I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

zaterdag 14 december 2013

On this day in 1847

Emily and Anne received six published copies of their novels, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey from their publishers. haworth-village

 

donderdag 12 december 2013

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre quiz

The Brontë Sisters and Their Work in Ankara

A Conference scheduled for today, December 12 completely devoted to the Brontës. In Ankara, Turkey:
12-13 December 2013 at Middle East Technical University
Ankara, Turkey
METU 2013: The Brontë Sisters and Their Work

is the theme for this year’s METU British Novelists Conference organized by the Department of Foreign Language Education in Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. The conference will explore various aspects of the work of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë. There will also be papers approaching the work of the Brontë Sisters from the perspective of media and adaptation studies. Selected papers will be published in the conference proceedings.
Programme: Read The Brontë Sisters and Their Work in Ankara

woensdag 11 december 2013

December/Christmas 1893

The Yorkshire Post looks back on December/Christmas 1893. Among other things, this is what was happening:
December did bring some lighter news. On the 23rd, the Yorkshire Post reported that a Brontë Society had been formed following a meeting at Bradford Town Hall.
The Rev UH Keeling, headmaster of Bradford Grammar School, presided over the meeting, which had been called by the city’s mayor.  It was convened amid concerns that 38 years after Charlotte Brontë’s death, artefacts relating to both her and her sisters would end up being scattered away from Yorkshire. “The Brontës,” the chairman said, “represented and embodied the true Yorkshire spirit, though they themselves were not a Yorkshire family.” He praised their writing talent, adding: “In a word, they formed the strongest link between their county and the great world of literature.” (Chris Bond)
bronteblog

As we open Jane Eyre once more we cannot stifle the suspicion that we shall find her world of imagination as antiquated, mid-Victorian, and out of date as the parsonage on the moor, a place only to be visited by the curious, only preserved by the pious. So we open Jane Eyre; and in two pages every doubt is swept clean from our minds.

As Virgina Woolf wrote in 1916
Thank you Anne for sending.

 
 

dinsdag 10 december 2013

Charlotte Brontë had found a way to mesmerise the reader through an intensely private communion with her audience.

 
The Guardian/The Observer has picked Jane Eyre as number 12 of the 100 best novels.
"There was no possibility of taking a walk that day."
From its haunting first line to its famous closer, "Reader, I married him", Charlotte Brontë takes her audience by the throat with a fierce narrative of great immediacy. Jane Eyre's voice on the page is almost hypnotic. The reader can hardly resist turning the next page, and the next…
In an extraordinary breakthrough for the English novel, borrowing the intimacy of the 18th-century epistolary tradition, Charlotte Brontë had found a way to mesmerise the reader through an intensely private communion with her audience. We, the author, and Jane Eyre become one. For this, she can be claimed as the forerunner of the novel of interior consciousness. Add to this a prose style of unvarnished simplicity and you have the Victorian novel that cast a spell over its generation. Even today, many readers will never forget the moment they first entered the strange, bleak world of this remarkable book.




The magic of Jane Eyre begins with Charlotte Brontë herself. She began to write her second novel
(The Professor had just been rejected) in August 1846. A year later it was done, much of it composed in a white heat. The reading public was spellbound. Thackeray's daughter says that the novel (which was dedicated to her father) "set all London talking, reading, speculating". She herself reports that she was "carried away by an undreamed-of and hitherto unimagined whirlwind".
There are three principal elements to Brontë's magic. First, the novel is cast, from the title page, as "an autobiography". This is a convention derived from Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (No 2 in this series). But the adventure offered by the author is an interior one. Jane Eyre portrays the urgent quest of its narrator for an identity. Jane, who cannot remember her parents, and as an orphan has no secure place in the world, is in search of her "self" as a young, downtrodden woman. (Robert McCrum) (Read more) bronteblog
 

maandag 9 december 2013

Queen Victoria's Book of Spells and more about gaslight in Victorian times.

I always love it very much when I have a reaction.  Roses and Vellum tells me:

Gaslamps are so beautiful. It is funny to think something so beautiful and nostalgic to us now was strange and futuristic back then. I have been reading recently, and there was a story (Smithfield by James P Blaylock) about the lighting of the gaslamps for the first time, it was quite fascinating to think about.

Thank you for your reaction. Yes, It is fascinating to think about the days that gaslight was new.  Your reaction also made me curious. I never heard about Queen Victoria's Book of Spells. So I was searching for it.  I found this nice weblog:  suzanne-johnson/drive-by-review-and-cntest-queen
 
ABOUT QUEEN VICTORIA’S BOOK OF SPELLS: “Gaslamp Fantasy,” or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. A number of wonderful fantasy novels, including Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, owe their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers ranging from Jane Austen, the Brontës, and George Meredith to Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and William Morris. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature inspired by this period….Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves these works of neo-Victorian fiction, and wishes to explore the wide variety of ways that modern fantasists are using nineteenth-century settings, characters, and themes. These approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen-and-Trollope inspired works that some critics call Fantasy of Manners, all of which fit under the larger umbrella of Gaslamp Fantasy. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, mainstream, and young adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents such as Elizabeth Bear, James Blaylock, Jeffrey Ford, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire, Delia Sherman, and Catherynne M. Valente, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century invested (or cursed!) with magic.
 
Wow, there really is a lot to read, I never heard from before.
 
On another website I found more about gaslight buildingconservation/lighting
 
At the start of the Victorian period most houses were lit by candles and oil lamps. Interior fittings included chandeliers (suspended from the ceiling) and sconces (fixed to the wall). However these were mainly used on special occasions, and most ordinary events after sunset took place using portable light sources such as candlesticks, candelabra (bracketed candlesticks) and oil lamps, and by the light of the fire. By the end of the period gas lighting was common in urban homes and electricity was being introduced in many. Gas lighting of buildings and streets began early in the 19th century, with most streets in London lit by gas as early as 1816. But for the first 50 years it was generally distrusted and few homes were lit. After gas fittings were introduced in the new Houses of Parliament in 1859 the tide turned. Fasionable town houses constructed in the 1860s often had a central pendant gas light (that is to say a gas light attached to the ceiling) in each of the principal rooms with a ventilation grille above, cunningly disguised in the deep recesses of the ceiling rose. Gas 'wall brackets' were used in place of the sconce, and some staircases were lit by newel lights attached to the newel post. The largest pendant fittings had several burners and were known as gasoliers.

 
Late 19th century paraffin lamp and gas wall brackets in the entrance hall of the Linley Sambourne House, London. (Victorian Society, Linley Sambourne House, London/Bridgeman Art Library)

Before the advent of the incandescent mantle, gas lighting relied on a simple open flame. By the mid 19th century the most common burners produced fan-shaped flames like the Batswing and Fish Tail burners. The Argand burner, which was successfully adapted for gas, was the principal exception with its circular flame.

All these gas light fittings and the early incandescent mantles had to point upwards directing the light towards the ceiling and away from where the light was needed most, and it was not until 1897 that the gas mantle was adapted to burn downwards - a useful event to remember when dating gas fittings.

 
Simple gas lights incorporated a plain brass, copper or iron gas supply tube with a tap for switching the gas on and off, terminating in a burner shielded from direct view by a shade or globe to diffuse the light. Some burners such as the Argand also incorporated a glass tube or chimney, and around which could be placed a larger shade of glass or silk. Pendant lights could consist of little more than a vertical rod turned at right angles at the end to support the up-turned burner, but they were rarely that simple in the Victorian period. Every element of the gas light offered an opportunity for embellishment. Early pendant fittings often incorporated two or more arms forming a loop, gracefully curving down around the glass lamp shade, with the lamp cradled below. In another design scrolling arms radiated from a central baluster, a design echoed by the scrolling arms of the wall brackets.

The shades provided another opportunity for embellishment. Most glass shades were translucent, either frosted or coloured and were often extremely ornate, with cut glass decoration or etched patterns. The most elaborate shapes appeared at the end of the 19th century when designs reached their most opulent in the Louis XV revival. As well as ornate silk shades on lamps with chimneys, a variety of other more delicate devices were introduced at different times, such as shades of glass beads.

By 1890 main stream taste had begun to change dramatically. Although William Morris, the father of the Arts and Crafts Movement, had established Morris and Co almost 40 years earlier, it was the second generation of craftsmen who started to manufacture products on a larger scale, often adopting the industrial processes reviled by Morris. One of the greatest and most prolific designers of the new style was W A S Benson who, with the encouragement of William Morris, had set up his own workshop making light fittings and other metalwork. His fittings, like those of many of his contemporaries, were mass-produced, selling through Liberty's in London in particular.

The Arts and Crafts style swept out the clutter from the Victorian interior, leaving them lighter and brighter in every sense. Richly decorated surfaces were replaced by plain ones relying on the warmth of natural materials
and simple craftsmanship for their interest. Those elements like the fireplaces and light fittings which remained as richly ornamented as ever before took on a new importance, focussing attention. Often the decoration of fittings can be described as 'Art Nouveau' for their graceful, flowing lines and lack of any clear historical influence, but revivalism remained common, and most homes at the turn of the 19th century borrowed heavily from the Tudor and Elizabethan periods in particular.

That the streets of Haworth be lighted with gas

06/12/1864
"Carried unanimously, that the streets of Haworth be lighted with gas and the number of lamps do not exceed 10 this winter. Also that the Clerk gets the estimates for the erection of those lamps as soon as possible that the streets may be lighted without delay."
Extract from Haworth Local Board of Health Minute Book
haworth-village.org.uk/history

By 1823, numerous towns and cities throughout Britain were lit by gas. Gaslight cost up to 75% less than oil lamps or candles, which helped to accelerate its development and deployment. By 1859, gas lighting was to be found all over Britain and about a thousand gas works had sprung up to meet the demand for the new fuel. The brighter lighting which gas provided allowed people to read more easily and for longer. This helped to stimulate literacy and learning, speeding up the second Industrial Revolution. wiki/Gas_lighting

Gaslight fixtures were ornate and decorative whether they were used outdoors or indoors. Echoing the design themes of the times, they integrated well into contemporary architecture. Strangely enough, even while the incandescent lamp was gaining ground, new developments in the gaslight continued.
lighting/history

zondag 8 december 2013

Christmas in Haworth

Haworth in Christmas
Keighley News gives some details about the Victorian Christmas Weekends in Haworth:
The clock is being turned back in Haworth as the village stages its annual Victorian Christmas Weekend.
Traders are donning period costume and a host of festive activities is taking place today and tomorrow.
Bands and choirs are among the attractions in Main Street.
And the Brontë Parsonage Museum is holding events, including a puppet theatre and carol singing. (Alistair Shand)

The Telegraph & Argus adds:
Next Sunday, as the sun sets, the famous Torchlight Procession begins in Haworth, when the band strikes up and the carollers begin the procession slowly up the Main Street, at 4.45pm. Also at the Brontë Parsonage next Saturday and Sunday is a Decoration and Stories weekend offering a chance to join the wreath making workshops, tuck into mince pies and mulled wine, and make some Christmas decorations at the drop in session from 10.30am to 1pm (booking essential) at Brontë Parsonage. (Sue Ward)The Haworth Victorian Christmas Facebook wall provides complete information and lots of pictures of the events taking place this month. bronteblog/haworth-in-christmas

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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