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The Brontë Society is in turmoil following calls from members to save the Parsonage Museum from “underachievement”.A Huffington Post columnist recalls her childhood love for Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden.
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.” (David Knights)
The story centers around nasty ill-tempered Mary Lennox who is sent as an unloved orphan, though, honestly, she was an unloved child while her parents were alive, from India to live with her uncle in Yorkshire. Yorkshire, the cold moors and gloomy world of the Brontës seems to have been the perfect world to set stories of thwarted love and lost children. Except these Yorkshire moors, although filled with secrets, are teeming with life. (Suzanne Donahue)The Weekly Standard focuses on 'chuckling' in 19th century novels, particularly in the case of Sherlock Holmes.
The term “chuckle” came into wide use in the English language in the 1770s, right around the time Great Britain was losing its grip on its North American empire. At the time, chuckling was limited to the chattering classes. Blacksmiths did not chuckle, nor did yeomen, farriers, fishwives, or costermongers. The word “chuckle” rarely appears in the work of Jane Austen, the Brontës, Charles Dickens, or George Eliot, primarily because chuckling was then (as now) viewed as a silly, almost undignified, activity. (Joe Queenan)Vulture reviews the play The Wayside Motor Inn where
An undergrad has brought his reluctant girlfriend for a night on the Magic Fingers bed. (He has The Joy of Sex in his knapsack; she has Jane Eyre.) (Jesse Green)Clash doesn't agree with those missing Wuthering Heights in Kate Bush's comeback concerts:
It’s no secret by now that her Before The Dawn show is split into two distinct acts, encompassing work from the second halves of 1985’s ‘Hounds Of Love’ and 2005’s ‘Aerial’ respectively. Detractors looking for beleaguered, pitch-shifted versions of ‘Wuthering Heights’ and the 1970s hits are missing the point. This in artist with an extensive and contemporary catalogue of work, which she draws on most fittingly. This is truly a woman’s work, the universe of a 56-year-old mother, not a sylph-like, intoxicated dancing girl. (Anna Wilson)The Telegraph fashion section has an article on how to master the art of layering.
At least we are on the pages of those style magazines. We're fantastic at it on those pages. The September and October (and February, March, April, May and August) issues are always guaranteed to feature Stella Tennant, or someone who looks like Stella Tennant - ie pale and good in a long, Sherlock Holmes-y coat, socks and Marni sandals - her big, stiff Céline collar carelessly turned up, as she stalks across some windswept but soulful stretch of gorse/heath/moor. Jane Eyre with a Harvey Nichols account. (Lisa Armstrong)The Phantom Paragrapher posts about Eve Marie Mont's A Breath of Eyre. Sewing and Sightseeing: Two years in the Netherlands shares pictures of a recent trip to the Peak District. ExeUnt Magazine reviews Pater McMaster's Wuthering Heights.