gloomy manor. Screaming winds plague her windows, strange happenings occur in the middle of the night, and up a dreary staircase, Jane discovers the secret of her employer and object of his passion. A profound secret which ultimately consumes Thornfield Hall.
 
Norton Conyers House in North Yorkshire is widely thought to be the inspiration for the infamous Thornfield Hall in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Brontë was working as a governess when she visited Norton Conyers and heard the story of a madwomen who was hidden away from society. In 2004, a hidden staircase was discovered in the house, which seemed to have inspired Bronte in her description of the secret madwomen kept by Mr. Rochester in a dark room up a hidden staircase. Although not as large as Thornfield Hall, Norton Conyers bares many similarities such as its grey exterior and secret hideaways.
See also: nortonconyers

The Brontës in Brussels - A Review

The Brontës in Brussels is the perfect Brussels companion. Ideal as a guide or handbook for a trip to Brussels, but also a very interesting read from the sofa in your living room miles away from the actual places described in the book. Helen MacEwans's knowledge not only of the Brontës' stay in Brussels as well as the works derived from it (only devoirs in Emily's case but also novels, references in letters, etc in Charlotte's case) but also of the history of the quartier Isabelle, which is quite intricate, encyclopedic and always to-the-point. She meets three different points in her book: conveying a sense of the Brontës' stay in and opinions of Brussels, telling about the historical, social and geographical contexts that surrounded them when there and helping the modern Brontëite find his/her bearings in Belgium as it is today. And she manages to combine it all into an enjoyable read.
Read more; bronteblog/the-brontes-in-brussels
the-brontes-in-brussels

Bronte Society president defends leadership of literary group

THE president of the Bronte Society has rejected claims the literary group has “lost its way”.

Bonnie Greer yesterday hit back at members who have raised 50 signatures in a bid to oust the literary society’s ruling council. Ms Greer said the Society and Bronte Parsonage Museum were well run. She said: “The Society is run in a professional manner by a diverse team of skilled individuals. Business strategies are in place and outcomes are continuously monitored. “Additionally, the staff at the Museum are to be congratulated on their ongoing work and they have excellent fund raising record in a very challenging economic climate.” She said members were “understandably concerned” at the departure in June of the Society’s executive director, Ann Sumner. “I would like to reassure members that Council has not been idle since Professor Sumner left. Council has used the last couple of months to review the role of the executive director and a skilled leadership team is in place and doing a fine job at the museum.” Ms Greer rejected claims that council members were “enthusiastic amateurs”, saying they had extensive professional experience. “As a former deputy chair of the British Museum...I can assure members that the Council is in very good shape,” she said. It was “surprising” none of those criticising the Society had stood for election at the annual meeting in June, she added. yorkshirepost

dinsdag 2 september 2014

Conference theme was 'The Condition of England'

Juliet Barker was our superb opening speaker, initiating proceedings at the 2014 Brontë Society
conference, which was held this year at the luxurious Scarman Conference Centre, at the University of Warwick. Our conference theme was 'The Condition of England', and Juliet addressed the Brontë children's precocious absorption with the politics of their day, considering whether that passion really carried through into their adult lives. As ever, Juliet's argument was supported with minute and exhaustive research, on this occasion culled mainly from the juvenilia. It was a bold, thought-provoking and slightly provocative stance, ideal to lead off what was widely agreed to be our 'best ever conference', packed with stimulating, original and exciting research, and introducing some new faces likely to be key Brontë scholars of the future.Novelist and critic

Bonnie Greer, the Society's President, gave a rousing and emotional speech at Saturday's dinner, urging us to remember that 'We're Brontë, and no-one else is!' And Society Chair Sally McDonald was also on hand, as ever, to greet members, presiding over proceedings with customary calm and good humour to set the tone for the whole weekend.


Also attending were, among others: bestselling Belgian novelist Jolien Janzing, whose novel De Meester (The Master), about Charlotte's relationship with M. Heger, comes out in English in 2016, and is set to become an exciting film; influential biographer and TV presenter Rebecca Fraser, who delivered a paper on 'The Woman Question and Charlotte Brontë'; internationally acclaimed Brontë scholar Professor Marianne Thormälen, from the University of Lund, Sweden, who discussed the Brontë novels as historical fiction; and rising young academics Molly Ryder, Erin Johnson, Emma Butcher, and Sara Pearson, whose erudite and carefully judged work proved there to be an exciting, creative new generation of Brontë scholars on their way up.

Most appreciated of all, though, was surely Brontë Society Publications Officer, our conference organiser Sarah Fermi, whose hard work throughout the last three years ensured the conference worked as a crucible for great ideas, a meeting place for great minds, and a platform for the very latest in great Brontë scholarship. This was Sarah's last conference as organiser, and applause from delegates at Saturday night's dinner reflected not only professional appreciation for a job most excellently done, but abiding affection for a much-loved friend and lifelong passionate Brontëphile.
bronte-society-conference

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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